Merrie Go Round is the midway alter-ego of Andrea Ashby, who has officially spent 252 days during the past 24 years at the N.C. State Fair. That's perfect attendance in case you were wondering. In addition to promoting the Fair, looking for untold Fair stories and working on various special events, I also spend a great deal of time roaming the grounds taking photos for the Website and State Fair publications. I like to keep my eyes and ears posted for the unusual and different things that make the State Fair such a great celebration of North Carolina people, traditions and history. I look forward to sharing with you the things I come across on my journey.

Beaten, but not out

The Demolition Derby at the N.C. State Fair wrapped up its final bone-crunching heats tonight and we have names of the drivers who were the last ones standing, i.e. THE WINNERS.In the 4-cylinder feature heat, Tony Camptella of Raleigh finished first in the Moonshine Express, after eliminating Jimmy Goodman of Topsail Beach who drove the number 121 car. In the 6-cylinder feature heat, Ricky Cooke of Jamestown knocked out Jimmy Goodman of Topsail Beach for bragging rights. In the 8-cylinder feature heat, Chris Lane of Goldsboro beat out fellow Goldsboro driver Donald Stokes for first place. And finally, in the…

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Oh I wish I was …

Yep, that’s right. The Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile is at the N.C. State Fair.We think it would be great fun to have the Big Cart race the “big hot dog,” but the logistics would just be too difficult to work out. So we’ll just have to live with our own mental image of that “race.” Anyway … I digress.Fairgoers coming today or Friday can peek inside the hot-dog shaped vehicle that sees plenty of road time going from event to event. Can you imagine riding down Interstate 40 and getting passed by a hot dog in a bun on wheels?According…

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Last day for “The People” to make their choice in the Farm Animal Frenzy contest

I Want You (to vote)! That could very well be the call going out from high school art programs to friends, families and anybody else who gets the message. We are in the final day of voting for the People’s Choice Award winner in the Farm Animal Frenzy contest. Voting closes at midnight tonight. The highly decorated animals that are part of the Farm Animal Frenzy competition between high school art programs have been good ambassadors for the Fair and for the schools. They attract plenty of attention on the grounds and elicit plenty of smiles. Some schools have been…

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Artist Profile: Bucky Covington

For the past couple of years we’ve had plenty of home-grown talent as part of the entertainment line-up in Dorton Arena. In 2007, fans were treated to performances by North Carolina natives Kellie Pickler and Chris Daughtry. In 2004, Raleigh’s own Clay Aiken performed, followed by High Point’s Fantasia Barrino in 2005. This year, fellow American Idol alum and N.C. native Bucky Covington will bring his country-rock sound to the Fair on Tuesday, Oct. 21. Covington’s performance will draw plenty of family and friends from Rockingham, according to Bucky’s dad, Gene. We caught up with Gene at the family business…

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Jason Aldean, etc.

So I’m watching CMT this morning and I start noticing that they keep playing songs by performers coming to the N.C. State Fair this year. It started with “Lookin’ for a Good Time” by Lady Antebellum, then “Johnny and June” by Heidi Newfield, followed by”Relentless” by Jason Aldean. In fact, a quick search of CMT’s Top 20 Countdown for the week of Oct. 3 features four State Fair acts. Montgomery Gentry comes in at #19 with “Roll With Me,” Jason Aldean is at #18, Lady Antebellum is at #17 and Heidi Newfield is at #11. Speaks well for the lineup…

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Out and About

Keep your eyes peeled for sightings of this year’s green and purple tie-dye State Fair T-shirts around town. We gave away around 50 shirts at our Triangle Town Center Mall event Thursday, Oct. 2. Don’t worry there are still plenty left for anyone hoping to score one of these ultra-fabulous T-shirts.)While we were at the mall, we filmed more than a dozen people for the Pants Dance Revolution contest. What, you say, is the Pants Dance Revolution contest? Click on the link above and check it out. You can vote for your favorite dancer so far or record and post…

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Catching up with Keith King

What do your favorite State Fair entertainers do during the other 354 days of the year? For many, traveling the country performing is a full-time gig, and it seems like a good way to make a living.We caught up recently with Keith King, owner of the King BMX Stunt Show http://www.bmxbikestuntshows.com/, and the person responsible for the high-flying thrill show in the Grandstand for the past nine years.Keith is a Durham native, who works full-time entertaining crowds with fancy flatland bicycle riding and outrageous ramped-up jumps. The bike stunt show marks its 10th anniversary at the State Fair and the…

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