Employee Profile: New art and photography superintendent Dottie Cole seeks to broaden exhibition

When the sun rises over the fairgrounds Thursday, Oct. 15, Dottie Bryan Cole, the art and photography department superintendent, will be walking through the Kerr Scott Building, ensuring all the art exhibition displays are ready for the N.C. State Fair’s opening. “That’s my favorite part of the job,” Cole said. “Walking through in the morning before opening, seeing the final project, going through and taking it all in. All of the hard work is done.” As the art and photography superintendent, Cole is responsible for processing entries, setting competition rules and regulations, hiring and managing department employees, selecting judges, organizing…

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Employee Profile: New assistant fair manager James Romer brings passion for fairs

New assistant fair manager James Romer has developed many passions, from collecting rocks to horticulture and gardening. However, when it comes to his love for fairs, Romer said it just got into his blood as a child and has been there ever since. “Some of the best days of my life have been spent at fairs,” Romer said. “In fact, I met my wife at a county fair in Iowa. Fairs are always going to be special to me.” Romer’s experience with fairs began with his parents who, in 1965, began raising and showing dahlias at local county fairs and…

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Employee Profile: Switchboard operator Sandra Baker answers the call

If you have called the main line to the State Fair at anytime over the last 18 years, there’s a good chance that you’ve talked to Mrs. Sandra. This time of year she estimates the main switchboard at the fair fields about 600 calls every day. Baker’s office is just inside the front doors of the administration building. Her office is filled with pictures of her family and collectible glass angels. Before working for the fair, Baker spent 25 years as a long distance phone operator. “This was back when we had the long lines that we used to connect…

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Introducing Jose Silva, Hunt Horse Complex facilities maintenance coordinator

When most people think of the N.C. State Fair, they think of food, rides, games, giant pumpkins and livestock shows. When Jose Silva thinks of the fair, he thinks horses. Matter of fact, as a facilities maintenance coordinator at the Hunt Horse Complex, Jose thinks horses all year long. “I am involved with everything that goes into making sure the barns are clean,” Silva said. “Sometimes we just have about four hours between shows to clean the stalls and make sure there are no nails.” Silva has worked at the Hunt Horse Complex since 2002. With an average of 58…

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Introducing Fair Employee Eleanor Upchurch

For Eleanor Upchurch, stopping to smell the roses is just a pleasant bonus to her job. During the fair, Upchurch works as an assistant to the flower show superintendent.  “My main responsibilities are assisting the judges when needed, getting employees the supplies they need, and making sure things run on schedule.” She loves her job and sometimes can’t believe that she gets paid to work. Her work supports the busiest general competition show at the fair. Last year, the flower show had 4,402 exhibits spread out over three shows and offered almost $40,000 in prize money. Upchurch stays busy receiving…

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Introducing Wesley Wyatt, State Fair manager

Like most children, young Wesley Wyatt didn’t dream of becoming the State Fair manager, but now there’s no job he’d rather have. Wyatt was born in Greensboro, lived in Burlington until he was 13, and since then has called Raleigh home. He earned an associate’s degree in applied agriculture from N.C. State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from UNC-Chapel Hill. His career with the State Fair began in 1973, when he was still in high school. Back then, he worked in the landscape crew, helped with horse shows, set up buildings for events and cleaned…

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State Fair employee profiles coming soon

The world is huge, there’s no question about it. But it becomes a little bit smaller when working with people from across the globe. The State Fair prides itself on its diverse workforce. In the main office there is even map displaying the birth countries of its employees. Each pin on the map images below represents where a State Fair employee is from. As you can see, these pins are located all around the world, from Montana and Mexico, to India and Iraq. Some State Fair employees traveled a long way to work for the N.C. State Fair, while others…

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