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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.

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 

Roundup: Memorial Day Events in North Carolina

Memorial Day honors the sacrifices of those who have served in our military. There are many events held every Memorial Day weekend, and we’re rounding up those happening in North Carolina to make it easier for you to find the events being held on Monday, May 25th, in your town.

  • Celebrate Memorial Day, sponsored by Hope Baptist Church, will feature free North Carolina barbecue, military vehicle rides, live music, a children’s obstacle course, parades and more. This free event is open to the public, rain or shine, at 3721 Quarry Road, outside Wake Forest. Event schedule runs from 9 a.m. to 4:15 pm. Website: www.celebratememorialday.com.
  • The American Legion Post 67, in Cary will hold their annual service from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Hillcrest Cemetery, 600 Page St. Participants are invited to bring lawn chairs. For information, call 919-481-4811 or email carylegion67@aol.com.
  • Johnston County Courthouse has a ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. at the at Market and Second streets in downtown Smithfield. Mike Wegman, a retired U.S. Navy officer, will speak. He teaches naval science at Smithfield-Selma High School.
  • A wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial on the north lawn of the State Capitol in Raleigh begins at 10:45 a.m. with music by the St. Francis Brass Quintet followed by bagpiper Robert White at 11:20 a.m. and the invocation, advancement of colors and the “Star-Spangled Banner” at 11:30 a.m. Speaker is retired Marine Maj. Gen. Cornell A. Wilson Jr. Sponsored by The Tar Heel Detachment No. 733 of the Marine Corps League.
  • The Heartland Hospice Memorial Fund will sponsor a Community Memorial Day Service at noon at Raleigh Memorial Park, 7501 Glenwood Ave. There will be refreshments and a balloon release. For details, contact Kristin Lassiter at 919-877-9959
  • Garner will hold its annual Memorial Day observance at 1:30 p.m. at Lake Benson Park (921 Buffalo Road) near the Garner Veterans Memorial. Free to the public.
  • A remembrance by the Town of Cary is 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Veterans Freedom Park, 1513 N. Harrison Ave. Attendees are invited to bring chairs. Parking will be available at Cary Academy across the street. A free shuttle will take guests from the parking lot to Veterans Freedom Park. For information, call 919-469-4061 or search “Veterans Freedom Park Events” at www.townofcary.org
  • The Veterans for Peace will host Memorial Day reflections with poetry, prose and song at 7 p.m. at the Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth St., Durham. Free. Speakers include B.J. Freeman, Dale Herman, John Heuer, Joe Moran, the Raging Grannies, Barry Reese, Ahmed Selim, Jim Senter, Douglas Ryder, Vicki Ryder and Sam Winstead. Get more information at 585-314-1413 or peace5942@gmail.com.
  • The annual Memorial Day Concert and Ceremony in Asheville will begin at 2:30 p.m. on the Roger McGuire Green stage of Pack Square Park.
  • The Asheville Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Department will present a Memorial Day Pool-a-Palooza from 12-6 p.m. at the Recreation Park Pool on 75 Gashes Creek Rd.  Celebrate with music, swimming, pool contests, special recognitions, and fun.  General admission is $3. Active and non-active military personnel are FREE with a military I.D. and the first 50 military personnel will receive a Memorial Day goody bag. Contact Randy Shaw at 828-259-5483, or rshaw@ashevillenc.gov for more information.
  • Birkdale Village will hold its annual Memorial Day celebration starting at 7 p.m. Monday. The celebration will include performances by Central Piedmont Community College’s Chorus, a flag-folding ceremony by North Mecklenburg High School’s Junior ROTC, and more. Joseph Reale, senior commander for American Legion Post 321, will speak as the honored guest. Details: www.charlotteonthecheap.com.
  • Gaston Memorial Park and Carothers Funeral Homes will host their annual Memorial Day program, presented by the Gaston County Veterans Council at 10 a.m. Monday. There will be a performance by the Gaston Symphonic Band with ice cream for all veterans and their families at 1200 S. New Hope Road.
  • There will be an open house at the American Military Museum located at 109 W. Second Ave in Gastonia, N.C. For details visit: www.dignitymemorial.com
  • Lake Park in Union County will host its second annual Memorial Day ceremony 11 a.m. to noon Monday at Veterans Pond, 3708 Faith Church Road. Jason Braase of the Wounded Warrior Project will be this year’s keynote speaker. A presentation of colors will be performed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2423 Color Guard. Details: www.members.unioncountycoc.com.
  • The Parade of Veterans will kick off Kannapolis’ Memorial Day ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Monday, beginning at the corner of Laureate Way and Main Street, ending at Veterans Park. The event is hosted by the Beaver-Pittman American Legion Post 115. Norris Dearmon of the Kannapolis Historical Committee will be the guest speaker. Details: 704-920-4311.
  • On Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, at 5:45 pm, people of all generations from across the State will gather together on the deck of the USS North Carolina Battleship to pay their respects. Duke Ladd Music will be performing military and patriotic arrangements. The Battleship is honored this year to have guest speakers Major General Gregory A. Lusk, Adjutant General, North Carolina National Guard, and Senator Richard Burr. The Executive Director of the Battleship, Captain Terry A. Bragg and members of the USS NORTH CAROLINA Battleship Commission invite the public to this free event.
  • The Thomasville Memorial Day Parade and Celebration will begin with a parade at 10 am at the Big Chair on the corner of Main and Salem Streets. This event features 100 American flags in formation and the Army Ground Forces Band. The procession will continue to Memorial Park and Cushwa Stadium. NC Lt. Governor Dan Forrest will speak at 12:30 p.m. The Special Forces Association Parachute Team will jump at 1:15 pm, at 1:30 p.m. there will be presentations, ending with Taps and a gun salute at 2 p.m.. For more information call 336-472-4422
  • The Union County Memorial Day Ceremony and Vietnam Killed In Action Memorial Dedication will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Veterans Memorial park, located at 322 Veterans Drive in Union.