Tucked away in a far corner of the N.C. State Fairgrounds, alongside Smokey the Bear and exhibits on the Forest Service and soil and water conservation, you'll find a fully operational turn-of-the-century sawmill powered by a steam engine built in 1924.
The engine, owned by Joe Daughtridge of Raleigh, powers the mill for demonstrations on old-timey log-cutting every hour during the fair, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The sawmill is a permanent exhibit at the fairgrounds, but it only operates, courtesy of Daughtridge's engine, during the state fair. "Other than that it sits around and rests," Daughtridge said of the machine.
Daughtridge has been running his steam engine at the fair for 11 years, he said.
It takes about eight volunteers to operate the sawmill during the fair. Jim Liacos of Raleigh is one of them. During the rest of the year Liacos runs an autoshop, but says steam engines are his hobby.
"It's fascinating to me," said Liacos. "It's all totally different from what I do everyday."