Ticket tips

Concert tickets go on sale Monday morning at 10 a.m.  So I’m recycling some tips that we provided last year on how to have a successful concert ticket purchase: Go to the State Fair’s web site a few minutes before 10 a.m. You can either go to the Tickets page and scroll to the bottom OR go to the Dorton Arena Nightly Entertainment page to buy tickets for a specific artist. When it gets close to 10 a.m., start refreshing your browser. You’ll see “Buy Now” buttons when it’s time to go on sale. Note: It doesn’t matter what time…

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American Idol alum Anoop Desai rounds out Dorton Arena concert line-up

Since we announced the Dorton Arena line-up a couple weeks ago with one missing performer, our Facebook, blog and Twitter sites have been buzzing with suggestions on who should fill that spot. We heard a lot of good suggestions, but there was one particular artist campaign that stood out to us–mainly because the plea came from the artist himself. Our concerts this year have a decidedly local appeal, as N.C. natives Kellie Pickler, Eric Church and Jason Michael Carroll are all performing just a few hours (and in some cases, minutes) from where they grew up, and we’re happy to…

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County Fair Travels

While North Carolina’s Fair season technically began back in May with the Alamance County Fair, my strategically planned, plotted and mapped adventures in County Fair Travels begins now (cue Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again”). On Wednesday, July 29, I took a trip to the Bethware Community Fair in Kings Mountain, N.C. This agricultural fair takes over the playground and gymnasium of Bethware Elementary School, where profits from the fair’s fundraising efforts are given to the school’s teachers for classroom needs. In previous years, the fair took place while school was in session, and students were allowed to enjoy the…

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Bearded Lady says goodbye…for now

  For the past 10 weeks I have had the opportunity to intern with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services through the North Carolina Youth Advocacy and Involvement Office’s internship program. I was one of 100 college students offered a summer position, and I feel fortunate to have made the cut. In this short time, I interviewed a rockin’ eco hero and a horse complex manager; I saw grown men chug milk and identified a former commodity queen; I covered Blueberry Day and Peach Day; and I discussed how social media is becoming a larger force in all our lives. I…

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Early Bird gets the…free tickets??

We here at the Deep Fried blog love to save money. We especially love to get free things.  (Case in point, we made sure to make it to one of our favorite spots yesterday for a birthday celebration that included free cupcakes…yum!) So each year we want to make sure everyone knows that the best deal at the Fair is through the advance sales program. Admission tickets are discounted, but most importantly, you can save really big money on discounted ride sheets. Needless to say, we are especially excited about a new promotion that can earn fairgoers free tickets if…

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Behind the scenes with…Mike Pleasant, concert manager (Part 2)

Three weeks ago, we introduced you to Mike Pleasant, who books and manages all of the Dorton Arena concert entertainers before and during the Fair. Mike told us about some of his favorite performers over the years (Clay Aiken, Brad Paisley, MercyMe, Chris Daughtry and ’09 returning artist Kellie Pickler all made the cut) right before we announced this year’s lineup here on the Deep Fried Blog. (Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, August 3.) This week, we’re back with part two of Mike’s interview, and this one is juicy. Mike took me on a tour of the…

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Green NC exhibit returns

Last year, the N.C. State Fair offered a new educational exhibit call Green NC. The exhibit was a fun and interactive environment with displays on energy conservation, alternative fuels and renewable energy sources like solar power and biofuels, locally grown foods, recycling, water conservation and eco-friendly living. Green NC is returning this year, and with only 89 days until the Fair opens, we’re busy finalizing exhibitors, designing the layout and adding new hands-on components.

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HoopDrum Hype!

When I was in the third grade, I won the hula-hooping competition at my school’s field day because I was able to keep a hula hoop going longer than anyone else in the school. Since I was the smallest kid in class, winning a competition was a big deal for me. So earlier this year when Merrie Go Round and I went to see the the Carolina Roller Girls in Dorton Arena, I was transfixed more by the intermission show than the derby itself (sorry derby girls!). During intermission there was a rhythmic performance of hoopers to the simplistic beat…

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Behind the scenes with…Amanda Meares, graphic artist

Amanda Meares is one part of the talented in-house graphic designer team at the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that creates all of the Fair’s design material. The State Fair Web site, Premium Book, bumper stickers, notepads, Twitter background, promotional posters, signage, daily programs and much, much more all pass through the hands of our graphic artists. We spoke with Amanda on the inspiration behind this year’s creative treatment, as well as her own personal Fair favorites. Check out her answers (and posters**) below.

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The open-date debate

Just before the July 4th holiday, we had everything prepared to release the concert lineup when we got back to work on Monday morning. But hours before our three-day vacation began, Assistant Fair Manager Mike Pleasant got a phone call from a booking agent telling him that the Zac Brown Band was pulling out of their date at the Fair…along with almost every other fair they had booked. No explanation was given.

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