American Aquarium opens Dorton Arena concert series on Oct. 11

  “Tough times don’t last, but tough folks do.” BJ Barham, front man of American Aquarium, lives those words. He’s a quintessential North Carolinian, raised amongst rows of tobacco in Reidsville. He knows a lot about hard work and the people who carry it out. That upbringing is the driving force behind American Aquarium’s alternative country repertoire, with songs heavily influenced by the lessons, stories, and lives that define rural America. “I come from a blue-collar family. I’m the only one who didn’t go into farming,” BJ says. “I moved to the big city to go to college and fell…

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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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Country rocks Dorton Arena with Parmalee and OSMR

Parmalee is a country rock band, composed of brothers Matt and Scott Thomas, their cousin Barry Knox and friend Josh McSwain, that originated in Parmele in Martin County. The group was formed in 2001 when the members began practicing every Tuesday and Thursday night in a barn they dubbed “Studio B.” Since then, Parmalee has gone on to produce five albums and has been featured on Billboard, AOL.com and Clear Channel. It wasn’t long before the band members realized they needed to broaden their horizons outside of the barn in Parmele if they wanted to jump-start their music career. After…

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Dorton Arena is a field-trip destination

If you have ever attended the fair or other events at the fairgrounds, probably one of the first things you see from a distance is the odd-shaped roof of the most standout building on the grounds. J.S. Dorton Arena is certainly a symbol of the fairgrounds, but it also has an important place in architectural history. Elizabeth Grant is a professor of architecture at Virginia Tech University. Each year she takes her second-year students on a field trip to visit architecturally significant buildings. Some noted buildings in Raleigh include the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, the N.C. Museum of Art…

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Weekend Update: April 13-15

Saturday’s Sports Card, Memorabilia, & Comic Con  will include the UNC Tar Heel seniors from the 2017 NCAA National Basketball Championship signing autographs.  More than 75 exhibitors will be buying, selling and trading vintage to new sportscards, memorabilia and comics on over 160 tables on Saturday in the Scott Building. Autograph guests include the “Teddy Bear Girl” Addy Miller from The Walking Dead, former MLB pitcher Jose Nunez and UNC Chapel Hill 2017 NCAA National Championship Team seniors Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Nate Britt and Stillman White from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m….

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Weekend Update: April 7-9

Spring has certainly arrived when the popular Southern Ideal Home Show – Spring Edition returns to the Graham Building and Exposition Center. This three-day event allows homeowners to see the latest in home improvement trends, and shop, compare and seek advice from professionals and see the latest in home improvement trends. The event features hundreds of building, remodeling, kitchen and bath, landscaping, outdoor living and interior design companies. This event has set the standard as the “must-see” home and garden event of the year. Hours are Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday,…

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Weekend Update: Dec. 9-11

The Bulls, Bells and Barrels Bull Riding Event presented by Carousel Farms is Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Hunt Horse Complex. General admission is $12, VIP admission is $17 and children ages 5 and under are admitted free. This event offers bull riding and barrel racing. Doors open at 6 p.m. for shopping. Other events to check out: The Adidas Warehouse Clearance Sale starts today in the Exposition Center. Sale will offer huge savings on Adidas apparel, footwear and accessories. Special VIP sale hours are Wednesday, 5 to 8 p.m. Regular sale hours are Thursday and Friday,…

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Casey’s favorite N.C. State Fair Finds

Fair mascot Casey Cardinal is back and he’s got lots of tips for fairgoers. Read below to find a few unique N.C. State Fair traditions that makes the fair live up to Nothing Could Be Finer. It’s true, just about every state has a state fair. And these fairs have rides and foods and a midway. But that’s not all that’s at a State Fair. The buildings are full of vendors, state agencies and other organizational booths. The exhibit halls are full of ribbon winners and the livestock barns are bustling with livestock shows. On the grounds you’ll find stilt walkers,…

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2016 N.C. State Fair Bucket List

‘Tis N.C. State Fair season and nothing could be finer. And whether you’re a State Fair veteran or a rookie, you know there is something magical about the state fair that is calling your name. Between the cool autumn nights kept well-lit by the carnival midway, the deep-fried delicacies, and the engaging exhibits and entertainment, what’s not to like? To make sure you’re taking full advantage of your time at the fair, we’ve listed some things that you must do at this year’s event, Oct. 13-23. See a concert on every stage. As a part of this year’s Homegrown Music…

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Weekend Update: Sept. 23-25

It’s a big weekend at the fairgrounds. The Southern Ideal Home Show takes over the Graham Building and the Exposition Center for three days with lots of great home improvement ideas. And this is the last weekend for the Flea Market. All the flea market vendors will have to move out to make room for the State Fair, so there will be plenty of deals to be had. And many wrestling legends make a return to Dorton Arena on Friday night.   The Southern Ideal Home Show is Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m….

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