A tree that moves, a family that soars and a man who is his own four-piece band. These are just some of the new attractions awaiting visitors to the 2012 N.C. State Fair, Oct. 11-21 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds.
“From agricultural exhibits to midway attractions, there’s something for everyone at the North Carolina State Fair,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “It’s no surprise that we’ve seen more than a million people come to the fair the past two years.”
There’s free entertainment, according to Sarah Ray, public information officer. Ray says several new entertainers will join the lineup of free performances, musical acts and roaming entertainment available at the fair, including the Kenya Safari Acrobats. The troupe, founded by Kenya natives living in Greensboro, combines action, acrobatics and antics into a high-energy show. Another new performance is Jim Cruise the Spoon Man. Cruise will wow crowds at the Kiddieland Stage with his daily spoon-playing shows.
New musical performers take to the Kitchencraft Waterfall Stage on the Dorton Arena lawn. Reality Show Band brings a mix of contemporary and classic chart-toppers to the stage each day except Military Appreciation Day, Oct. 17.
Louisburg native and country musician Larry Frick takes the stage the last weekend of the fair, Oct. 18-21. On the Bluegrass Stage, fairgoers can sit down and enjoy the sounds of Larry Cordle. The Kentucky native will perform original bluegrass songs daily.
Ray also says fairgoers should be on the lookout for two new roaming acts. Marc Dobson, the One Man Band, will roam the grounds daily. Equipped with a mechanized drum set, guitar, harmonica and microphone, Dobson will perform popular songs to the delight of the crowd. At the Flower and Garden Show, the Tree of Life makes rounds and interacts with visitors alongside last year’s crowd-pleaser, DiVine, the living vine.
Exhibits include the Village of Yesteryear, a staple of the fair for more than 60 years, according to Ray. This year there are several new artists in the exhibit of crafters and artisans. The artists include Chris Morgan of Selma, wet plate photography; Jeri Buek of Hendersonville, wool appliqué, punch needle and penny rugs; Larry and Beth Lytle of Old Fort, cold process lye soap; William and Pamela Kennedy of Seagrove, crystalline pottery; Mary Phillips of Gatlinburg, Tenn., pressed wildflowers; Patricia Tierney of Raleigh, seed bead weaving; and Jim Huskins of Marion, handcrafted guitars, banjos and mandolins.
This year, the Cultivate a Career exhibit digs deeper into the breadth of agriculture-related careers. Local craft brewers and coffee producers are just some of the professionals that will be on hand during the fair to answer questions and offer advice for those interested in pursuing a career in agriculture. In addition, the American Chemical Society will give presentations on an expanded stage within the exhibit.
A mobile dairy classroom will set up near the Expo Center for daily milking demonstrations. The traveling milking parlor, operated by Southwest Dairy Farmers, will include information on the modern milking process, cow anatomy and the nutritional benefits of dairy foods.
On the Midway Powers Great American Midways will add two new rides to its lineup of carnival attractions on the midway. The rides, Rock Star and Genesis, can each hold more than 20 passengers at a time. Each ride features a rotating arm, which lifts seated riders into the air in a clockwise motion. The N.C. State Fair boasts more than 100 carnival rides.
Ray recommends fairgoers consider taking public transportation which can be a stress-free and convenient option for visiting the fairgrounds. Those coming from North Raleigh will notice a new park-and-ride location this year. The new North Raleigh CAT bus will leave from the former Westinghouse Building at 2728 Capital Blvd., Raleigh.
The N.C. State Fair is at the N.C. State Fairgrounds Oct. 11-21. Discount tickets are available online. Adult tickets are $6 in advance, $8 at the gate. Children’s tickets are $2 in advance or $3 at the gate. Children under 6 and seniors 65 and older get in free. Fairgoers can earn up to three free adult admission tickets by taking advantage of the Early Bird Special through Sept. 26. Ride sheets also can be purchased in advance for $10 for a sheet of 18 tickets. For more information on this year’s fair, or to buy tickets, go to ncstatefair.org .