Leatherwork artist Yolanda Prince joins Village of Yesteryear

Yolanda Prince has been to the N.C. State Fair twice, once with her school group and then once in 2015. This year, Prince will spend everyday at the fair as one of the craftsman in the Village of Yesteryear. “It is my first year in the Village, however, I learned my craft from the late Mike Lowe, who was a member of the Village of Yesteryear for more than 30 years,” Prince said. “I was interested in learning leatherwork and signed up for a class at the Hiddenite Crafts Center,” she said. “I was the only one that signed up…

Continue Reading

Fun at the Fair: Fudge Family Tradition

“Hey Grandma!” That is the greeting Wanda Loudermilk looks forward to each year at the fair. In 1962, at 31 years old, Wanda drove her station wagon into the fairgrounds and sold Amish fudge and cheese. With a recipe passed down through many generations, Wanda was unaware of the lasting impression she would carry 58 years later. “The first fair I ever attended as a vendor was the N.C. State Fair”, Wanda said, “and I loved it.” According to her daughter Rhonda, she would even cook lunch for the other vendors in her area throughout the duration of the fair….

Continue Reading

Branford Marsalis to make State Fair debut Oct. 21

A Grammy-winning saxophonist and composer will make his long-awaited debut at the North Carolina State Fair this year, as the Branford Marsalis quartet comes to the Homegrown Music Festival at Dorton Arena Oct. 21. Marsalis, who lives in Durham, has been a mainstay in the Jazz world for decades. The Branford Marsalis Quartet, formed in 1986, has earned five Grammy nominations over the years, with a win in 2000 for best jazz instrumental album, individual or group. That nearly three-decade span has seen the group release 16 albums of both original music and classic jazz tunes, including a 2004 concert…

Continue Reading

A dream come true: Dole Whip named best new fair food

It took Reggie Burnette and his brother Charles almost 20 years to become a food vendor at the N.C. State Fair. They started Tropical Delights in 1995, and now their smoothie stand is home to the 2019 “Media’s Choice Best New Food.” Members of the news and lifestyle media sampled several of this year’s new fair foods and chose the Dole Whip that Tropical Delights will be serving this year. For Burnette, being the top vote-getter was validation that brought tears to his eyes. He and his brother were born and raised in Durham and started out by setting up…

Continue Reading

Follow the beat to find punk-rock percussion

In case it wasn’t obvious there will be no shortage of things to see and do at the N.C. State Fair this year. Everywhere you turn you’ll find entertainment, some arts and culture or something educational and informational. You’ll likely pass by Dorton Arena, and amongst all the excitement you’ll find one of this year’s new free entertainment acts. Street Drum Corps will be performing on the north side of the arena. That’s the side toward the middle of the fairgrounds, away from Hillsborough Street. Street Drum Corps is sort of a punk rock version of STOMP – the well-known…

Continue Reading

From racecars to guitars – Kyle Petty brings a songwriter’s circle-style to Heritage Circle

As a fan of music and fan of all things North Carolina – I look forward each year to the release of the Homegrown Music series put together by Deep South Productions. This year, a name on our list for Heritage Circle performers stuck out – Kyle Petty. I know the name as a member of one of North Carolina’s pre-eminent racing families – but I didn’t know he played music. Petty competed in more than 800 races in his 31-year career, posting 173 top ten finishes and eight wins. He was named NASCAR Illustrated Person of the Year in…

Continue Reading

American Aquarium performance in Dorton is delayed but not denied

American Aquarium was set to open the 2018 N.C. State Fair, but severe threatening weather postponed the bands’ debut on the Dorton Arena stage. Jumping ahead to 2019, fairgoers can see the latest lineup of the Raleigh-based band on Thursday, Oct. 24, in Dorton Arena. The long-awaited show will feature the alternative country sound that has drawn critical praise and comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and a former Raleigh band, Whiskeytown. The following is adapted from a Deep Fried Blog post from 2018: “Tough times don’t last, but tough folks do.” BJ Barham, front man of American Aquarium, lives those words….

Continue Reading

Stilt walkers will bring unexpected fun, including a high-five

One of the new attractions at this year’s N.C. State Fair may not be something you put on your to-do list at the fair, but it could certainly bring you a few surprise moments of enjoyment. “We like to call it walking visual art,” said Star Child, one of the stilt walkers you’ll see when Stilt Circus makes its first appearance at the fair this year. She and Richard Dalton will be roaming the fairgrounds in some spectacular costumes, so running in to them will likely be an unexpected but welcomed encounter. Of course, you’ll have to look up to…

Continue Reading

Scholarship Highlight: Mason Blinson–Seeker of Opportunity

Nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could have changed your life. Below is a profile of Mason Blinson, a N.C. State Fair Youth Scholarship recipient that has shown sheep, pigs and cattle at the N.C. State Fair for many years. Mason is the daughter of Beth and Bryan Blinson of Buies Creek, NC. No one can accuse Mason Blinson of turning down a good opportunity, and because of her willingness to try new things, visit new places, and utilize the talents she’s been given, Mason has been able to experience some pretty awesome things. Mason is a senior…

Continue Reading

The N.C. State Fair guide to groups – five tips to planning the perfect trip for your work, school or church group.

The fair can be a great group activity for office bonding, student groups, church youth group, neighborhood associations or other clubs. Here’s a few tips to help plan a group outing to the N.C. State Fair. Buy your tickets in advance! If you are buying for a group of adults it is usually pretty easy to make it to the 40 adult tickets needed to purchase at the $8 each group rate. The group rate for 40 child tickets is $4 per ticket. More information on group ticketing is available online. Settle on a meeting spot. We recommend the Tobacco…

Continue Reading