A Longtime N.C. State Fair Fan is Ready to Taste the State’s Best Chili in the 2022 Home Chef Challenge

Bowl of chili

For 11 days each October, the N.C. State Fairgrounds turns into a delicious culinary playground. This season, the North Lobby of the Dorton Arena will have the sensational aromas of home chefs cooking their best recipes in hopes of winning $500 and bragging rights in the 2022 Home Chef Challenge.  Raeford resident Dewayne Smith has attended the N.C. State Fair for 35 years. This season he is ready to chow down on homemade chili as one of the panel judges for The Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-Off presented by Carolina Cooker.  When Smith read about the contest in the…

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How a Notorious Doodler Turned Her Doodling Into Functional Wood Burning Art

Martin Birdhouse with Sunflower Design by Jeanette Egan

One of the most popular exhibits at the N.C. State Fair is the Village of Yesteryear. More than 75 crafters dressed in period clothing will spend eleven-hour exciting days educating fair visitors in this “working-artist” interactive exhibit that features traditional heritage handcrafts. Jeanette Egan, who specializes in pyrography and woodburning, will make her Village of Yesteryear debut this October. “I’m in awe to be part of the Village of Yesteryear this year. This is a fabulous opportunity to be able to educate others on the art of wood burning,” said Puerto-Rican artist Jeanette Egan, a descendant of the Taino Boriken…

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Military Appreciation Day celebrates and honors the brave men and women who serve

Paying tribute to the men and women of the U.S. Military and honoring their service has been the goal of the N.C. State Fair’s Military Appreciation Day since 2006. In 2014, a Military Appreciation Day Parade was held for the first time and today, it continues to be one of the best parts of the day’s events. This year, the parade features an impressive lineup including the N.C. National Guard’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle, N.C. A&T Cold Steel Drumline, Athens Drive High School Marching Band, Casey Cardinal, Carolina Hurricanes mascot Stormy, Smokey Bear, an extensive collection of antique tractors and more…

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New assistant manager has deep roots in agricultural fairs; brings a passion for ag education to the job

The N.C. State Fair’s new assistant manager Robert Fogle is new to North Carolina, but definitely not to agricultural fairs. The native of Frederick, Maryland grew up showing animals at his local fair through 4-H and FFA programs, gaining a love for agricultural education along the way. Fogle, 51, showed dairy goats, market lambs and beef cattle. Today, he and his family still raise Dorper and Shropshire sheep, which are now shown by his nieces. Those early experiences instilled many life lessons and left Fogle with a fondness for agricultural fairs, so he is not surprised he has ended up…

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The Kennedy Family has a fair devotion to swine

Brian and Sherry Kennedy of Duplin County are devoted N.C. State fairgoers. Not only do they pack up the family to attend the annual State Fair, but they are keen livestock competitors, especially when it comes to showing swine. Brian Kennedy’s passion for livestock started at a young age. “My life has always been ingrained in agriculture. Growing up, I was a part of FFA. At first, I started by showing steers and heifers and then moved into swine showmanship.” Brian is the finishing production manager at Prestage Farms where he has worked since 1991. His job at Prestage Farms,…

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In-person Interns are back: Meet Sweet Potato

Katie Hubbard

Hi, I’m Katie, recently nicknamed Sweet Potato by my fun and loving coworkers here at the Department of Agriculture. I am so lucky to be the first in-person intern since 2019; I was even granted my own ultra mini desk. (I’m only kidding), it’s wonderful here, and I can’t wait to become part of such a memorable event. A little bit about me, I’m a rising junior at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I am studying Communications with a concentration in media, technology, and production. Before starting college, I grew up in Wilkesboro, a rural farm-loving town at the foothills of the…

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“Ag”vocating for the Industry at Williams Produce Farm

Leah

The Young Farmer of the Day program is a new addition to the Got To Be N.C. Festival. The program, sponsored by Farm Credit, recognizes three young farmers who work hard everyday to impact our state’s agriculture industry & blaze the trail for a strong future. Individuals either nominated themselves or were nominated by members of the community. One young farmer will be recognized each day of the Got To Be N.C. Festival, taking place May 20-22, 2022 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds! For over 100 years, the Williams family has been growing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables…

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Roots run deep at Andrews Tree Farm & Nursery

Landon

The Young Farmer of the Day program is a new addition to the Got To Be N.C. Festival. The program, sponsored by Farm Credit, recognizes three young farmers who work hard everyday to impact our state’s agriculture industry & blaze the trail for a strong future. Individuals either nominated themselves or were nominated by members of the community. One young farmer will be recognized each day of the Got To Be N.C. Festival, taking place May 20-22, 2022 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds! Andrews Tree Farm & Nursery in Sparta has been providing high-quality Christmas trees to the community since…

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Six generations of community centered agriculture at Powers Strawberries & Market

Family photo

The Young Farmer of the Day program is a new addition to the Got To Be N.C. Festival. The program, sponsored by Farm Credit, recognizes three young farmers who work hard everyday to impact our state’s agriculture industry & blaze the trail for a strong future. Individuals either nominated themselves or were nominated by members of the community. One young farmer will be recognized each day of the Got To Be N.C. Festival, taking place May 20-22, 2022 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds! Powers Strawberries and Farm Market in Lumberton has been a staple in the community for six generations!…

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New fairgrounds police chief settling in just in time for GTBNC festival

The N.C. State Fair has a new police chief who’s just getting settled into the job in time for the Got to Be NC Festival. Anthony “Tony” Prignano started on April 25. Technically, his job title is Public Safety and Security Chief, and it’s a shift from his decades of work in the Durham County Sheriff’s Office. “When I retired from the sheriff’s office in March at age 53, I didn’t want to just quit working,” Prignano said. “I’ve been in in law enforcement for nearly 30 years. It’s not just something that leaves your blood. When it comes to…

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