A Longtime N.C. State Fair Fan is Ready to Taste the State’s Best Chili in the 2022 Home Chef Challenge

Bowl of chili

For 11 days each October, the N.C. State Fairgrounds turns into a delicious culinary playground. This season, the North Lobby of the Dorton Arena will have the sensational aromas of home chefs cooking their best recipes in hopes of winning $500 and bragging rights in the 2022 Home Chef Challenge.  Raeford resident Dewayne Smith has attended the N.C. State Fair for 35 years. This season he is ready to chow down on homemade chili as one of the panel judges for The Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-Off presented by Carolina Cooker.  When Smith read about the contest in the…

Continue Reading

Special guest helps judge new 2021 fair foods

On the Monday before the 2021 N.C. State Fair started, a special guest joined the Deep Fried Crew’s Media Day to help judge some of the 2021 fair’s new foods. Morgan Wilder of Garner is a lifelong fan of the fair who dreamed of getting a preview of the new fair foods and getting to taste them. Her dream came true on that Monday! Her journey to joining the fair food preview began back in March. Dr. Michael Soboeiro sent the Deep Fried Crew an email with an “odd request.” It was in regards to a taste testing he heard…

Continue Reading

Popular Pik-N-Pig rises from the ashes of disaster

Fair food booths work hard to stand out and grab the attention of fairgoers. At the N.C. State Fair, that runs the gamut from bright or unusual colors, flashing lights, dynamic music, a huge inflatable ostrich head or a unique and repetitive voice advertising all types of pies. But the Pik-N-Pig’s rustic, tiny, 5-foot-by-12-foot wooden-sided trailer serves more than just being an eye catcher, it’s also houses the barbecue vendor’s pig cooker — the heart of the food operation. So on May 30, when the Pik-N-Pig’s brick-and-mortar restaurant at the Gilliam-McConnell Airfield in Carthage went up in flames, owner Ashley…

Continue Reading

State Fair & Small Business – A Sweet Match

Caramel apples are a classic State Fair treat – a staple that many fairgoers would consider a “must eat” at the fair. And no one does a more over-the-top caramel apple than Miss Debbie’s Specialty Apples. Miss Debbie’s Specialty Apples, owned and operated by David and Debbie Booth, serves around 150 different types of apples. Each apple is a fresh Granny Smith apple covered in rich caramel and then topped with different ingredients. Its best-selling flavor is the Caramel Apple Pie, a Granny Smith apple covered in caramel, dipped in white chocolate, and rolled in brown sugar and cinnamon. Coming…

Continue Reading

You’ve Got to Be at the Got to Be NC Festival This Weekend!

With more than 100 tractors, North Carolina food and beverages, music, a carnival and free kids’ activities, the Got to Be NC Festival is an event you don’t want to miss at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, May 17-19. “The antique tractor and farm equipment display, featuring a daily tractor parade, and the Food Lion Local Goodness Marketplace are two of the unique highlights of the festival,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We have one of the largest antique tractor displays in the Southeast, and the marketplace features around 80 North Carolina companies offering the opportunity to sample the…

Continue Reading

Meet the 2017 N.C. State Fair’s finest

This year, the State Fair includes close to 200 food vendors and they are all ah-mazing. There are two that came to shine, though. Followers of  N.C. State Fair social media voted for their favorite food this year. Al’s French Fries took home the award for 2017 Best Food at the Fair. Allison Jefferson Beckwith of Apex, also known as Al, started the business in 1959. Why? No reason other than because he loved fries. Actually, the first two years of business, he sold ice cream. His family keeps his legacy alive by managing two Al’s locations: one outside the…

Continue Reading

Casey’s favorite N.C. State Fair Finds

Fair mascot Casey Cardinal is back and he’s got lots of tips for fairgoers. Read below to find a few unique N.C. State Fair traditions that makes the fair live up to Nothing Could Be Finer. It’s true, just about every state has a state fair. And these fairs have rides and foods and a midway. But that’s not all that’s at a State Fair. The buildings are full of vendors, state agencies and other organizational booths. The exhibit halls are full of ribbon winners and the livestock barns are bustling with livestock shows. On the grounds you’ll find stilt walkers,…

Continue Reading

Captain Neill’s Carolina Crab Dip wins Best New Food as voted by the media

Today we hosted members of the media for a sneak peek of the N.C. State Fair at our annual media lunch. For the first time, this included the Best New Food at the Fair competition. Members of the media were invited to sample 10 new foods and vote on their favorite. The theme this year among the new foods is seafood. And one of those dishes, Carolina Crab Dip by Captain Neill’s Seafood of Columbia, was chosen as the winner. Captain Neill’s has been a vendor at the fair since 2004. The family operates a seafood processing plant in Columbia…

Continue Reading

Weekend Update: Sept. 9-11

Opa! The 35th Annual Greek Festival is Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday  from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Graham Building. Adult admission is $3, but you can find a coupon for free on their website. Admission for children ages 13 to 19 and seniors is $2, while children ages 12 and under are admitted free. This event offers authentic Greek food, live music and traditional Greek dance groups. Part of event proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity. Go to http://raleighgreekfestival.com/ for more. Other events this weekend include: Meredith College…

Continue Reading

Weekend Update: May 27-29

A weekend full of fun awaits visitors to the State Fairgrounds this Friday through Sunday. Check out the following events: The final two days of the Southern States Regional Morgan Horse Show are Friday and Saturday, with free admission for the public. The event features over 200 Morgan horses coming from across the nation to compete. This show also offers carriage classes and vendors selling horse-themed gifts. Hours in the Main Arena are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. Hours in the outside open rings are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday for dressage, and…

Continue Reading