Every year at the State Fair, there are hundreds of different competitions to enter. Each category of competitions is managed by its own superintendent who oversees the show schedules, volunteers, and operations. This year the poultry show will have a new superintendent, Don Edwards, but he is hardly new to the event.
Edwards has been working with the show for 25 years, helping to set up the competitions and get youth more involved.
“This year is the first time I have the title of superintendent,” Edwards said. “This may be my first year as superintendent, but I have years of assisting both longtime superintendent Carl Beard and longtime teacher and advisor Dr. Parkhurst in the show. Dr. Parkhurst was the best mentor and friend I have ever had.”
When Edwards is not busy at the fair, he is at his farm managing his 45 dairy goats and his 350 chickens. “I have 35 different breeds of chickens,” Edwards said.
In 2018, there were 101 exhibitors entered 2,058 birds. The poultry show consists of two shows. The first show is during the first half of the N.C. State Fair, and the second show is during the second half of the fair.
The first show is for youth exhibitors ages nine to 18. Youth exhibitors may enter up to 30 birds in any youth poultry class. The youth show includes large and standard chickens, guineas and bantams. The second show is the open show. The show includes bantams, waterfowl/ducks, waterfowl/geese and turkeys. The premiums for both shows are: First place, $15, second, $14, third, $13, fourth, $12, fifth, $11 and sixth, $10.
“My favorite part is the youth show because the youth are the ones that will continue with poultry for years to come. Without them, there would be no poultry shows,” Edwards said.
Some of the youth competitors come into the show already having named their chickens. They will bring them in a cage and pet them as if they were a dog. The chickens just sit there and cluck away, happy as can be.
Edwards added that his favorite bird was the Buff Laced Polish Chicken. “I like it because it has a big top and the coloring is very pretty-yellow with white lace around the edges.”
Besides the poultry show, Edwards’ favorite part about the fair is going to get some Calabash-style seafood at Captain Neil’s near the Graham Building.
The N.C. State Fair Poultry show is located in a tent behind the Graham Building.
Registration for competitions are now open through Sept. 15. Visit N.C. State Fair Competitions for more information.