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2012 N.C. State Fair

Enjoy the 2012 N.C. State Fair! We're just as excited as you are to explore 11 days of statewide competitions, thrilling rides and everything fried on a stick.

In this blog, we'll touch base with some of you who may have baked that blue ribbon cake or bred a champion steer. We'll also keep you up-to-date on what's going to be new and different about the fair this year and other interesting scenes from the fairgrounds.

Finally, use this link to browse our photo galleries from the fair.


2012 NC State Fair staff writer schedule

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Strong Saturday attendance puts fair on track for one of best years ever

Yesterday's attendance at the N.C. State Fair was 139,484. The 10-year average for the second Saturday at the fair is 122,486.

Fair officials say that entering its final day today, the 2012 fair is on the verge of ranking third all-time in attendance.

Blowing off steam at the fair's turn-of-the-century sawmill

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."

Fairgoers donate more than 200,000 pounds of food for Food Bank of N.C.

Visitors to the N.C. State Fair on Thursday donated approximately 213,558 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

The food collection day, which is a long tradition at the fair, grants free admission for people donating at least 4 cans of food as they enter the fairgrounds. The fair's Hunger Relief Day was sponsored by Food Lion.

Food Bank workers will make a final sweep of the fairgrounds on Monday to retrieve any additional cans dropped off by visitors this weekend (so you can still donate!). Final totals will be released then. 

Agricuture commissioner Steve Troxler had promised if fairgoers broke 2010's record of 247,569 pounds of food collected, the fair would donate $1,000 to the food bank. He made larger donation promises for larger volumes of food collected.

Attendance at Thursday's fair was 101,272.

Read more here: http://blogs.newsobserver.com/statefair/thursday-is-your-day-to-hit-the-nc-state-fair-for-free#storylink=cpy

Kids from Cary and Apex take Best of Show for Lego creations at the state fair

There's a competition for almost everything at the N.C. State Fair, so why not Legos. After all, Legos kind of rule.

And now, two local boys -- Trey Hester of Cary and Nathan Wilson of Apex -- also rule with blue ribbons and Best of Show ribbons for their inspired Lego creations.

Trey, who is 10 years old, picked Krispy Kreme for his North Carolina-themed project (for youths aged 10-18) because of a connection both he and the company share: they were both born in the Camel City.

"I was born in Winston-Salem and we like Krispy Kreme a lot," he said. "So I just decided to do it."

The model doughnut store, complete with customers, a delivery truck and a drive-thru -- not to mention the iconic "Hot Now" Krispy Kreme sign -- is modeled after both the Winston-Salem and Raleigh stores.

Lots of folks hit the state fair on Friday

Friday’s attendance at the N.C. State Fair was 92,418. The 10-year average for the second Friday is 79,410.

Frosting flies at fair's first on-site cookie decorating contest for kids

The frosting was flying this week at the N.C. State Fair's first on-the-spot cookie decorating contest for kids.

The contest, officially dubbed the Kids Kookie Dekorating Kontest, was divided into four age categories over the course of four days to accomodate varying skill levels of kids aged 4-12.

Every decorator received a ribbon for participating and got to take their giant cookie home, but there were more material prizes at stake, too.

The blue ribbon winner in each contest received $15, the red ribbon winner received $10 and the white ribbon winner received $7. The first place winner also got a cake decorating kit from Michaels arts and craft store, which sponsored the contest along with Sam's Club and Garner TV and Appliance.

Each kid was armed with a giant cookie and an ample supply of colorful frostings and sprinkles. There were no rules, just a 20-minute time limit. Liberal sampling of frosting while decorating was allowed.

A walking, talking tree thrills visitors at the N.C. State Fair

"The Tree of Life" has joined "DiVine the Living Vine" for this year's creepy but cool attraction at the N.C. State Fair's Heritage Circle.

The walking -- and talking -- tree manages to simultaneously thrill and freak out the fairgoers he meets. Below is a short video of The Tree, who strolls daily in the Flower and Garden Show area, interacting with a very excited visitor.

Montagnard fair worker gets some time in the Dorton Arena spotlight

Garner's Scotty McCreery wasn't the only singer with "Idol" experience to get stage time in Dorton Arena during this year's N.C. State Fair.

N.C. Department of Agriculture worker Y-Phuoc B'Krong, a Montagnard who came to North Carolina from a Cambodia refugee camp, sang the National Anthem last Thursday night before the fair's Varsity Vocal Showcase. B'Krong also opened the fair in 2011, singing before the Craig Campbell concert.

B'Krong, who works on the fairgrounds year round, helping maintain the grounds and buildings on the property, says before he left Vietnam, he sang on the television show "Vietnam Idol." When the show was over, he says he got to travel from village to village singing for his people. 

Another great attendance day at the fair

Another great day of weather and another great day for attendance at the N.C. State Fair. Yesterday's attendance at the fair was 101,272. The 10-year average for the second Thursday of the fair is 96,758.

Durham rose gardener takes top prizes at state fair flower shows

Harold White of Durham has worked all year cultivating roses for the Flower and Garden Show at the N.C. State Fair, and an hour before deadline for the final show Thursday afternoon, his work was not yet done.

White, 83, pulled crate after crate of roses from the back of his car, plucking cotton from between the petals.

"They bruise so easily," White said as he pulled the cotton with a tweezer. Every speck of cotton must be removed from the flowers before entry or they will be disqualified. He gives one last check over blooms and tags before lugging the crates from the parking lot into the flower show building. It takes at least five trips from his car to bring all the roses inside.

White has been entering his roses in the N.C. State Fair Flower and Garden Show contests for 15 years, and estimates he's won between 500 and 600 ribbons. Over the last 15 years, he has won the Award of Merit, which is like Best in Show, at least 25 times.

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