Fairgrounds visitors will have plenty of activities to choose from as the third-annual Got to Be NC Festival kicks off a full weeekend of events. The festival runs Friday, May 21, to Sunday, May 23, and will include hundreds of food and commercial vendors, agricultural exhibits, carnival rides and much more.
Following is the jam-packed schedule of activities at the Got to Be NC Festival:
- Amran Shriners N.C. Seafood Fish Fry, Friday, beside the Expo Center
The Shriners will serve N.C. mountain trout, catfish and shrimp from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Cost is $10 per plate. The event is a fund-raiser that benefits the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
- Mason’s N.C. Pig Jig and BBQ Cooking Championship, Saturday, beside the Expo Center
Cook-off teams representing 30 N.C. Masonic lodges will prepare their best barbecue pork, chicken and sauces for a chance at awards and bragging rights. Once the barbecue is judged, it will be chopped and sold starting at 11 a.m. Tickets for all-you-can-eat barbecue are $10 for adults; children 12 and under eat free. The event raises money to support the Masonic Home for Children and the Central Children’s Home, both in Oxford.
- Classic Car Show, Friday, and Harley-Davidson Ride-in, Saturday, near the Grandstand
Classic cars of all types and eras will be on display Friday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, about 100 bikers are expected to participate in the annual ride from Ray Price Harley-Davidson on South Saunders Street to the fairgrounds, and arrive at noon through Gate 11. Visitors can check out the motorcycle display near the Grandstand, and vote for their favorite in the “People’s Choice” award.
- N.C. Food & Wine Expo, Friday-Sunday, Expo Center
More than 100 companies representing products such as wines, peanuts, sauces, candies, fresh produce and meats will sample and sell their goods. Visitors can also enjoy a wine garden area featuring local wineries. The Food & Wine Expo, supported by the Golden LEAF Foundation, will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
- Geico Triangle Stage and Food Lion Family Picnic Area, Friday-Sunday, near Dorton Arena
Visitors can enjoy a variety of music on the Geico Triangle Stage. On Friday, the Charlie Albertson Band performs at 1 and 3:30 p.m., and the Barn Burners take the stage at 6 and 8 p.m. Jeanne Jolly and North Tower will play four shows on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, beginning at 11 a.m. each day. Other activities in this area include the NASCAR Street Tour and Water Wars balloon launch.
- Bluegrass Music, Friday-Sunday, Bluegrass Stage in the Flower Show area
Triangle band The Boys from Carolina will perform multiple sets all three days, beginning at noon Friday and Sunday, and 11 a.m. Saturday. On Saturday at 1 p.m., 10 amateur bands will compete for top honors and cash prizes in the Bluegrass Band Competition, sponsored by PineCone. The top three bands will be recognized, with the champion taking home $500, runner-up $250 and third place $125.
- Fiber Fest, Friday-Sunday, Holshouser Building
Visitors to the new Fiber Fest will see weavers, spinners and crafters demonstrate their skills and offer products for sale. Interactive activities, including sheep shearing, felt making and fiber-color blending, will take place throughout the weekend beginning at 10 a.m. each day.
- Antique Tractor and Equipment Display and Parade, Friday-Sunday, throughout the grounds
Thousands of pieces of antique farm machinery, from steam-powered engines built in the 1800s to plows and harvesters restored to showroom condition, will be on display. A tractor parade will loop the festival grounds each day at 11 a.m. New this year will be a special display of Corbitt Trucks and equipment in celebration of the Henderson company’s 100th anniversary.
- Grandstand Events, Friday-Sunday, Sam G. Rand Grandstand
Teams of draft horses will test their might against a weighted sled Friday beginning at 6 p.m. The horse pull will be preceded by a children’s stick horse race at 5 p.m. and Rocky the Trick Mule at 5:30 p.m. Antique-tractor pulls are set for Saturday. Pulls will run from noon to 5 p.m. and 6 to 11 p.m. They are sanctioned by the Old Time Tractor Pullers Association and the Carolina Antique Tractor Pullers Association, respectively. On Sunday from noon to about 7 p.m., members of the American Racing Mower Association will race souped-up lawn mowers around the grandstand oval at speeds up to 60 miles-per-hour. Teams will participate in junior- and adult-racing classes to earn trophies and points toward a national championship. Admission to each grandstand event is $5, and tickets will be available at the grandstand box office.
- Carnival Rides and Games, Friday-Sunday, Midway area
More than 30 rides and lots of games will be available on the Midway. Buy individual tickets for $1 each, a sheet of 14 tickets for $10 or a sheet of 30 tickets for $20. Serious riders may want to visit on Friday between noon and 6 p.m., when the purchase of a sheet of 30 tickets will also include one free ride coupon, a $4 value, valid on Friday only. Armbands for unlimited rides will be availalbe only on Sunday for $20 each. The carnival is open noon to midnight on Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Other events throughout the fairgrounds offering free admission:
- The Raleigh Summer Boat Show in the Kerr Scott Building kicks off the weekend at noon on Thursday and continues through Sunday at 5 p.m.
- WRAL’s Wellness Weekend will take place in the Jim Graham Building from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The event offers dancing, aerobics, health tests and screenings, jazzercising, soccer, rock climbing, a community blood drive and more.
- Wake County 4-H and District 4-H horse shows will take place at the Hunt Horse Complex on Saturday and Sunday. The events are open to the public.
- The Raleigh Flea Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Commercial and Education buildings and outdoor locations on Saturday and Sunday.
Free parking will be available near Gates 9 and 10 along Trinity Road and at Carter Finley Stadium.