Blue ribbon dress inspired by 1982 movie Flight of the Dragon

Nina McManus of Durham makes costumes because it makes her happy. This year her hobby resulted in a first-place win in the garment sewn by adult competition at the N.C. State Fair. This is McManus’ third year entering the fair. “The first year I didn’t win,” she said. ‘last year I won a blue ribbon in the knitting competition. I was super confident that I would win something with this costume until I actually brought it to the fair, then all the confidence I was feeling turned into doubt.” McManus actually did a happy dance in the Education Building, to…

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New fair competitions highlight creativity and art

If you are headed to the beach for one last weekend of summer this Labor Day you might want to pick up a shell or two. One of this year’s new competitions is seashell art. It joins the line up with traditional fair competitions like artwork, photography, livestock, cooking, canned food, flowers, woodworking, decorated cakes and more. “It is exciting to announce new competitions to go along with categories that are alwaysso popular, like decorated cakes and quilts,” said John Buettner, competitive exhibitscoordinator. “We have competitions to appeal to a wide variety of individuals from painted rocks, terrarium building, shoe…

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Folk Festival moves to a new “neighborhood” on the fairgrounds

“That’s where I’ve always thought it should be.” That’s the reaction Leah Catherine Seaton had when she heard the N.C. State Fair Folk Festival is moving to a new location this year. It’ll be in an area adjacent to Heritage Circle and the Village of Yesteryear. Seaton has clogged in the festival for more than 20 years, skipping a year every now and then. So it’s a good sign when someone like her gives the stamp of approval to a new location. You can tell clogging is important to her. You can hear it in her voice and feel it…

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Deadlines approaching for NC State Fair competitions

Did you spend you time at home in 2020 learning a new hobby or teaching your kids cooking or gardening skills? Now is the time to show off your handiwork at the 2021 N.C. State Fair. The competition listings include canned goods, dried jerky, baked items, quilting, needlepoint, art, 4-H entries, scrap booking, wood working, horticulture, flowers and much more. If you have a skill, there’s probably a corresponding State Fair competition to enter. Many categories offer competitions for first-time entries. All competitions are listed online at http://www.ncstatefair.org/2021/Competitions/Entering/index.html Entry deadlines are Sept. 15, however, items in many competitions are not…

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Gaston teen prom dress designer wins first place at the fair

Forget Giovanni and Vera Wang – 18-year old April Moore spent 10 days designing her own dress to sport at the Forestview High School prom in Gastonia. Moore is now a freshman at the University of Florida studying costume design. But just a few months before moving into her dorm room down south, she was stitching the finishing touches on her handmade dress. “I wanted to challenge myself,” she said. “I would say I probably spent about 20 to 30 hours on this dress.” Little did she know that it would go on to win first place in the fancy dress…

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60 tons of shavings: The N.C. State Fair by the numbers

The annual N.C. State Fair is less than 2 weeks away. The fairgrounds crew is busily preparing the grounds for the nearly 1 million fairgoers that will visit during the annual 11-day event. Check out these fun numerical facts about the 151st N.C. State Fair, which runs Oct. 11 through the 21st. 2,855: Number of windows on the exterior of Dorton Arena 1,674: Number of mums ordered for the Flower and Garden Show. Several of these will be used to build the giant mum-tree, one of the fair’s most popular photo spots. 60 tons: And what do you get? All…

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So you want to be a beekeeper?

Eighteen-year-old Molly Carlson makes it look easy. Carlson, a Cary native, started keeping bees in 2012 when she found her passion through a 4-H youth program. Ever since, she has been working hard to maintain as many as 20 hives at once and educate others about the importance of bees – all while juggling classes and homework. “It takes a lot of commitment,” she said. “You can’t just go in once a year and check on your hives – you have to constantly be on top of everything.” As she spent more time with the little insects, Carlson decided bees…

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Twins win for cookie creations

In the midst of the chaos that the fair can bring, I found solace in the most unlikely place: amongst a handful of 7 and 8 year olds on Thursday afternoon at the cookie decorating contest. Ten contestants took eight minutes to decorate their cookies using different colored icing and sprinkles. With a blue ribbon prize at stake, the concentration in the room was palpable and cause for complete silence – and maybe a couple tears. First place was awarded to Kendall Hudson, 8, for her cat-eye design. Her entire cookie cake was created to look like a cat face with…

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Casey’s Clubhouse, big slide plus six other fun things for young children

Fair mascot Casey the Cardinal is back and he’s got lots of tips for fairgoers. Read below to find out how to make the most out of the N.C. State Fair if you are a parent with young children in tow. Stroller-drivers, we see you. We know that families love to come to the fair together. And that many of these families have children in the preschool and elementary-age range. If you fit this description then this advice is for you. Here are seven tips for enjoying the fair with young children. Last year I missed out on meeting a…

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Weekend Update: June 24-26

Discover the Dinosaurs in the Expo Center

Visitors to the State Fairgrounds can travel back to prehistoric times via the Discover the Dinosaurs exhibit on Friday from noon to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Graham Building. This event will feature a life-like interactive dinosaur exhibit as well as a Dino Dig, face painting and Dino Mini-Golf. To purchase tickets, visit www.discoverthedinosaurs.com. Other events this weekend include: The Raleigh Money Expo is Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Exposition Center. Admission…

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