Busy, fun weekend planned at the State Fairgrounds

It’s gonna be a full house at the State Fairgrounds this weekend, with plenty for everyone in the family to find something to do. Let’s take a quick trip around the Fairgrounds to get a feel for what’s going on. Or if you want, download a map from the Got to Be NC Festival Web site.  (Dates and times vary, so visit the respective Web sites to double check times.)

Here’s your all-encompassing list for this weekend’s events:

NC Pig Jig / Mason’s BBQ Cooking Championship (Sat)  – beside the Expo Center
Teams of Masons will have cooked whole pigs, pork shoulders and even chickens overnight to win bragging rights as the best Q cookers in the state. And you’re the winner! From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., adults pay $10 to sample as much BBQ as they can hold, and kids under 12 eat free. All the money raised at this event will go to support the two Masonic homes for children in Oxford, N.C. www.ncagfest.com

Classic Car Show Roundup (Fri) and Harley Davidson Show (Sat) – Dorton Arena
Display your classic car or just come check out these vintage cars at the Classic Car Round-up Friday evening from 5 p.m. until about 8 p.m. If you’re bringing your car (1979 or older), plan on arriving between noon and 4 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. On Saturday, a huge group of Harley riders will parade from Ray Price Harley-Davidson on South Saunders Street in Raleigh with a police escort and arrive at the fairgrounds around 11:30 a.m. Bikes will then park in Dorton Arena for you to browse and enjoy.  www.rayprice.com

Got to Be NC Food Expo (Fri – Sun) – Exposition Building
Sauces, wines, candies, meats, nuts, snacks, beverages and more from producers across North Carolina will be available for sample and purchase from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  www.ncagfest.com

Entertainment on the Triangle Stage (Fri-Sun) – Food Lion Picnic Grounds in front of the Expo Building
Steve McGranahan proves why he is the World’s Strongest Redneck, North Tower performs oldies and beach music and Edsel 500 croons rockabilly and bluegrass tunes. See the complete schedule below. www.ncagfest.com

Friday & Sunday
11:30 a.m. – Steve McGranahan
noon – North Tower
2:30 p.m. – Steve McGranahan
3 p.m. – North Tower
5:30 p.m. – Steve McGranahan
6 p.m. – North Tower
11:30 a.m. – Steve McGranahan
noon – Edsel 500
2:30 p.m. – Steve McGranahan
3 p.m. – Edsel 500
5:30 p.m. – Steve McGranahan
6 p.m. – Edsel 500

Fiber Fair & Antique Homemaking collection (Fri – Sun) – Holshouser Building
Check out the Fiber Fair and a display of antique homemaking equipment and supplies, as well as a quilting demonstration by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Lord Granville Tractor Club. The Fiber Fair will feature weavers, spinners and crafters showcasing how yarn is made from raw material and transformed into useful garments.  Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. www.ncagfest.com

Bluegrass performances, competition and animals (Fri-Sun) – Heritage Circle and Stage
Come relax in the shade and listen to traditional N.C. bluegrass by Back Porch Bluegrass on the Heritage Stage Friday at 1, 4 & 7 p.m., on Saturday at 11 a.m. & 7 p.m., and Sunday at 1, 4 & 7 p.m. The Bluegrass Competition will take place on Saturday from 1-5 p.m. as we look for the best amateur bluegrass band in the state! Heritage Circle will also be home to alpacas, dairy goats, mules and long-horn steers. www.ncagfest.com

Antique Tractor Display (Fri – Sun) – throughout the grounds
Thousands of pieces of antique farm machinery will be on display.  Stop and chat with tractor owners and find out more about the different brands and how they’ve restored or maintained these machines. There will be a daily tractor parade at 11 a.m. www.ncagfest.com

Carnival (Fri – Sun) – Midway area
More than 20 rides (from tame to wild) and lots of games and foods will be available on the Midway.  Buy individual tickets for $1 each,  a sheet of 14 tickets for $10, or save even more with a sheet of 30 tickets for $20. Serious riders may want to wait until Sunday to buy an armband for unlimited rides for $20, good from 3-10 p.m. that day. The carnival is open 10 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. www.ncagfest.com

Grandstand Events – Sam G. Rand Grandstand www.ncagfest.com

  • Draft Horse Pull – Friday, 5 – 9 p.m.  Cost: $5 – Lightweight and heavyweight draft horse teams will compete to see who can pull a weighted load the farthest. Each class will vie for prize money ranging from $550 for first place to $50 for 10th place.
  • Antique Tractor Pull – Saturday, noon – 9 p.m. Cost: $5 – Tractor owners will compete throughout the day to earn trophies and points toward the Carolina Antique Tractor Pulling Association grand championship. Larger and louder tractors will battle on Saturday night.
  • Lawnmower Racing – Sunday, noon – 9 p.m. Cost: $5 – Members of the American Racing Mower Association will steer souped-up lawnmowers around an oval track at speeds up to 60 miles-per-hour. Teams from along the East Coast will participate in junior and adult racing classes to earn trophies and points toward a national championship.

Department of Labor Pole Top Rescue Linesman Competition (Sat) – Near Gate 9
Watch this professional competition as linesmen from across the state perform pole top rescues as if a co-worker were electrocuted or otherwise injured while servicing electrical wires. Linesmen will climb, secure and lower the injured lineman to the ground for first aid and CPR if necessary. Competition will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Raleigh Summer Boat Show & Sale (Thurs – Sun) – Kerr Scott Building
Boat Show and Sale presented by Choplin Marine – Event Hours: Noon -6 p.m. on Thursday, Noon – 6 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday. Free admission. www.carolinaboatshows.com

Flea market (Sat & Sun) – Grounds on the east and south sides of Dorton Arena, plus Commercial & Education Buildings and Lunch Stands
The Flea Market is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. The Commercial and Education buildings and the outside grounds are host to hundreds of dealers, craftsmen and booths. www.raleighfleamarket.net

Health & Fitness Expo (Sat & Sun) – Graham Building
This free expo offers dancing, aerobics, health tests and screenings, jazzercising, soccer, rock climbing, a community blood drive and more. Tons of fun family activities combined with important health and medical information.

About Firecracker

Firecracker (aka Jen Kendrick) Appears as a guest blogger with a special 22-year history with the State Fair. She now works with the N.C. Pork Council, but she still lends a hand in the press office when she can. Thanks, Firecracker!


  1. Last year they offered a promotion on the first day of the fair where you could buy an armband and have unlimited ride admission from 3PM on. Will they be doing a similar promotion this year. Our family really enjoyed that day!

    • Wendy, yes, Powers Great American Midways will be offering the Preview Day Unlimited Ride Wristband for $25 on Thursday, Oct. 15. Gates open at 3 p.m. and the rides open at 3:30 p.m.

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