On the blog I go by Fun House (AKA Heather Overton). At the Fair you'll find me checking out the blue ribbon winners or hanging out in Heritage Circle. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite part of the Fair, but I can tell you one thing I hate - leaving it on the last day. I can't wait for opening day!

Behind the scenes: Judging the Peanut Dessert Contest

Opening day brought the very first special cooking contest, the N.C. Peanut Growers Association Peanut Dessert Contest. As a fan of peanuts and desserts I was up for the challenge when the call came into the press office for a last minute judge. Twenty-six desserts, with a half-cup or more of peanuts included in the ingredients, were entered into the competition. Our team of three judges tried 13 desserts and picked our top three. Another team of three judges tried the other 13 and picked their top three as well. Then we all judged the top six to pick the…

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Behind the scenes: The sweet taste of competition at the State Fair

Judging took place Wednesday afternoon in the honey competition at the fair. Bob Wellemeyer, an apiary inspector for the Virgina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, talked with us about what goes into judging a jar of honey. Honey is judged on moisture content, absence of crystals, cleanliness, flavor, uniformity and container appearance. In fact, honey is disqualified if it’s moisture content is more than 18.6 percent. “High moisture will cause honey to ferment,” said Wellemeyer.  “It will be runny, watery and might have a sour smell.” A refractometer is used to measure the moisture content of the honey. Honey…

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Canstruction is Complete

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, in this case,  imitation serves a greater purpose. The Canstruction team finished building a 10-foot tall and 20-foot wide replica of Dorton Arena in the Exposition Center Lobby. The project, sponsored by GEICO and Harris Teeter, used about 13,000 total food goods, including Jello boxes, canned goods and water bottles in construction. After the fair, the food will be donated to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. The International Association of Fairs and Expos challenged members to collect food for people in need in their communities as part…

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It’s the Giant Pumpkin!

Earlier this morning the giant pumpkin arrived at the Exposition Center for its 11-day reign over the  N.C. State Fair horticultural exhibits. This 799.6-pound pumpkin belongs to  Jack and  Pat Bacheler of Clayton.  Jack planted the pumpkin in June and spent about and hour and a half a day six days a week training the vines to form the root system needed to support a pumpkin of this size. The pumpkin was certified two weeks ago at the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival in Elkin.  If no other larger pumpkins come in, the Bacheler’s will take home the $300 prize money…

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Ready. Set. Bring your entries!

Entries started going into place today for several competitive-exhibit departments at the fair. Potential prize-winners dropped off their artwork, woodwork, prized quilts and other entries that will be judged before the fair’s opening on Thursday, Oct. 17. Entries are up 43 percent this year, with the largest increase in the flower and garden department, followed by the 4-H and beer departments.    

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Artist Spotlight: Who’s Bad, the Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band

Dust off your moon-walking shoes and glide on in to Dorton Arena on Thursday, Oct. 24, for Who’s Bad, the Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band. Who’s Bad is the longest-running Michael Jackson tribute band and the only one to predate Jackson’s untimely passing in 2009. Although I might date myself to admit this, as a child I had a white glove keychain and listened to the new Michael Jackson “Thriller” album over and over on my pink cassette player. I liked the catchy lyrics and awesome beat. Even as a child, I knew Michael Jackson was a legend. I think…

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Weekend Update: Aug. 16-18

Cowboys, boat enthusiasts and parents looking for a great deal on items for their children will fill the Fairgrounds this weekend under cooler skies which will also be perfect for visiting the flea market. The Double L Bar Cowboy Mounted Shooters event will be held on Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. at the Hunt Horse Complex. This show features riders dressed in period and contemporary western costumes. Riders will shoot balloons from their galloping horses in the main arena with six guns, rifles and shotguns using safety blanks. This thrilling competition combines shooting skills with horsemanship against the…

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Blue ribbon by proxy: youth competitions at the fair

Every year, I look at the ribbon winners at the fair with a mix of admiration and envy. With thousands of categories, including flower arranging, painting, vegetable growing, sewing, canning and cake decorating, you would think I could be a prize winner in one. But, sadly, I don’t bake, can or sew. I attempted to grow a watermelon once and ended up with just a long vine, not even close to what I needed to win as the fair’s largest. As much as I love the State Fair, blue ribbons don’t seem like a reasonable goal for me. My children…

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Weekend Update: Aug. 10-11

Brides-to-be and bargain hunters will find plenty as the Fairgrounds hosts the Southern Bridal Show and Expo and its usual weekend flea market. The Southern Bridal Show and Expo will be held in the Jim Graham Building on Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  You will meet 150 Triangle wedding experts and enjoy wedding fashion previews featuring the latest trends in wedding wear.  This show promises to be the ultimate wedding one-stop shopping with fun, food and fashion previews every hour.  Admission is $10 per person, and children age 12 and under are admitted free. The Raleigh Flea…

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The August Early Bird gets the deal

State Fair tickets go on sale tomorrow and for those of you who buy early, you’ll have the best chance for good seats to a concert and get the added bonus of scoring free tickets to the fair. The August Early Bird Special runs only for the month of August and it allows ticket buyers to earn up to three free adult admission tickets based on the total purchase amount in a single order before convenience fees. Planning to spend between $60 and $120? You earn one free ticket. Purchases between $120.01 and $220 earn two free tickets, and purchases…

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