N.C. Forest Service exhibit will offer new activities during the 2024 Got To Be NC Festival

The 2024 Got to Be NC Festival starts this Friday, May 17th, at the N.C. State Fairgrounds! Check out this guest blog by our N.C. Forest Service to learn about some of the fun events they will have going on during the festival across the grounds and in the Jim Graham Building.

North Carolina’s Got To Be NC (GTBNC) Festival is just days away and the annual event is sure to offer entertainment for all ages. Rides, exhibits, parades, action alley, career opportunities and of course, lots and lots of food. These are just a few of the many options that will be on display during the festival.

The N.C. Forest Service (NCFS) has had an annual footprint during the GTBNC Festival for many years and 2024 will be no different. However, new, exciting and interactive options are to be had at the NCFS booth.

New this year will be a wildland firefighting station where festival goers can suit up in official personal protective equipment (PPE) while meeting and learning from the professionals who wear the gear every day. An NCFS helmet, fire tools and a fire pack will all be on hand. While deploying a fire shelter in a real-life scenario is never ideal, sometimes it’s necessary. Visitors to the NCFS booth will have the opportunity to test their competitive skills by deploying a fire shelter during a mock scenario, needing to complete the task within a limited timeframe.

NCFS forest health staff will also display a variety of exhibit items relative to invasive insects and diseases that threaten the health of our forests, and what ongoing efforts the NCFS are engaged in to help keep North Carolina’s forests healthy.

Perhaps the highlight of the weekend will take place Saturday, May 18, at 10:30 a.m., when the NCFS will celebrate the 80th birthday of everyone’s favorite wildfire prevention icon, Smokey Bear. Smokey won’t officially turn 80 until Aug. 9, but festival goers will have the opportunity to celebrate Smokey by signing his special birthday banner and hearing a forest ranger read “The Story of Smokey Bear.” After the story, participants can enjoy a party with Smokey and friends, complete with Smokey Bear party favors and other goodies.

Attractions such as Sunday’s touch-a-truck experience in Action Alley will take place again in 2024 as it remains a favorite for many festival goers. The NCFS will also have staff and resources available to discuss technical assistance and recommendations for forest management and cost share plans, educational programming and recreational opportunities offered to visitors to North Carolina state forests. A career recruitment station will also be available for those who are interested in a career with the NCFS.

Whether you plan to get reacquainted with your favorite wildfire prevention bear, step into the boots of a wildland firefighter, learn how you can help be on the lookout for future emerging pests or become a member of our highly trained staff, the NCFS is looking forward to seeing you in the Jim Graham Building. Come spend time interacting with your forest service personnel who take pleasure in serving the people of North Carolina.

The GTBNC Festival runs from May 17-19. To learn more about this year’s GTBNC Festival and to plan your visit, go to https://www.gottobencfestival.com/.

About Rollercoaster

"Life is short, so do the things you love with the people you love." Rollercoaster is the fair-themed nickname for Taylor Harris, an information and communications specialist in the Public Affairs Division of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. An alumni of N.C. State University and former Marketing and Sales Assistant with Scott Farms, a sixth-generation family farm out of Lucama, NC, she is no stranger to the world of agriculture. Football and singing are her biggest passions. While at the fair, her "must do" items are a pineapple smoothie from Tropical Delight and a ride on the Fireball, now referred to as F5.

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