Artist Spotlight: Easton Corbin

Looking at Easton Corbin’s cover art and listening to his first hit single, “I’m a Little More Country Than That,” you get the feeling that this Florida native has a firsthand knowledge of the slow pace of country living, rocking on the porch with your dog by your side. And sure enough, according to the biography on his website, he spent a lot of time growing up on his grandparents’ cattle farm in rural Florida. He was a member of 4-H and FFA and even showed cattle at a local fair before earning an agribusiness degree from the University of…

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A complete concert lineup at last

Yep, we’ve had a hole in our concert lineup. Three holes, to be exact. Earlier this year, we booked three artists and then found out they were coming to town on a particular country music tour that stopped at the big shed in Raleigh this past weekend. No biggie. We hope that seeing them as opening acts will encourage people to come to Fair to see their full shows. Despite the fact that the concert dates have been listed on the artists’ websites for months, we were unable – due to contractual obligations – to announce until now that Easton…

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Artist Spotlight: Carolina Chocolate Drops

When Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson formed the Carolina Chocolate Drops in 2005, there was no way of knowing the success their old-time string band would see in five short years. The trio began playing with fiddler Joe Thompson at his home in Mebane, and have since gone on to perform at huge music festivals like Bonnaroo and revered venues like the Grand Ole Opry (they will perform for a second time on Tuesday). CCD also has seen its latest album, Genuine Negro Jig, reach number one on the Billboard bluegrass chart and the band has even starred alongside Denzel Washington in 2007’s The Great Debaters.  Here’s a look at the…

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Top 10 reasons to enter the Flower and Garden Show

Do you have a green thumb? Then you should consider entering one, two or all three flower shows during this year’s State Fair. There are competitions for adults and children, professionals and amateurs. You can enter competitions for annuals, perennials, bonsai, flower arrangements, hanging baskets, gourds or pumpkins – just to name a few. The flower and garden competitions also have the highest premiums. While most prizes are in the single digits, some garden winners can take home up to $750. In the Premium Book, you’ll find 31 pages with all the classes, groups and sections for the Flower and Garden Show. Did we mention it’s free to enter,…

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Free grounds entertainment abounds (Part 2)

Last week, we brought you the first installment of our very busy entertainment lineup. Today, we finish it up with part deux. The racing pigs and the King BMX show are two of the most popular acts on the ground. We’re excited to bring back the Kenny & Amanda Smith Band to offer topnotch entertainment on the Bluegrass Stage. And we’ve got new acts on the Waterfall Stage, including Jeanne Jolly, who has a dedicated local following. We’re supplementing both of those stages with additional acts on the weekend to keep the fun going. So without further ado, here’s part…

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Artist Spotlight: Casting Crowns

I recently heard the name Casting Crowns for the first time. Obviously, there are many more people that have heard of the headlining act at Dorton Arena Friday, Oct. 15. After two weeks of advance sales, the concert for the Atlanta-based group has sold more than 1,800 tickets and is on its way to being our first sold-out show of 2010. I decided to see what all the excitement was about, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought I might hear something similar to old gospel tunes from my grandparents’ radio, but after listening to the artist’s songs on our 2010 N.C. State Fair Pandora station, I understand…

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Free grounds entertainment abounds (Part 1)

HoopDrum returns to the 2010 N.C. State Fair It’s an interesting balancing act that State Fair Assistant Manager Mike Pleasant plays each year when booking grounds entertainment. While he strives to bring new and interesting acts to the Fair, whenever something disappears, he hears from scores of disappointed people who were hoping to see just the act that he didn’t renew.  So to keep things fresh, he rotates acts around, bringing in new acts every few years and giving some acts a year or two breathing room before bringing them back. This year’s grounds entertainment is mostly entertainers that fairgoers…

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Behind the scenes with…Carol Turner, livestock office manager

What began as a temporary gig helping a friend, has turned into 25 years of service for Carol Turner, the N.C. State Fair livestock office manager. Carol oversees a six-person staff and coordinates with superintendents for each of the animal species during the Fair. For the past several weeks, she has been camped out in the Gate 9 ticket booth preparing for this year’s show. Her staff will join her in the Graham Building after Labor Day, where they’ll remain throughout the Fair.  One of the biggest challenges for Carol this year is converting the old entry database to new software. The software, Blue Ribbon, will be used to…

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Fireworks fans

A few weeks back, we announced we would periodically feature on this blog some of our favorite photos that fans have posted to our Facebook page. Here’s our latest winner. This photo caught our eye because it offers a different perspective on the nightly fireworks show. We’re used to seeing photos of fireworks (and there have been some really, really good ones). This one, submitted by Jewel Wyrick, shows a grandfather and his grandson enjoying the show on a cool fall night. It also reinforces the fact that the State Fair is a tradition for generations of families. For being…

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Fairgoers learn to outwit, outlive and outgrow in new exhibit

Have you ever tried growing a plant from seed? Getting the right combination of water, sunlight and nutrients can be challenging, but not impossible, even with a not-so-green thumb.  Our new exhibit, Seed Survivor, aims to teach the secrets of growing plants with displays about the water cycle, healthy soil and photosynthesis.  The exhibit, sponsored by Agrium, is a curriculum-based educational experience featuring games and interactive displays. As you enter the tent near Gate 12, grab a passport and collect stamps by completing challenges that teach you how to outwit, outlive and outgrow the competition. At the end of the exhibit, you can plant your own sunflower…

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