Wilmington-native Charlie Daniels returns to Dorton Arena as Devil Went Down to Georgia celebrates 40 years.

If you ask Charlie Daniels, he will tell you that going on stage in his home state is always special. The Wilmington native and graduate of the former Goldston High School in Chatham County has played during the Fair in Dorton Arena five times since 1988. His memories of the fair go back a lot farther. “My earliest memories of the N.C. State Fair was coming with my FFA group,” Daniels said. “I remember when we visited the new building, which at the time was Dorton Arena (built in 1952). We would have a good time walking around and seeing…

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State Fair offers up a lot for families to do – tips to plan your trip

From many kids’ point of view, the State Fair might just represent the absolute best place on Earth. It’s bright, bold and colorful; there’s music and crazy foods you won’t see anywhere else; the grounds teem with free entertainment that makes you laugh, inspires you to dream and sometimes just begs you to suspend disbelief; and then there are the games and rides. Even as a self-proclaimed “big kid,” I still find it to be a magical, energizing place. If you are bringing the family, here are a few/10 tips to consider to maximize the fun. Tips 1-4 are for…

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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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Like a little heaven on a stick! New fair foods announced.

Yes, it’s the news you’ve been waiting for! The list of new food for this year’s fair is now out! Of course, don’t get me wrong – we all still love the candy apples, the cotton candy, the funnel cakes and the turkey legs. By now even fried Oreos are a staple at the fair too, but if these new foods don’t get you excited to try something new, you may want to check your pulse. Are you even living if these new options don’t make your mouth water? When I saw the list I immediately started scrolling down to…

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Coming Home to the NC State Fair

In recent years, the multitude and magnitude of hurricanes that have hit our state have been maddening. They always seem to hit right around N.C. State Fair time, too. I guess that’s why they call it hurricane season. While overall, our state dodged major impacts from Hurricane Dorian, sans the Outer Banks, we are all still keeping a wary eye out for another named storm. Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t just being worry warts over here. We still have much hope and excitement, especially when our thoughts go to the N.C. State Fair. There is something about the State…

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Dazzling lights and spectacular heights: State Fair SkyGazer promises to be a crowd pleaser.

Bigger and better – this year the N.C. State Fair is delivering on that promise. Fairgoers will see the fair’s newest addition, the State Fair SkyGazer, as they approach the fairgrounds – as it stands more than 60 feet taller than Dorton Arena. The SkyGazer is North America’s largest traveling Ferris wheel. “North Carolinians who visit the State Fair every year have their traditions, but we never stop trying to “wow” you. We’ve been working to bring this Ferris wheel to Raleigh since it debuted in Florida in 2017,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “ It’s not often we get…

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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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Youthful bluegrass band One Fret Over takes the bluegrass stage

A meeting at summer camp has led to success for a pair of siblings from Salisbury and Kernersville. Their band, One Fret Over, will perform at the N.C. State Fair in Heritage Circle on Saturday, Oct. 19. Based out of central North Carolina, One Fret Over is comprised of two sets of siblings; Gabe Bemus (guitar and vocals), Grace Bemus (fiddle and vocals), Elijah Moore (mandolin) and Lincoln Moore (bass). The band members met at youth bluegrass camp in 2016. They formed One Fret Over in early 2017 and have filled their schedule performing at local venues and festivals ever…

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