Pirates, Germans and the story of N.C. barbecue

Each year, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources sets up an exhibit in the north lobby of Dorton Arena to educate us about part of our state’s incredible history. From North Carolinians’ involvement in World War I to the history of pirates on our coast, we’ve learned some pretty cool things about our state. This year, they are bringing us “The Story of BBQ in NC.” If you’re new to our state, you might think we’re a little crazy for our barbecue obsession, like our ongoing Eastern- versus Western-style debates. But barbecue runs in our veins like…

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Beth Woody celebrates 50 years in the Village of Yesteryear

Since 1969, Beth Woody of Hillsborough has spent her time at the N.C. State Fair as part of the Village of Yesteryear. Mary Cornwell, the first superintendent of the Village of Yesteryear, invited her to participate in the Village and demonstrate how to make Christmas decorations. Since then, Woody has been involved in making and demonstrating many crafts, such as sculptured paper lamp shades, cold water lye soap and kaleidoscopes. Her first love is marquetry, which she was introduced 40 years ago. “I first saw marquetry from Thayer Frances, another crafter in the Village of Yesteryear. We talked about marquetry…

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Kachunga & the Alligator make a splash here at the fair

All the way from Florida, Kachunga, an alligator expert and “American Bushman,” came to wow fairgoers at the N.C. State Fair.  The show includes two alligator experts and of course, a feisty 7-foot alligator. Kachunga and the Alligator have been traveling across the country for the last 15 years to educate and entertain audiences about these cold-blooded creatures. The educational yet comical show presents exactly how and why alligators react to humans and other wildlife the way that they do. Kachunga explained that “alligators use their long tails as a weapon or defense because of how heavy and strong it…

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Pack Pullers’ tractor on display at N.C. State Fair

Visit the Antique Farm Machinery barn near the Village of Yesteryear, and you’ll see a tractor that stands out from many of the historic pieces. North Carolina State University’s Pack Pullers tractor is on display, and it’s a shining example of modern engineering. Pack Pullers has developed the tractor to compete in an engineering contest that helps prepare students for workplace challenges by providing real-world engineering practice. Students learn technical and professional skills and gain hands-on design experience through the development of sophisticated pulling technology. Each team is provided a 31-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of Titan…

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Aromatic Roasters Roast Up the Best Cup of Joe at N.C. State Fair

Dominic Treadwell with Aromatic Roasters of Pittsboro won the annual coffee competition on Friday, Oct. 12.  This brew master won $100 along with a N.C. State Fair ribbon and, of course, bragging rights. The contest is sponsored by Dilworth Coffee and Stockton Graham & Co. Mello Coffee Roasters of Davidson was named reserve champion and earned $75. Honorable mention went to Carrboro Coffee Roasters of Carrboro. The 12 competitors were judged based on their brew’s aroma, flavor, balance, after taste, acidity, body, sweetness and overall impression. Exhibitors were responsible for a written description of their coffee entry, roasted coffee beans…

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Woman completes bucket list item with cooking competition win

Mary Boury returned to the N.C. State Fair to mark something off her bucket list – competing in the Special Cooking Contests .  It paid off on opening day with a first-place win for the N.C. Peanut Growers Association recipe contest and a third-place win in House-Autry Mills Cornbread Challenge. Boury is originally from Girard, Pa. She moved here years ago because her daughter lives here and she became a regular at entering cooking competitions at the fair. “Mary moved back to Pennsylvania a few years ago,” said Lisa Prince, special cooking contest superintendent. “We haven’t seen her in the…

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A love affair

What keeps Gail and Grant Simons at the Root Beer Cart coming back for their 32nd year at the N.C. State Fair? It’s a true love affair. “We love fairs, we love people and these are our friends,” Grant says. “That’s as good a reason as any to keep coming back every year.” Celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, the dynamic duo is still at it, serving their famous root beer out of their red and white striped tent all over the east coast. “We start in July and go to six fairs in New York,” Gail said. “Then, we slowly…

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Giant pumpkin and watermelon set new State Fair records

A 1,551.5-pound pumpkin grown by Chris Rodebaugh of Lewisburg, W. Va. and a watermelon weighing 327.5 pounds grown by Christopher Kent of Sevierville, Tenn. took the top prizes in the N.C. State Fair’s Great Pumpkin and Watermelon Weigh-Off. Both entries shattered previous N. C State Fair records. Rodebaugh is a first-time grower, and gathered the information needed to grow his super-sized pumpkin from the internet. “I saw some entries into my local State Fair in West Virginia and thought, ‘that’s pretty neat.’ I thought I’d try to grow one myself,” he said. When asked if he’d return in 2019, he…

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Cool Runnings wins Best New Food at annual State Fair media day

Stephen and Andrea Millington have been serving up jerk chicken, tacos and pork wraps for 18 years at the N.C. State Fair. This year, the couple took top honors for best new food at the annual N.C. State Fair media day, their new jerk pork wrap with mango sauce. Most of the year, Stephen and Andrea Millington work day jobs. Stephen is an  IT technician in Durham and Andrea is an accountant in Raleigh. During the fair, they take their vacation to run Cool Runnings Jamaican food at the N.C. State Fair. Andrea is from Jamaica and many of the…

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More than Showing Livestock…It’s Family

In the livestock show world, family is a big deal. They are your cheerleaders, and greatest critic. They back the trailers, feed you between classes, hold you during disappointment, and celebrate with you through wins. In short, showing livestock is a family endeavor. However, the cool thing about that family, is it is often much larger than the one you were born with. This is a story of more than one family, but in reality, they seem more like one big family. It’s the story of two girls. Two families. And yet, sheep and one dream turned them into one…

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