Piedmont Laureate David Menconi brings decades of music knowledge to State Fair

David Menconi, 2019 Piedmont Laureate, knows a little about what makes a good show. As a reporter and music critic with the Raleigh News and Observer for 28 years, Menconi chronicled North Carolina music from the local to the national, highlighting everything from the biggest acts to visit the state to the up-and-coming talent grown at home. This year, guests at the N.C. State Fair will get to share in a bit of Menconi’s love for music, as he and Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green will curate and emcee the Laureate Stage in coordination with Deep South Entertainment. Green is…

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Beef Cattle, Family, Teaching–Combining Passions & Pursuing a Ph.D.

The N.C. State Fair Youth Livestock Scholarship helps dozens of youth chase after a college education every year. Recipients all share the commonality of showing livestock at the N.C. State Fair, but their goals are different. Some pursue degrees in nursing while others focus on animal science. Some recipients attend community college and others travel across the country to get their degree. Some stop at a bachelors while others continue on to grad school. And, this scholarship covers all the types. While most of our scholarship recipients are undergrads, we do have some graduate students. Meet Jordan Cox O’Neill. She’s…

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Meet the Superintendent: Donna Kiger

For Donna Kiger, arts and photography superintendent for the 2019 NC State Fair, the show must go on. Of course, in order to go on, the show must start in the first place. As superintendent of the arts and photography competition – one of the fair’s largest – Kiger’s primary job is making sure that happens. This is the first year that Kiger will take over as arts and photography superintendent, but she is not brand new to the competition, having volunteered for several years prior to taking the lead. Becoming superintendent was not necessarily her plan, she said, but…

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State Fair Adventurer Scavenger Hunts make it easy to have fun and learn something

The fair makes it easy to turn a class field trip into a learning experience. This year, three different scavenger hunts are available on the website – geared towards elementary, middle and high school students. The scavenger hunts are also encouraged for parents and homeschoolers coming to the fair. They are designed so everybody can learn a little about our state while at the fair. Sample Questions: Elementary: Agriculture is North Carolina’s No. 1 industry. This exhibit highlights some of the products grown, raised, caught or made in North Carolina. If you want the best, look for the Got to…

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Junior Beef Roundup—An Event for All Ages

Junior Beef Roundup doesn’t have an age limit…well, okay, maybe technically it does, but that isn’t the point. If you step onto the NC State Fairgrounds and look around the cattle barn, you’ll quickly see that while only ages six to 21 (by Jan. 1) are allowed to show and compete, there are people at the event of all ages. Those attending the Junior Beef Roundup may vary in many different ways, but there is one thing they all have in common—a love for beef cattle. Even though not everyone at the Junior Beef Roundup is able to show, they…

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Meet the Superintendent: Don Edwards

Every year at the State Fair, there are hundreds of different competitions to enter. Each category of competitions is managed by its own superintendent who oversees the show schedules, volunteers, and operations. This year the poultry show will have a new superintendent, Don Edwards, but he is hardly new to the event. Edwards has been working with the show for 25 years, helping to set up the competitions and get youth more involved. “This year is the first time I have the title of superintendent,” Edwards said. “This may be my first year as superintendent, but I have years of…

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N.C. State Fair’s special cooking contests are here and more delicious than ever

For home cooks who are looking to show off your talents, your time to shine is here! The N.C. State Fair’s special cooking contests have been announced, so it’s that time to perfect your recipes for the fair competitions. With a little luck you can take home the top prize. This year’s competitions will be headed by new superintendent Lisa Lincoln. Long time participants will recognize Lincoln, she’s worked with former superintendent Lisa Prince for 13 years, so she’s familiar with the competitions and many competitors. Each day brings a new contest and a new team of judges to sample…

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Meet the Superintendent: Daniel Danford

Every year at the State Fair, there are hundreds of different competitions to enter. Each category of competitions is managed by its own superintendent. This year, the Flower and Garden Show has a new superintendent in charge and his name is Daniel Danford. Daniel and his friend Ashlyn riding the Ferris wheel at the N.C. State Fair. In addition to the Flower Show, Daniel enjoys rides like roller coasters and the Ferris Wheel and the horticulture exhibits including the giant pumpkins and watermelons. Danford has been working at the flower and garden show for about eight years as an assistant…

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A Red Pig Named Cajun: Road to the Winner’s Circle

In a barn in Kenly, North Carolina, a litter of red pigs was born to a sow named Ruby. One of those little pigs would be hand-picked by a girl in a neighboring town and go on to win a championship. This is the story of a couple of girls, family teamwork, and a red pig named Cajun. Sarah Scott (right), Taylor Glover (middle), & NC State Fair hog judge (left) Pigs, although often thought as a pinkish white in color, actually come in many colors and patterns. The Duroc breed is characterized by their beautiful red color that ranges…

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Never Stop Learning:Youth Improve Skills Through Livestock Clinics

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. -Ben Franklin Have you ever watched a livestock show at the N.C. State Fair? Have you ever wondered how they learn how to show a massive cow or keep control of their pig? Let me tell you, there are lot of rules to follow and techniques to execute. Those showmen didn’t learn how to show overnight. Through the entire year, youth are constantly investing in their skills and knowledge regarding livestock. They are forever trying to learn, grow, and become better. One major opportunity they have is to participate in livestock…

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