Blue ribbon dress inspired by 1982 movie Flight of the Dragon

Nina McManus of Durham makes costumes because it makes her happy. This year her hobby resulted in a first-place win in the garment sewn by adult competition at the N.C. State Fair.

This is McManus’ third year entering the fair. “The first year I didn’t win,” she said. ‘last year I won a blue ribbon in the knitting competition. I was super confident that I would win something with this costume until I actually brought it to the fair, then all the confidence I was feeling turned into doubt.” McManus actually did a happy dance in the Education Building, to the delight of exhibit workers, when she arrive Thursday afternoon to and saw her costume proudly displayed with a blue ribbon.

McManus plans to wear her costume for the Renaissance Faire in Huntersville in 2024 and 2025. “The costume is reversible,” she explained. “The red side I have named Ommadonna. It is the female interpretation of the wizard Ommadon in the 1982 movie Flight of the Dragon.” Reversed, the costume is Carolina, her female interpretation of the green wizard Carolinus from the same movie.

“The joy for me is more in the making than the wearing of costumes,” said McManus. “I get bit by the idea bug and that is what inspires the costumes I make.” The Albemarle native learned to sew at age 10. She moved to Raleigh to attend Meredith College and never left the area. McManus currently works for Blue Cross Blue Shield.

On your visit to the fair you can see McManus’ prize winning creation in the Education Building, a little ways down from the decorated cakes. Exhibit workers have a booklet they can share that shows her design process. Congratulations to McManus on her first place finish!

Artwork was created by Ophelialilly – Instagram @glasprism.

About Funhouse

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!

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