The State Fair’s blacksmith shop is new — and old

Heritage Forge blacksmith shop

The N.C. State Fair’s newest building is actually quite old. The new blacksmith shop, a replacement for the one that sat in Heritage Circle since the late 1980s, was built with wood from two barns, each more than a century old. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler donated the barns, which he bought from a family in Guilford County five years ago. “I had seen how bad the old blacksmith shop looked and I knew it needed to be replaced,” Troxler said. “One morning I woke up thinking this would be a good use of the buildings I had. They turned out to be a perfect fit.” The…

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A bear and a pair of eagles find a home in Heritage Circle

Bluegrass music and the sputter and pops of John Deere hit-and-miss engines churning ice cream are familiar sounds in Heritage Circle during the fair. This week, the area was dominated by the sounds of Jerry Reid’s chainsaw. Reid, who lives off Lizard Lick road in Zebulon, has been hard at work on a stump carving for the area.  During the fair, his 18-foot-tall carving of a pair of eagles and a bear will greet fairgoers from the center of Heritage Circle. “We wanted to create a nature scene that fit in with the feel of the area,” Reid said. “Every…

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Casey’s Don’t Miss List for the last weekend of the fair

There’s a new bird in town – fair mascot Casey Cardinal. And he’s got lots of tips for fairgoers. This week we are looking at a few of Casey’s suggestions for what not to miss the last weekend of the fair. Get a selfie with the FloraSapiens These tall, lithe, plant-like creatures  with a big personality are roaming around Heritage Circle. They just love to pose for pictures and move to the sounds of bluegrass coming from the Heritage Circle Stage.  The FloraSapiens are joined by Mother Earth, who enjoys hanging out around the Flower Show area. Have a ham biscuit…

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Mock Tobacco Auction on Friday allows fairgoers to ‘follow sale’

The new tobacco pavilion in Heritage Circle will hosts its first mock tobacco auction Friday at 2 p.m. The auction has been held in the Expo Center for the past several years. The new venue will allow even more fairgoers to experience a throwback to N.C.’s past. “Tobacco is an important part of North Carolina’s heritage and agricultural economy,” said Pat Short, Heritage Circle superintendent. “It’s an industry that is well represented in Heritage Circle with the tobacco tying competition, curing in a traditional stick tobacco barn and the mock auction.” Tobacco auctions were common all over North Carolina until…

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Tobacco auction celebrates N.C. culture and heritage

The mock tobacco auction, a relatively recent addition to the fair’s lineup, was held in the Expo Center earlier today. The auction celebrates the importance of tobacco to North Carolina’s economy and the important role the crop continues to play in the Tarheel state’s culture and heritage. Though tobacco is now sold primarily through contracts between farmers and tobacco companies, auctions were the primary method of tobacco trade between 1859 and 2004. Check out the video below to see a part of today’s activities. A fair tradition since 2005, this year’s auction included the participation of a Chinese trade delegation…

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Enjoy free music at this year’s State Fair

The State Fair offers great deals on musical entertainment for the  entire family. The State Fair’s Bluegrass Stage and the Waterfall Stage will play host to a variety of live music acts, all of which are completely free and appropriate for the entire family. The  Bluegrass Stage is located in Heritage Circle and will feature two different acts, both representing some of the best traditional bluegrass music. The Grass Cats are famous for playing music as diverse as traditional fiddle and banjo music, bluegrass classics, acapella gospel numbers and popular hits. A North Carolina born-and-bred act, the Back Porch Bluegrass Band focuses…

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She’s alive!

When we first got word that DiVine would be performing at the State Fair this year, we weren’t really sure what to think. Then, we saw this YouTube video. Note: If video doesn’t play, try refreshing browser. To me the performance is enchanting, a little frightening, but overall mesmerizing. After seeing the video, I wanted to learn a little more about the character, so I called up the original DiVine, Priscilla Stephan, to get her take on the character she created in 1996. It all started with a little bit of nature and the question, “What would it be like…

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Twitter roundup: Eight enlightening State Fair exhibits

So far, we’ve brought you some of the highlights in State Fair food, rides and games. For our last social media series on the fair’s attractions, we’re bringing you some of the best exhibits that the fair has to offer (#8enlighteningexhibits). Though the carnival aspects of the fair sometimes get more attention, the exhibits preserve our state’s culture, promote North Carolina agricultural products and provide opportunities for people from across the state to connect in areas of shared passion. In this way, the exhibits are at the core of what the fair is all about. The Antique Farm Machinery exhibit…

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Tobacco auction at the Expo

Tobacco is a large part of the agricultural heritage of North Carolina and you can see it across the fairgrounds. Throughout the Fair, a dedicated staff stokes the fire at the Heritage Circle tobacco barn, and you may remember Merrie Go Round trying her hand at tobacco tying earlier this week. Yesterday, retired tobacco buyers, warehousemen and auctioneers re-enacted a live tobacco auction in the Expo Center. The event demonstrated how tobacco was traded for more than 150 years in North Carolina. During auction, tobacco is laid on the ground. As the group of buyers and warehousemen move down the line,…

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Neomonde baking demonstrations at Heritage Circle

Fairgoers will notice a new smell wafting from Heritage Circle this weekend. The fresh-baked bread from Neomonde Baking Company joins the smells of warm apple cider and cured tobacco in a demonstration tent beside the old chapel. Artisans from the local bakery will spend four hours each day, starting today, bringing volunteers on stage to create some of the store’s signature recipes. The exhibit also featured artisan breads for sample. Here are some highlights from last Sunday’s demonstration: If you missed the baking demonstrations last weekend, you still have time to see and taste the delicious breads today through Sunday, Oct. 22-25, from 4…

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