Longtime fair attendees will tend to agree, Heritage Circle at the N.C. State Fair is one of the best kept secrets at the fair. Fairgoers will find restored log cabins, plenty of sitting areas, a working tobacco barn and the State Fair blacksmiths hard at work. The area proves to be a relaxing respite from the frenetic midway and busy exhibit halls.
The Bluegrass Music Stage in Heritage Circle features bluegrass bands and adds to the charm and character, while giving North Carolina artists a time to shine in front of their current fans and make new ones. One of the 11 groups playing on the stage this year is Raleigh-based band Into The Fog, which won the band competition at Merle Fest last month.
Into The Fog’s style of music is commonly referred to as newgrass, which is progressive bluegrass. The style expands on the traditional bluegrass standard format by adding elements of rock and other genres of music. Like bluegrass, newgrass is played on traditional instruments including fiddle, guitar, mandolin and upright bass.
“We love traditional bluegrass,” said band member Winston Mitchell. “Our songs combine elements of bluegrass with other musical genres. Fans of bluegrass will enjoy the sets, and fans of other genres could recognize some of the songs we cover.”
Mitchell, along with other band members Brian Stephenson, Derek Lane and Will Maxwell, is excited about their time playing the N.C. State Fair.
“I grew up listening to rock-n-roll but I have grown into a love of bluegrass,” said Mitchell, who credits his dad as his biggest influence when introducing him to the bluegrass style of music. “On Sundays we would always listen to the Pinecone Bluegrass Show on the radio.”
Mitchell grew up coming to the N.C. State Fair. This year he will have the opportunity to combine a fun visit with a band gig when Into The Fog takes the stage on Tuesday, Oct. 18.
“When I was younger it was the rides that I loved at the fair, especially the Gravitron,” said Mitchell. “Now it’s primarily the food I come for, especially elephant ears and turkey legs.”
Check out Into The Fog on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. At their sets, the band will sell cds of their latest album released in May, Runnin’ Blind and Chasin’ Time. For a complete schedule of performers, go to http://www.ncstatefair.org/2021/Attractions/HomegrownMusic.htm.