Gaston teen prom dress designer wins first place at the fair

Forget Giovanni and Vera Wang – 18-year old April Moore spent 10 days designing her own dress to sport at the Forestview High School prom in Gastonia. Moore is now a freshman at the University of Florida studying costume design. But just a few months before moving into her dorm room down south, she was stitching the finishing touches on her handmade dress. “I wanted to challenge myself,” she said. “I would say I probably spent about 20 to 30 hours on this dress.” Little did she know that it would go on to win first place in the fancy dress…

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60 tons of shavings: The N.C. State Fair by the numbers

The annual N.C. State Fair is less than 2 weeks away. The fairgrounds crew is busily preparing the grounds for the nearly 1 million fairgoers that will visit during the annual 11-day event. Check out these fun numerical facts about the 151st N.C. State Fair, which runs Oct. 11 through the 21st. 2,855: Number of windows on the exterior of Dorton Arena 1,674: Number of mums ordered for the Flower and Garden Show. Several of these will be used to build the giant mum-tree, one of the fair’s most popular photo spots. 60 tons: And what do you get? All…

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So you want to be a beekeeper?

Eighteen-year-old Molly Carlson makes it look easy. Carlson, a Cary native, started keeping bees in 2012 when she found her passion through a 4-H youth program. Ever since, she has been working hard to maintain as many as 20 hives at once and educate others about the importance of bees – all while juggling classes and homework. “It takes a lot of commitment,” she said. “You can’t just go in once a year and check on your hives – you have to constantly be on top of everything.” As she spent more time with the little insects, Carlson decided bees…

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Twins win for cookie creations

In the midst of the chaos that the fair can bring, I found solace in the most unlikely place: amongst a handful of 7 and 8 year olds on Thursday afternoon at the cookie decorating contest. Ten contestants took eight minutes to decorate their cookies using different colored icing and sprinkles. With a blue ribbon prize at stake, the concentration in the room was palpable and cause for complete silence – and maybe a couple tears. First place was awarded to Kendall Hudson, 8, for her cat-eye design. Her entire cookie cake was created to look like a cat face with…

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Casey’s Clubhouse, big slide plus six other fun things for young children

Fair mascot Casey the Cardinal is back and he’s got lots of tips for fairgoers. Read below to find out how to make the most out of the N.C. State Fair if you are a parent with young children in tow. Stroller-drivers, we see you. We know that families love to come to the fair together. And that many of these families have children in the preschool and elementary-age range. If you fit this description then this advice is for you. Here are seven tips for enjoying the fair with young children. Last year I missed out on meeting a…

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Weekend Update: June 24-26

Discover the Dinosaurs in the Expo Center

Visitors to the State Fairgrounds can travel back to prehistoric times via the Discover the Dinosaurs exhibit on Friday from noon to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Graham Building. This event will feature a life-like interactive dinosaur exhibit as well as a Dino Dig, face painting and Dino Mini-Golf. To purchase tickets, visit www.discoverthedinosaurs.com. Other events this weekend include: The Raleigh Money Expo is Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Exposition Center. Admission…

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Weekend Update: June 3-5

The fairgrounds will host a variety of events this weekend. Come find a new furry friend, examine antique bottles, or watch a youth cattle show at the following events: The Capital Dressage Classic is Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free for this nationally recognized equestrian competition, which will feature a vendor fair. Event is located in the Hunt Horse Complex. The N.C. Junior Beef Roundup is Saturday and Sunday with competitions beginning at 7:30 a.m. North Carolina’s youth will show off both their skills and their…

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Quilt competition spreads Christmas joy

This is the first year Anthony Baker, 34, of Zebulon entered a quilt into the N.C. State Fair. It may not have been a blue ribbon winner, but that didn’t mean it isn’t the best in show to one person in his life. Baker, who learned embroidery from a neighbor over the summer, created a Christmas quilt for his mother and surprised her with it at the fair. “My mom’s mom passed away a few year’s ago and I used fabric that belonged to her to put this one together,” he said. “She cried when she saw it and wanted…

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A fair competition where “Almost Anything Goes”

Blue ribbons and bragging rights are what thousands of fair exhibitors are hoping for each year when they enter their prized items into the N.C. State Fair for competition. This year, in the fair’s newest competitive-exhibits category, fairgoers will decide which exhibitors earns the rainbow-colored rosette. “We came up with the idea from our exhibitors,” said Denise Walker, competitive exhibits director. “Every year we hear I can’t believe you don’t have a category for fill-in-the-blank. But sometimes there is not a miscellaneous category that applies, and this competition gives these exhibitors a chance to showcase talents that haven’t previously been…

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Read to Win expands statewide

Students in grades 6 through 12 across the state may want to take the month of September to pick up a good book. The Fair is giving out more than 3,000 gate admission tickets across the state to students winners of the Read to Win Competition. “Each public library will receive two prize packs of four of gate admission passes to give as prizes to the winning students chosen who complete their reading goals,” said Lori Special, youth service consultant with the  State Library of N.C.  “The goal of the program is to encourage young people to read for pleasure,…

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