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.)
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.