Tractor Pull is the fair-themed alias for Brandon Herring, a public information officer in the Public Affairs Division of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He's no stranger to the fair or the farm. A North Carolina native, he grew up helping on the family farm just east of Lumberton. After more than 15 years in TV news, he's sharing news of a different kind these days. He loves the rides on the fair's midway, but also loves that the fair has so many other things to see and do that are grounded in agriculture. His favorite fair food is a funnel cake with just powdered sugar - a classic!

A dream come true: Dole Whip named best new fair food

It took Reggie Burnette and his brother Charles almost 20 years to become a food vendor at the N.C. State Fair. They started Tropical Delights in 1995, and now their smoothie stand is home to the 2019 “Media’s Choice Best New Food.” Members of the news and lifestyle media sampled several of this year’s new fair foods and chose the Dole Whip that Tropical Delights will be serving this year. For Burnette, being the top vote-getter was validation that brought tears to his eyes. He and his brother were born and raised in Durham and started out by setting up…

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Follow the beat to find punk-rock percussion

In case it wasn’t obvious there will be no shortage of things to see and do at the N.C. State Fair this year. Everywhere you turn you’ll find entertainment, some arts and culture or something educational and informational. You’ll likely pass by Dorton Arena, and amongst all the excitement you’ll find one of this year’s new free entertainment acts. Street Drum Corps will be performing on the north side of the arena. That’s the side toward the middle of the fairgrounds, away from Hillsborough Street. Street Drum Corps is sort of a punk rock version of STOMP – the well-known…

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Stilt walkers will bring unexpected fun, including a high-five

One of the new attractions at this year’s N.C. State Fair may not be something you put on your to-do list at the fair, but it could certainly bring you a few surprise moments of enjoyment. “We like to call it walking visual art,” said Star Child, one of the stilt walkers you’ll see when Stilt Circus makes its first appearance at the fair this year. She and Richard Dalton will be roaming the fairgrounds in some spectacular costumes, so running in to them will likely be an unexpected but welcomed encounter. Of course, you’ll have to look up to…

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Craft soda expands options for kids and adults at the Our State Public House

For the third year, people at the N.C. State Fair will be able to taste samples of beer, wine and cider from the Old North State. New this year, craft soda will also be available, which means children and anyone else under age 21 will now be allowed in the picnic or “beer garden” area around the Our State Public House. The Public House is still relatively new. Our State magazine has sponsored it since its first year in 2017. It’s located in Heritage Circle, not far from the tobacco pavilion, the grist mill or the flower and garden show….

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Tribute to musical icon will launch Dorton Arena concerts this year

Gabriel Bello promises big things when he performs in Dorton Arena on the opening night of the N.C. State Fair this year. “We’ll be playing some of the best music that’s been put out in the last 50 to 100 years,” Bello recently told me. “Hopefully one of best bands people have ever heard.” Bello leads a Stevie Wonder tribute band (complete with backup singers and instrumentalists) called Natural Wonder. He obviously thinks highly of the legendary artist he emulates. However, he didn’t always think he’d be going on tour and entertaining people who love the music of Stevie Wonder….

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NC products showcased for fairgoers

If you’re looking for a showcase of some of North Carolina’s very own products at the N.C. State Fair, you have to check out the “Got To Be NC” exhibit tent. This year’s tent will be packed with 34 vendors from 24 cities or towns across the state. Six of the vendors are new this year, while at least five returning vendors promise to have new or updated products in their booths. Many vendors will be in the exhibit tent for either the first or second half of the fair, but eight vendors will be there all 11 days. You’ll…

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Like a little heaven on a stick! New fair foods announced.

Yes, it’s the news you’ve been waiting for! The list of new food for this year’s fair is now out! Of course, don’t get me wrong – we all still love the candy apples, the cotton candy, the funnel cakes and the turkey legs. By now even fried Oreos are a staple at the fair too, but if these new foods don’t get you excited to try something new, you may want to check your pulse. Are you even living if these new options don’t make your mouth water? When I saw the list I immediately started scrolling down to…

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