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The 2015 N.C. State Fair “Nothing Could Be Finer” and the “Homegrown North Carolina” Concert Series for 2015

After this long hot summer we’ve been having in North Carolina, we are all ready for the N.C. State Fair. Counting down the days to the fair means cooler weather, fun foods, games that challenge our skills, exhibitions, as well as a great concert line up. The North Carolina State Fair is the largest 11-day event in North Carolina, attracting more than 800,000 attendees. Managed and produced by the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, it is consistently ranked among the top 25 fairs in North America.

The 2015 N.C. State Fair will be held this year on October 15-25 with the theme is “Nothing Could Be Finer.” Started in 1853, the N.C. State Fair has become a traditional fall-time event that aims to educate all North Carolinians about the importance of agriculture to our heritage and our economy. Their mission is to showcase and promote the state’s agriculture, agribusiness, arts, crafts and culture through the annual agricultural fair. (Ilina and I have a mutual friend who is a multiple Blue Ribbon winner in the baked goods category at the Iowa State Fair. We’re hoping she will visit one day and bring us some of her award-winning cinnamon rolls.)
2015 NC State Fair "Nothing Could Be Finer"
The State Fair is a a great event for families, groups of friends, or a fun first date. One of my personal favorite things to do is check out the display featuring the largest pumpkin and watermelon in the Expo Center. It’s always a great photo-op and makes a fun photo for your photo albums and Instagram.
Bumper Crop of Fun

Fun things to do at the N.C. State Fair:

  • Try to name as many crops, animals, pieces of machinery and crafts as you can in alphabetical order
  • Check out the 21-foot-tall Smokey Bear display and learn about healthy forests and how to prevent forest fires
  • Find out what the “buzz” is about at the Bee and Honey competition area in the Expo Center. Beekeepers are on hand to talk about beekeeping and the critical role bees play in producing our food. (The exhibit features a screened cage with an active beehive.)
  • See a Milking Demonstration and answer that age old question: Does chocolate milk come from brown cows? (Held between the Graham Building and Expo Center. Check out the daily schedule for times.)
  • Feeling Patriotic? Visit the WWI exhibit in the north-side lobby of Dorton Arena. A partnership between the Department of Cultural Resources, the North Carolina Museum of History and the North Carolina National Guard, this exhibit explains the plight of the American soldier during WWI, and even the role the North Carolina State Fairgrounds played in the victory!
  • Head over to the Expo Center and check out the unusual shaped vegetables
  • Decide which agricultural heritage activity you found most interesting at the Village of Yesteryear on the fairgrounds (blacksmith, boat making, craft-making, growing large horticulture crops, cutting flowers, raising and showing livestock, making clothes etc.) and then Instagram a photo with the hashtag #NCStateFair

Sights from the Expo Building
Take the kids to check out the kids who participate in the fair:

  • Livestock barns and shows. Many youngsters participate in livestock shows, some barely taller than the animals they are showing. In the Expo Center, students can even milk a cow at the N.C. State University Animal Science Club’s Milking Booth.
  • Folk Festival. This event features kids of all ages competing in dance and singing.
  • Arts and Crafts. School work for grades K-12 are on display in the Kerr Scott Building.
  • 4-H Displays in the Education Building features scenes created by 4-H groups in the state.
  • County Fair Best of Show Exhibit (Commercial & Education Building), where adult and junior Best of Show winning entries from fairs across the state are displayed.

Sights from the Flower ShowFirst Weekend: Oct. 13-16

I’m looking at heading over to the fair on October 15th to see an old favorite band from my youth, Firehouse. I might even break out my very old, err, vintage rocker gear to wear to the show! Wait, I think it’s time for a NC Handmade Trivia Question: What was the original name of Firehouse? The answer will be at the end of the post.

NC State Fair Homegrown Concert Series

Oct. 15 — Firehouse with The Fifth

Oct. 16 — The Summit Church featuring Kaimy Masse, Hank Murphy and Summit Worship

Oct. 17 — Jason Michael Carroll, Luke Combs, Stephanie Quayle

Oct. 18 — Orquesta GarDel

Oct. 19 — Nuv Yug Presents Bollywood Night

Oct. 20 — Black Sheep with Shadina

Oct. 21 — Band of Oz and The Embers

Oct. 22 — Wake Chapel Choir, Instrument of Praise Gospel Concert Chrale, Watts Chapel Gospel Choir

Oct. 23 — The Love Language

Oct. 24 — Charlie Daniels Band and Kasey Tyndall

Oct. 25 — Nantucket and Sidewinder

All concerts are free, but floor seating (closest to the stage) will require a ticket, which can be picked up beginning at 9 a.m. the day of the show at the Dorton Arena Box Office. There is a limit of six tickets per person and tickets will only be available for that day’s show. First-come, first-served seating will be available in the arena’s permanent seating section.

Doors will open at 6:15 p.m., with shows starting at 7:30.

INFO:

The N.C. State Fair runs Oct. 15-25. For more information, go to www.ncstatefair.org.

Discount tickets to the 2015 N.C. State Fair go on sale on Monday, Aug. 3, at 10 a.m.

Trivia Question Answer: Firehouse used to be called “White Heat.” I saw them play when I was a freshman in high school at the local community college.

A to Z North Carolina — Fun Facts about the Old North State

North Carolina is an amazing state and it is filled with facts. Some we knew, and others that we’re finding out daily. As much as we love North Carolina, we knew that if we were missing out on facts about the Old North State, we couldn’t be alone and created our A to Z guide about North Carolina.

Some letters will have more facts than others and we will be constantly updating this list. Did we miss something ? Send us an email at handmadenorthcarolina at gmail dot com.

A — Three hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail wind through the North Carolina mountains.

A — Albemarle Sound is the largest freshwater sound in the world.

B — The Biltmore Estate is America’s largest private home containing 250 rooms.

B — The Brown Mountain Lights are a mysterious, rare occurring light phenomenon happening on Brown Mountain near Burke County. (Lisa grew up about 45 minutes from this area and has seen them on quite a few occasions.)

B — Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Fayetteville on March 7, 1914.

C — North Carolina’s State Bird is the Cardinal

C — Clay is the state art medium

D — Our state flower is the Dogwood

E — Esse Quam Videri is our state motto and means “To be rather than to seem”

F — Fontana Dam is the tallest dam in the Eastern United States, at 480 feet high.

G — The Great Smokey Mountains National Park straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park.

G — Cabarrus County, North Carolina, was the site of America’s first gold rush.

H — Every year, on the third Saturday in June, the National Hollerin’ Contest takes place in Spivey’s Corner (population 49!) with the proceeds benefiting the Spivey’s Corner Volunteer Fire Department

I — Many people believe that North Carolina was the first state to declare independence from England with the Mecklenburg Declaration of 1775. It is celebrated every year with Meck Dec day.

J — Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Heads is the location of the naturally tallest sand dune in the world.

K — Krispy Kreme donuts were created in Winston-Salem.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

L — The Long Leaf Pine is our state tree

L — The Lost Colony of North Carolina is still a mystery. The only clue left was the word “Croatan” carved on a tree

M — Moravians were one of first settlers, creating what was “Old Salem” and is now “Winston-Salem”

M — Mount Mitchell is the tallest mountain in the eastern United States.

N — New Bern is the home of Pepsi. It was created there in 1898.

O — North Carolina’s state song is the “Old North State”, written in 1927.

P — We’re proud to call the Plott Hound our state dog.

North Carolina's official dog is the Plott Hound
By DTabCam (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

P — Pirates? Arr Matey! Blackbeard is one of history’s most legendary pirates of all time, and the coast of North Carolina, from Ocracoke Island to the small inland town of Bath, has the rare distinction of being his favorite plundering grounds, hideout, and home.

Q — The Queen Anne’s Revenge was the flagship of Blackbeard the Pirate. (Many thanks to our Twitter friend @SurfinPirate for helping us out here!)

R — Raleigh is our state capitol.

S — Seagrove was designated the state birthplace of traditional pottery by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2005.

S — North Carolina’s state fruit is the Scuppernong.

T — Did you know North Carolina has an official Tartan? Called the Carolina Tartan, it was designed in 1981 by Peter MacDonald of Crieff, Scotlan and registered with the Scottish Tartan Society in 1995.

U — The Unaka National Forest was established on February 24, 1920 by President Wilson. Unaka was formed by combining the White Top, Unaka and French Broad Purchase Units. Later land transfers divided it and now this picturesque region of fertile valleys and towering hills at the meeting place of three States—Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. E

V — Students in Wilson County petitioned the NCGA in 1995 to have the Sweet Potato declared our state vegetable

V — The first English child born in America, Virginia Dare, was born in Roanoke, North Carolina, in 1587.

V — The Linn Cove Viaduct located on the Blue Ridge Parkway is an international engineering marvel. The Viaduct was completed in 1987 at a cost of $10 million and was the last section of the Blue Ridge Parkway to be finished.

The Linn Cove Viaduct
By Haas, David, creator [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

W — North Carolina’s state wildflower is the “Carolina Lily”.

The Carolina Lily is North Carolina's state wildflower

W — Vollis Simpson created Whirligig’s at his home in North Carolina.

W — Whitewater Falls in Transylvania County, one of over 200 waterfalls in North Carolina, is the highest waterfall on the East Coast.

Y — Yonahlossee is the Cherokee word for “trail of the black bear.” In 1889 the Yonahlossee Trail was built by Hugh MacRae. This trail served as a toll road between Linville and Blowing Rock until the 1920s when it became part of the national highway system as US 221.

Z — The North Carolina Zoo is located in Asheboro, seated on a 2,200-acre tract of land in the Uwharrie Mountains. Approximately 500 acres of this property have been developed into one of the largest “natural habitat” zoos in the United States.

GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World {Summer Adventure List}

Discovery Place science museum in Charlotte, NC, will always be one of my favorite places to visit in the Queen City. They consistently bring top tier exhibits to our area and I try to attend each one. I was more than pretty excited when they sent me an invitation for GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World. I am an audiophile whose family is filled with musicians (bluegrass) and quite a few of my friends gig professionally in bands.

This traveling exhibit is truly one for every age group. GUITAR explores the history of the world’s most recognized musical instrument in this fully immersive exhibition that showcases nearly 100 historical artifacts, including more than 60 guitars. It has made my Summer Adventure List, not just because of the historical and scientific significance, also because so many schools are cutting funding for music eduction. (And if you know me and Ilina, you know how important education is to us.)

GUITAR: The Instrument that Rocked the World #HandmadeNC

When I walked in, it was wall to wall stringed instruments, along with performance video and audio, as well as hands-on interactive displays. I headed straight over to learn about guitar strings and after strumming each type, now realize why metal strings are preferred over plastic or catgut. The sound is so much better and the tone is clean and pure.

Science and Guitars

But Discovery Place is a science museum, why would they have this exhibit? Because so much of music and guitars have their basis in science. The human brain is uniquiely wired to remember musical patterns better than a series of numbers or letters. Researchers have found that seven times (i.e. numbers, facts, letters, etc.) are about the maximum that most people can keep in their memory. The exception to this is music. Much of popular music is built on riffs, which are groupings of notes that are repeated throughout a song. Our mental ability to embrace musical patterns allows us to remember long riffs when we can’t remember that many numbers.

Electric guitars also rely on electromagnetism to produce sound. Each electric guitar has a mechanism called a pickup that converts the mechanical energy of a vibrating string to an electrical signal, allowing it to be amplified, processed and reproduced. When the magnetic field of the pickup is disrupted by the vibration of a metal string, it creates a current in the copper wire. The current is transmitted through another wire to potentiometers, which are often used as tone and volume controls. The potentiometers, controlled by the knobs, adjust the frequencies in the signal that control volume and tone — just like a dimmer switch that adjusts the level of light from a bulb.

Sound can be measured. Sound waves move through the air, which creates pressure. The speed of sound is around 343 meters per second. You hear noises because your ears respond to this pressure. Decibels are the units for measuring sound pressure, just like the inches are units for measuring length. One a decibel scale, the louder the sound, the higher the number decibels. Zero decibels is the softest sound that can be hears and 194 decibels is the loudest sound that can be created.

Highlights of GUITAR

One of the highlights of the exhibit is the world’s largest playable guitar, a 2,255 pound, 16 foot wide and 43.5 feet long replica of the Gibson Flying V. This Flying V was prototyped in 1957 and released into production in 1958. The list of well-known musicians who have played the Flying V range from Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Stanley of Kiss, and Eddie Van Halen, to name a few.

Other iconic instruments include the Rock Ock, the world’s only playable 8-neck guitar; a PRS Dragon guitar inlaid with 238 pieces of gold, red and green abalone, mother of pearl and the ivory of a wooly mammoth; a Ztar Z7S synthesizer guitar with a button for every fret and string (204 in total); and early Fender Gibson, Ovation and Martin Guitars that date as far back as 1806.

In the hands-on gallery, you can:

• Strum the world’s largest playable guitar, a 43-foot long replica of a Gibson Flying V
• Test your musical memory by playing challenge riffs on a virtual fretboard
• Bang out a beat on a variety of wood types. Which sounds the best?
• “Freeze” a vibrating string using a strobe light
• Design your own dream guitar

The rare instrument exhibit includes over 60 remarkable instruments such as:

• Early Fender, Gibson, Ovation, and Martin guitars (from circa 1835 to present)
• A Ztar Z7S synthesizer guitar with a button for every fret and string – 204 in all
• The Rock Ock, the only playable guitar with 8 necks
• A stunning PRS Dragon guitar inlayed with 238 pieces of gold, red and green abalone; mother of pearl; and woolly mammoth ivory
• Guitars with outrageous paint jobs and shapes designed for rockers like ​Steve Vai

Visit: 

Plan you visit to Discovery Place. GUITAR will be on exhibit from May 30, 2015 – September 7, 2015 and is covered by regular museum admission fees.

The following artists, manufacturers, luthiers, and collectors have provided instruments, information, and/or support to the collection: 

  • Steve Vai
  • Joe Bonamassa
  • Liona Boyd
  • Vic Flick
  • Johnny Winter
  • Adrian Belew
  • C.F. Martin and Company
  • Fender Musical Instruments
  • Pete Brown
  • David Hill/Nina Riccio
  • Phantom Guitarworks
  • EKO
  • National Reophonic
  • The Electrical Guitar Company
  • Dan Larson
  • Rich Maloof
  • PRS Guitars
  • Danser Guitar Works
  • Visionary Intruments
  • Starr Labs
  • XOX
  • Cochran Guitars

Six-String Saturdays at Discovery Place:

This summer, Discovery Place is activating Tryon Street with Six String Saturdays, a free music series featuring genres including jazz, pop, rock, sitar, Celtic, country, bluegrass and folk.

Enjoy live music on the patio near our N. Tryon St. entrance every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. (unless otherwise noted). No Museum admission necessary.

May 30 – A Sign of the Times Duo: Van Sachs and Toni Tupponce
June 6 – Sabra Callas
June 13 – School of Rock
June 20 – SITAR from Festival of India by Amrita
June 27 – Shana Blake & Keith Shamel
July 4 – Kevin Jones & Joe Allen
July 11 – School of Rock
July 18 – Tom Billotto
July 25 – Alan Barrington
August 1 – Back Creek Bluegrass Boys
August 8 – School of Rock
August 15 – Bassments
August 22 – The High Ridge Pickers (2:00 p.m.) / Hannah Case (3:30 p.m.)
August 29 – J. L. Davis Duo
September 5 – A Sign of the Times Duo: Van Sachs and Toni Tupponce

Related links:

Summer Adventure List 2015  

April is International Guitar Month -North Carolina Edition 

Summer Adventure List 2015

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The best part of working for myself is the flexibility. Hands down. No other benefit or paycheck could trump that. I have the luxury to be home with my sons after school and manage my work to suit to their summer schedules. For a few years now we’ve had a family “summer adventure list.” I guess you might it’s become a thing. As we hear about places throughout the year we take note of something that is summer adventure worthy. There are no rules for our summer adventures, but free is always a good thing. We stick to local spots or venture off on day trips.

Here’s what’s in store for this summer:

Nasher Art Museum

Duke Gardens

The Lily Pond at Duke Gardens in Raleigh, NC

Conservators Center

Greenway walking trails

Historic Stagville

Horton_Grove

Town Creek Indian Mound

Town Creek Indian Mound #HandmadeNC

Scratch Bakery and Rise Donuts taste test

Duke Lemur Center

Movies (AC and entertainment…perfect for rainy days or sweltering afternoons)

Used book stores

Mt. Airy

Walking tour in downtown Raleigh to photograph public art

Photography scavenger hunt

Golf (mini as well as the real deal)

Tennis

Exercise together

Paint our interpretations from some of our favorite works at the Nc Museum of Art

Arcade (Last summer we drove to Greensboro in search of an old school arcade, only to arrive in the parking lot and realize it had closed.)

Garland, NC (Top of our list is lunch at Southern Smoke! We also want to check out the Curiosity Shop and Brooks Brothers outlet.)

Abundance Foundation

Durham Bulls and Mudcats baseball

Indoor skydiving

Where will your summer adventures take you?