Sample and purchase N.C. wines at the fair

For years, the N.C. State Fair has showcased the best of commercial and amateur wineries through the N.C. State Fair Wine Competition. But this is the first year you can sample and purchase several of those award-winning wines and others from across North Carolina. The new Got to Be NC Wine exhibit opened up Thursday in the Hunt Horse Arena. During the fair, seven wineries from across the state will be pouring free samples of their products daily. Wineries will rotate throughout the fair to add variety. Over the weekend, visitors sampled products from Chatham Hill Winery, Country Squire Winery,…

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Church at the Fair

Nestled just outside Heritage Circle is a 156-year-old chapel that the N.C. Campers on Mission ministry uses to meet the needs of fair workers and to evangelize to fairgoers. On Sunday mornings during the fair, they hold worship services at 8:30 and 11 inside the historic chapel. If you want to attend, be on time — the service started promptly at 8:30. Speaking as someone who usually slides in during the first song at my own church’s early service,  I wouldn’t have wanted to be late at a service in this small chapel. The service began with a welcome and…

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A rookie at the Sale of Champions

Before covering the junior livestock Sale of Champions this year, I had never been to a livestock auction. I knew that the Sale of Champions was the auction of junior livestock grand and reserve grand champion steer, barrows, lambs, goats and turkeys. Beyond that, I didn’t know what to expect. Inside the Jim Graham Building, it took me a few seconds to acclimate to the sounds and smells of the animals, as bleating goats and mooing cows are not something I hear very often. The show ring was set up nicely for the auction, with a small seating area reserved for N.C….

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Today’s Sale of Champions is the result of hard work and dedication

Each year, youth from across North Carolina bring their best livestock to the fair with hopes of taking home the grand prize. To get to that point, though, kids work countless hours at home preparing the animals for the show ring. Getting livestock ready to show is a little like an athlete training for competition, with junior competitors having to serve as groomer, nutritionist, exercise trainer, genetic selector and more to raise the animal to its highest potential. It is hard work preparing livestock for a show, and it is even harder getting these market animals to the standards of…

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Tobacco stringing contest winners announced

The seventh annual tobacco stringing contest was in full swing this afternoon. Sixteen teams of three competed for bragging rights and cash prizes. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler congratulated winners and presented prizes in front of the barn in Heritage Circle where the tobacco will cure for the next week. The Granville County Loopers took first place for the second year in a row, winning $250. The Dudley Loopers came in second and earned $150. Third place and $100 went to the Jackson Trio of Zebulon. The Jackson Trio won first place in 2011.  

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Tobacco will be curing in log barn at N.C. State Fair

Tobacco is a large part of North Carolina’s history, weaving a strong thread through the economy. This golden crop is featured at the N.C. State Fair at the working tobacco barn in Heritage Circle. Visitors can see tobacco cured the old-fashioned way — in a flue-cured barn fired by wood. Today, most tobacco is cured in bulk barns, fueled by gas. Like many inventions or discoveries, the traditional process of curing came about by accident. A worker accidentally let the wood burning fire go out in a barn of tobacco and quickly restarted the fire with charcoal. The intense heat…

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Behind the scenes: Judging the Peanut Dessert Contest

Opening day brought the very first special cooking contest, the N.C. Peanut Growers Association Peanut Dessert Contest. As a fan of peanuts and desserts I was up for the challenge when the call came into the press office for a last minute judge. Twenty-six desserts, with a half-cup or more of peanuts included in the ingredients, were entered into the competition. Our team of three judges tried 13 desserts and picked our top three. Another team of three judges tried the other 13 and picked their top three as well. Then we all judged the top six to pick the…

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Behind the scenes: The sweet taste of competition at the State Fair

Judging took place Wednesday afternoon in the honey competition at the fair. Bob Wellemeyer, an apiary inspector for the Virgina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, talked with us about what goes into judging a jar of honey. Honey is judged on moisture content, absence of crystals, cleanliness, flavor, uniformity and container appearance. In fact, honey is disqualified if it’s moisture content is more than 18.6 percent. “High moisture will cause honey to ferment,” said Wellemeyer.  “It will be runny, watery and might have a sour smell.” A refractometer is used to measure the moisture content of the honey. Honey…

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The Village of Yesteryear comes together

Since 1951, the Village of Yesteryear has been part of the N.C. State Fair, showcasing heritage crafts by local artisans. Inside the Holshouser Building, the village is taking shape as craftsmen work to set up their booths. Some craftsmen, such as Duane Raver, have been in the Village of Yesteryear for many years. Raver has been in the Village for the past 32 years showing his wildlife art. Raver was an artist for and editor of the Wildlife in North Carolina Magazine for 20 years. Raver is undeniably talented, and we’re grateful to have him in the Village again this year.  …

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Canstruction is Complete

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, in this case,  imitation serves a greater purpose. The Canstruction team finished building a 10-foot tall and 20-foot wide replica of Dorton Arena in the Exposition Center Lobby. The project, sponsored by GEICO and Harris Teeter, used about 13,000 total food goods, including Jello boxes, canned goods and water bottles in construction. After the fair, the food will be donated to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. The International Association of Fairs and Expos challenged members to collect food for people in need in their communities as part…

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