Craft soda expands options for kids and adults at the Our State Public House

For the third year, people at the N.C. State Fair will be able to taste samples of beer, wine and cider from the Old North State. New this year, craft soda will also be available, which means children and anyone else under age 21 will now be allowed in the picnic or “beer garden” area around the Our State Public House. The Public House is still relatively new. Our State magazine has sponsored it since its first year in 2017. It’s located in Heritage Circle, not far from the tobacco pavilion, the grist mill or the flower and garden show….

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Tribute to musical icon will launch Dorton Arena concerts this year

Gabriel Bello promises big things when he performs in Dorton Arena on the opening night of the N.C. State Fair this year. “We’ll be playing some of the best music that’s been put out in the last 50 to 100 years,” Bello recently told me. “Hopefully one of best bands people have ever heard.” Bello leads a Stevie Wonder tribute band (complete with backup singers and instrumentalists) called Natural Wonder. He obviously thinks highly of the legendary artist he emulates. However, he didn’t always think he’d be going on tour and entertaining people who love the music of Stevie Wonder….

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NC products showcased for fairgoers

If you’re looking for a showcase of some of North Carolina’s very own products at the N.C. State Fair, you have to check out the “Got To Be NC” exhibit tent. This year’s tent will be packed with 34 vendors from 24 cities or towns across the state. Six of the vendors are new this year, while at least five returning vendors promise to have new or updated products in their booths. Many vendors will be in the exhibit tent for either the first or second half of the fair, but eight vendors will be there all 11 days. You’ll…

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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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