Champions are made at the NC State Fair

Following is a guest post from Marisa Linton. Marisa grew up showing and raising livestock, and currently lives on her family’s small farm in Mount Olive. She has shown animals at the N.C. State Fair for 14 years and is a past youth livestock scholarship recipient. She is an N.C. State University graduate, agricultural photographer and blogger. With a point, a glance and a handshake, a dream comes true. After hours of hard work and months of preparation, it all becomes worth it when the judge points to you. The noise of the crowds and the sights of the fair…

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Craftsman and craftswoman of the year named in Village of Yesteryear

A fine-art painter and a porcelain-art maker were honored as the craftsman and craftswoman of the year in the Village of Yesteryear at the N.C. State Fair. Walter Creech, a painter and water-colorist from Saxaphaw, and Gay Lord, who works with porcelain, of Orlando, received the honors. “This award is given to one man and one woman each year,” Village of Yesteryear Director Pam Earp said. “All the members of the village vote for who they view as most dedicated to their craft and the village’s mission of demonstration and education.” Creech has been a member of the Village of…

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Flying Bob exits the ride

For the past 14 years, I’ve been on one of the most thrilling public relations rides in North Carolina. As public affairs director for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, I have had the opportunity to communicate with the public about a wide variety of topics. What I’ll remember most, though, is the work I’ve done each October, when the department puts on the annual N.C. State Fair. My office is responsible for publicizing the fair and helping the news media report on it. Over the years, I’ve talked about both the good and the bad associated with the…

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The questions keep coming at the fair information booths

  “Where’s the bathrooms?” “Where’s the pig races?” “Where can I get tickets or redeem my ride wristbands?” Paul Brown, who mans an information booth near Gate 9,  ranks those as the top three questions he gets on a daily basis. This is Brown’s third year working an information booth and the first for Trish Boone, who is sharing the booth with him. Boone would also add to the list, “Where’s the gate that I came in?” The two pass out a lot of daily schedules with maps, and offer directions to the pig races, specific food booths, different gates,…

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Twins win for cookie creations

In the midst of the chaos that the fair can bring, I found solace in the most unlikely place: amongst a handful of 7 and 8 year olds on Thursday afternoon at the cookie decorating contest. Ten contestants took eight minutes to decorate their cookies using different colored icing and sprinkles. With a blue ribbon prize at stake, the concentration in the room was palpable and cause for complete silence – and maybe a couple tears. First place was awarded to Kendall Hudson, 8, for her cat-eye design. Her entire cookie cake was created to look like a cat face with…

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ARCY is a State Fair work in progress

If you have been able to come to the fair more than once, or like a handful of us really lucky people get to be here every day, you may have watched the progress on the 120-foot long piece of art being created by Ryan Christenson of Wallingford, Conn. outside of the Exposition Center. Christenson, also known as ARCY, has been doing graffiti art since high school and has been touring for about three years. He creates about 100 8×12 walls in the eight months he spends on the road each year. “Public graffiti art is more respected than it…

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Meet the 2017 N.C. State Fair’s finest

This year, the State Fair includes close to 200 food vendors and they are all ah-mazing. There are two that came to shine, though. Followers of  N.C. State Fair social media voted for their favorite food this year. Al’s French Fries took home the award for 2017 Best Food at the Fair. Allison Jefferson Beckwith of Apex, also known as Al, started the business in 1959. Why? No reason other than because he loved fries. Actually, the first two years of business, he sold ice cream. His family keeps his legacy alive by managing two Al’s locations: one outside the…

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Get your official weight at the fair — if you dare

Glen Farmer is a heavy-scales inspector with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For a few shifts during the N.C. State Fair, he weighs something a little more fun — fair-goers. For the last 20 years, he has worked the Standards Division booth inside the Education Building near the House-Autry hush puppies. “We have your official weight according the to State of North Carolina,” said Farmer. “A lot of folks just shake their heads when given their printout and try to tell us it’s not right. But it is!” In North Carolina, anytime a scale is used to…

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Old Time Photo equals good-time family fun

For the past three years, Old Time Photo has set up on the midway at the N.C. State Fair. This year, April and Matt Stewart have set up another location on the south side of Dorton Arena. Old Time Photo has had studios in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and Myrtle Beach, S.C., since the mid-1990s. They bring their brand of family fun and unique souvenirs to eight or so fairs and festivals per year. “When we were 18 years old and living in Florida, a friend asked us to come up and help during the summer,” April said. “We’ve been doing it…

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Livestock Special Awards Show celebrates 20 years

It’s impossible to talk about the N.C. State Fair Livestock Special Awards Show without talking about longtime participant Mike Smith. Smith started attending livestock shows with his nieces in the 1980s as they exhibited livestock in the youth shows. But as he traveled with his family to livestock events across the state, Smith, who has Down Syndrome, never had the opportunity to participate in a show. He helped behind the scenes by keeping the stalls clean. At the 1996 N.C. State Fair, Smith was given the opportunity to walk a goat through the show ring before the shows started. A…

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