Gillis Family Farm celebrates nine generations through farming and agritourism

The Farm Family of the Day program is a new addition to the N.C. State Fair. The program recognizes 11 farm families – one for every day of the State Fair – who work hard everyday to impact our state’s agriculture industry. Families either nominated themselves or were nominated by members of the community. Thanks to Tractor Supply Company for sponsoring the program, which will run from Oct. 14-24. Gillis Family Farm, located in western Cumberland County, dates back to the mid-1700’s and spans over nine generations of the Gillis family. In fact, the newest member of the ninth generation,…

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AccessAbility Day fulfills long-time desire to meet the needs of those with differing abilities

Katie Cotton has lots of people in her immediate circle who live with disabilities. It has helped inform her perspective and guide her interactions with those who may need special accommodations. So when her employer Bandwidth stepped in to sponsor AccessAbility Day at the State Fair — a first for the fair – she was thrilled for what that would mean for others. And even for people who might not see themselves as needing a special accommodation for accessibility. “Almost every single one of us will need accommodations at some point in our lives. Some of us are born with…

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Advice from the Deep Fried rookies

The N.C. State Fair is full of surprises and hidden gems. When you work at the fair for the first time, like I did in 2019, those things add up quickly. If you’ve visited before, it’s easy to think you know pretty much everything there is to know. If you’ve visited a lot, you learn even more and find even more surprises and gems over the years. I can say I learned a lot by working at the fair and being inside the gates for all eleven days in 2019 (plus a week before opening day too). I wasn’t alone…

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Be a farmer for a day at the Field of Dreams exhibit

If you are bringing your elementary and preschool age children to the fair then be sure to swing by the Field of Dreams exhibit sponsored by the North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives.  Here you will find the State Fair farm, featuring 30-plus commodities that are grown in North Carolina. At the exhibit, young fairgoers can “harvest” crops, sell them at the produce shed and use the money to purchase a bag of items at the Field of Dreams store. Also at the exhibit is a school house where children can participate in an agricultural-themed coloring contest where the winner will receive…

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Tucked into a forest, new fairgrounds building highlights natural resources & conservation

There’s a new building on the fairgrounds for 2021, and a unique element of its design could have you staring at the walls. The new building will generally be called the Natural Resources Center. It’s tucked away in the wooded area in the northwest corner of the fairgrounds, which is called the N.C. State Fair Conservation forest. In 2021, the forest is sponsored by Enviva. The area is behind the flower and garden show and Heritage Circle. That’s the area where you can find the sawmill demonstration and the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show. It’s also where you find Smokey Bear,…

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Safety First at the Fair

As this year’s fair approaches, it is important to remember safety tips that will keep you and your family safe this year as you experience all the fun the fair has to offer.   Here are 10 safety tips that will help you have the best time possible at this year’s fair:  Wear comfortable, closed-toes shoes — You’ll be doing lots and lots of walking at the fairgrounds, so do your feet a favor and wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes.  Wash your hands A LOT — It’s always been advisable to wash your hands frequently while at the fair, but this year it…

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Answering some of the most popular State Fair questions

With over 220,000 Facebook followers, 12,400 Twitter friends and 36,000 Insta fans, you can imagine a lot of questions come across the N.C. State Fair’s social platforms. We’ll try to answer some of the top ones in this blog. When’s the fair/What’s the fair dates? Believe it or not this is one of the top questions, answered many hundreds of times leading up to the State Fair and sometimes dozens of times in the same thread. This year’s fair dates are Oct. 14-24. Tip: If you are hunting for the fair dates, look for the logo. It is typically incorporated…

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Prevent Blindness NC is on a mission to help fairgoers identify eye problems early

A five-minute stop in the Education Building during the fair could be the most important thing you do on your annual visit to the fair. For more than 20 years Prevent Blindness North Carolina has set up a booth inside the Education Building offering free vision screenings for adults. Their services may have helped thousands of fairgoers detect vision loss or, even more importantly, disease issues that may lead to vision loss. “At the fair we do two types of screening,” said Edwin Jeffords, president and chief executive officer of Prevent Blindness NC. “The first is an acuity screening, which…

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Hair breed sheep bring a new look to a classic show

Livestock shows are a classic part of the North Carolina State Fair, so it’s only fitting that the fair’s return in 2021 would bring with it a new show for people to enjoy. The junior market lamb show will add a hair wether breed division this year, bringing in a new and popular breed to the fair for the first time. Bill Sparrow, junior market lamb superintendent, said that haired sheep have grown in popularity recently. “I wouldn’t say they’re new, but in the last 20 to 30 years haired sheep have increased in numbers dramatically and significantly as a…

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Several fairgrounds buildings now have ‘air cleaning technology’

Visitors to the 2021 N.C. State Fair will benefit from some technology aimed at improving indoor air quality. Several buildings on the fairgrounds now have advanced technology added to their air filtration systems. The technology comes with new equipment that’s been installed with health and safety in mind, as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. You could think of the new equipment as magic, but as neat as that sounds, the actual science sounds pretty neat on its own. It’s not too complicated to understand either. The new equipment adds bipolar ionization technology to the existing HVAC systems in…

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