Weekend Update: Aug. 29-Sept. 1

August 28, 2014 By: Category: Fairgrounds Events, Uncategorized

Horse shows, equestrian consignment sale and more this weekend at the N.C. State Fairgrounds

If you are spending Labor Day weekend around Raleigh, come on out to the Flea Market on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. You might just find your next treasure for your house, apartment or dorm room.

Other events this weekend:

The Equestrian Exchange Consignment Sale will run through Monday, Sept. 2, in the Holshouser Building. The sale has equestrian tack, saddles, show clothing, barn supplies, horsewear and riding needs. This is North Carolina’s largest equine item consignment sale. It offers the opportunity to buy and sell any equestrian tack, saddles, show clothing, barn supplies and riding needs for all disciplines of riding. Sale hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday and noon to 6 p.m. Monday. Admission is free.

The Tarheel Labor Day Cluster Dog Shows will be in the Graham Building. Each day, American Kennel Club-registered dogs will compete for the coveted Best in Show ribbon. The Alamance Kennel Club hosts Friday, Durham Kennel Club Saturday, Raleigh Kennel Club Sunday and the Cary Kennel Club hosts Monday’s events. Show hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and admission is $5 for adults and $2 for seniors and children ages 7-11. Children under 7 and military receive free admission.

Treasures of the Earth Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show will be Friday through Monday in the Scott Building. The show offers precious and semi-precious gem stones, pearls, beads, minerals, fossils and finished jewelry in gold and silver. Wire-wrappers and jewelers are available on site. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 16. Event hours are noon to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday.

The North Carolina Dressage and Combined Training Association’s Labor of Love Horse Show will be at the Hunt Horse Complex. Events Saturday and Sunday will show all levels of dressage for horses and ponies, and Monday competitions will focus on sport-horse breeding, shown in hand and under saddle.  Spectator admission is free, and the competitions will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Vanilla Ice has mad DIY skillz

August 28, 2014 By: Category: 2014 N.C. State Fair

Each week until the start of the State Fair, the Deep Fried Crew will highlight one of the 2014 Dorton Arena entertainers. Tickets for all concerts and advance admission and ride tickets are on sale online here. Get your tickets early to save time and money, and to reserve your seat for your favorite Dorton Arena performer. Check out this year’s lineup here.

This week we highlight rapper Vanilla Ice, whose album “To the Extreme” was released on Aug. 28, 1990.

Vanilla Ice

Rapper and do-it-yourselfer Vanilla Ice

I envy Vanilla Ice. And not because he used a sample of a classic rock song to create one of the most infectious earworms of the past quarter century. Sure, I wouldn’t mind having a No. 1 hit and selling millions of records. And the guy had some pretty fly dance moves back in the day, too. But I envy Vanilla Ice because the guy has mad DIY skillz.

Ice (real name Rob VanWinkle) has become a successful remodeling expert known for his ability to renovate and sell homes in Florida. It’s a skill set he began developing — along with his music career — in his late teens and early 20s. His talents landed him his own show, “The Vanilla Ice Project,” on DIY Network.

I’ve watched the show a handful of times, and I’m impressed with his ability to transform these houses. Not only does he do a good chunk of the work himself, but he also encourages his team to stop, collaborate and listen. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.)

I’m not nearly as handy as Ice. (And I don’t cook MCs like a pound of bacon either.) At my house, every do-it-yourself project is an adventure. Just ask my wife. In fact, her preferred method for completing home-improvement projects involves obtaining recommendations for professional help.

Presumably, Vanilla Ice will not be remodeling Dorton Arena when he performs a “Throwback Thursday” show Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 and are on sale here.

Now, back to the earworm. See the video for “Ice, Ice Baby” below.

Introducing Fair Employee Eleanor Upchurch

August 25, 2014 By: Category: 2014 N.C. State Fair, Uncategorized

Eleanor Upchurch at work in the entry office at the fairgrounds

For Eleanor Upchurch, stopping to smell the roses is just a pleasant bonus to her job. During the fair, Upchurch works as an assistant to the flower show superintendent.  “My main responsibilities are assisting the judges when needed, getting employees the supplies they need, and making sure things run on schedule.” She loves her job and sometimes can’t believe that she gets paid to work.

Her work supports the busiest general competition show at the fair. Last year, the flower show had 4,402 exhibits spread out over three shows and offered almost $40,000 in prize money. Upchurch stays busy receiving entries and assisting judges with three shows during the fair. “The flower show is the only competition that has three shows,” she said. “The first show is potted plants, and it is the biggest. The next two are cut flowers and they are not quite as big.”  Turning over the flower show building three times during fair week is a tough job and means that the workers in this part of the fair stay in competition mode all week long.

Upchurch has been working with the fair since 2000 and has seen a lot of changes in the past 14 years. “When I first started with the fair, the entry staff had to hand write every entry tag,” she said. “Now people can enter online and it has really sped up the process.”  This year the entry office saw another significant change as the State Fair premium book transitioned to an online-only publication. Instead of mailing out premium books or encouraging people to come to the fairgrounds to pick one up, the fair is encouraging people to go online to register. The entry office has also set up a computer for people who may not have access to the premium book online. Her advice for people who want to enter the flower show, or any of the competitions at the fair, is to call or come by the entry office and learn about how to enter.  “Better yet, just come on out to to fair and see what’s there.” Last year, 10,552 people entered competitions at the fair.

Upchurch assists judges and the flower show superintendent with the three shows held during the fair. Cut flowers, such as those pictured above, are part of the second and third shows.

“I used to enter flowers before I began working in the flower show,” she said. Now she has grandchildren that enter the shows. “My 13-year-old grandson has won a special award in the junior division for flower arrangements and my 16-year-old granddaughter has entered cut flowers over the years, too,” she said.  They have always helped me with growing flowers.” Upchurch has six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Her first trip to the fair wasn’t until she married and moved to Raleigh in 1979. “Before then, I would always go to the county fair in Greensboro,” she said. “My children grew up coming to the N.C. State Fair.”

Of course the flower show is Upchurch’s favorite part of the fair, although when pressed she’ll tell you that her next favorite area is the handicrafts and hobbies located beside the N.C. State University ice cream booth.  “It’s also not the fair without getting out on the grounds for a hotdog and a ham biscuit,” she added.

Working on the N.C. State Fair keeps Upchurch busy during September and October. During the rest of the year, she helps with the year-round events at the fairgrounds.  “Three days a week, I help with contracts, invoices, filing and answering phones,” she said. In her spare time she likes to read, knit and play canasta and bridge.  “In fact, I often have ladies that come over on Fridays and we will play cards all day.”


Up and coming country band Parmalee will be performing Oct. 19.

August 22, 2014 By: Category: 2014 N.C. State Fair

Brothers Matt and Scott Thomas, plus cousin Barry Knox and childhood friend Josh McSwain, make up Parmalee, a band whose roots are firmly planted in Greenville, N.C., where they grew up together. In fact, the name “Parmalee” comes from the name of a town just a few miles away called Parmele. The group just made history with its No. 1 hit single “Carolina,” which is the longest-climbing single by a duo or group in the history of the Billboard Country Airplay Chart. Earlier this year, the band was also nominated for the Academy of Country Music’s New Artist of the Year award.

Last month, the Greensboro News and Record included the song Carolina on its top 10 list for favorite songs about North Carolina, joining classics like Carolina on my Mind by James Taylor and Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show. This is quite an honor in a state that has such a long and rich music heritage.

Parmalee’s previous single, Musta Had a Good Time, landed the band a feature as a Billboard “Bubbling Under Artist,” and a spot on the Top 40. CountryMusicIsLove.com also chose the song as one of its Top 15 Songs of Summer.
“Feels Like Carolina,” Parmalee’s most recent studio album, earned a gold certification based on sales. The band is currently on tour with Jake Owen.

Don’t miss Parmalee at Dorton Arena  Sunday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, and are on sale now.

Weekend Update: Aug. 22-24

August 21, 2014 By: Category: Fairgrounds Events, N.C. State Fairgrounds, Uncategorized


The Body Mind Spirit Expo is Saturday and Sunday in the Scott Building. (photo by Body Mind Spirit Expo)

Body Mind Spirit Expo, the largest holistic living expo in the Southeast, will be in the Scott Building Saturday and Sunday. The expo will host more than 100 wellness and metaphysical booths and 60 free lectures featuring natural and holistic produce, intuitive readings, enlightened art, crystals, massages and chiropractic care. Event hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Weekend admission covers both days – $10 for adults and children under age 10 are admitted free. A $1 discount coupon is available at their website.

Other events this weekend:

For a complete calendar of events, visit www.ncstatefair.org/events/calendar.htm.


Trace Adkins’ career has expanded beyond country music

August 15, 2014 By: Category: 2014 N.C. State Fair

Each week until the start of the State Fair, the Deep Fried Crew will highlight one of the 2014 Dorton Arena entertainers. Tickets for all concerts and advance admission and ride tickets are on sale online here. Get your tickets early to save time and money, and to reserve your seat for your favorite Dorton Arena performer. Check out this year’s lineup here.

This week we highlight country singer Trace Adkins.

With more than 10 million album sales, 30 Billboard Top 40 hits, five No. 1 singles and four Grammy nominations, Trace Adkins is a country music superstar. He blew me away when I saw him perform at the Grand Ole Opry, and I can’t wait to see his show at the State Fair on Oct. 25.

The Louisiana native with the powerful baritone voice released his first album, “Dreamin’ Out Loud,” in 1996, producing  several hit singles including “Every Light in the House,” “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing,” and “I Left Something Turned on at Home.” Ten studio albums followed, with nine earning gold or platinum certification. With such hits as “Ladies Love Country Boys,” “Hot Mama,” “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and “You’re Gonna Miss This,” Adkins’ songs have showcased both his sensitive side and a sense of humor.

Trace Adkins brings his country-star cool to Dorton Arena Oct. 25.

He has earned numerous awards, including the Academy of Country Music Single of the Year in 2009 for “You’re Gonna Miss This,” and Country Music Television’s Collaborative Video of the Year Award in 2010 for “Hillbilly Bone” with Blake Shelton.

Offstage, Adkins has carved out a movie and TV career that has included reality TV shows (“The Celebrity Apprentice” and “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice”), animation (a voice over on “King of the Hill”), soap operas (“The Young and the Restless”) and movies (“The Lincoln Lawyer”).  Adkins is a member of The Grand Ole Opry member, and serves as a spokesperson for the Wounded Warrior Program and the American Red Cross. He has also been strong supporter of the USO, performing on seven tours.

Adkins will be performing in Dorton Arena on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $17, and good seats are still available.

Weekend Roundup: Aug. 14-17

August 14, 2014 By: Category: Fairgrounds Events, Uncategorized

More than 200 boats will be on display this week at the Carolina Fall Boat Show in the Graham Building.

Back to school for traditional calendar students is just around the corner. This weekend the fairgrounds can help you get some deals on back to school clothes shopping at the Children’s Clothing and Baby Equipment sale and the Adidas Clearance Sale. Other events at the fairgrounds include the Double L Bar Cowboy Mounted Shooters event and the Carolina Fall Boat Show. Information on events is listed below:

  • The Children’s Clothing and Baby Equipment Sale will be Saturday in the Scott Building. Gently used and affordable infant, children’s and maternity clothing, toys, books, games, videos, bikes, bedding, shoes, strollers, swings, cribs, highchairs, car seats and more will be available. This event is sponsored by Triangle Mothers of Twins & Triplets. Sale runs Saturday from 7:30  a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Admission is free. Cash only except for purchases less than $50.
  • The Adidas Clearance Sale will be held through Sunday in the Holshouser Building. Daily hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free. For more information contact anthony.crowell@adidas.com.
  • The Double L Bar Cowboy Mounted Shooters event will be held Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Hunt Horse Complex. This show features riders dressed in period and contemporary Western costumes. Riders will shoot balloons from their galloping horses in the main arena with six guns, rifles and shotguns using safety blanks. This thrilling competition combines shooting skills with horsemanship against the clock. Admission is free.
  • Carolina Fall Boat Show & Sale will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Graham Building.  There will be a boat inventory reduction sale showcasing 12 marine dealers and more than 200 boats on display.  Show hours are Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. til 5 p.m.  Admission is $6, with children ages 12 and under admitted free.
  • The Raleigh Flea Market also will be open this weekend. Make plans to visit the largest flea market in Raleigh on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m


Clay Walker has parlayed his musical success into a platform for MS awareness

August 08, 2014 By: Category: 2014 N.C. State Fair

Each week until the start of the State Fair, the Deep Fried Crew will highlight one of the 2014 Dorton Arena entertainers. Tickets for all concerts and advance admission and ride tickets are on sale online here. Get your tickets early to save time and money, and to reserve your seat for your favorite Dorton Arena performer. Check out this year’s lineup here.

This week we highlight country singer Clay Walker.


“Follow what you are genuinely passionate about and let that guide you to your destination.”  — Diane Sawyer

Some people spend a lifetime in search of their life meaning, while others are lucky enough to discover that much earlier.

You could count Clay Walker in the latter group. The country star has been active in country music for more than 20 years. But he began making music at age 9 when he received his first guitar.

That first guitar ignited a passion for music that has not wavered. Walker was entering talent competitions at age 15, and was touring as a musician and the house singer in a bar by 19. It was there that he was discovered by the president of Giant Records, and his career took off.

Clay Walker will perform Oct. 18 in Dorton Arena.

Since 1993, Clay Walker has released 11 albums, with his first two singles going to No. 1 and his first four albums all going platinum. He has had over 30 charted singles, including such favorites as, “Only on Days That End in ‘Y’,”  “If I Could Make a Living,” “La Bamba” and “Fall.” The title song of his 2010 release, “She Won’t Be Lonely Long,” reached No. 4 on the country music chart. In addition to chart-topping hits, Walker has been nominated and won numerous awards, including Best New Male Vocalist from Country Song Roundup and Best New Male Artist from Radio & Records.

After being diagnosed in 1996 with multiple sclerosis, Walker has turned that same determined focus and energy on raising awareness about the disease. He founded a nonprofit charity called Band Against MS, and was honored in 2008, with a humanitarian award for his ongoing efforts.

Fans will be eager to hear Walker’s next release, “Rock the Radio,”which is expected this year.

Walker will be in Dorton Arena Saturday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Weekend Update: Aug. 9-10

August 07, 2014 By: Category: Uncategorized

The Southern Bridal Show is this weekend in the Graham Building

Brides-to-be will find the fairgrounds the place to be on Saturday and Sunday as the Southern Bridal Show and Expo sets up in the Graham Building. Meet more than 150 Triangle-area wedding experts. Also enjoy wedding fashion previews featuring the latest trends in bridal wear. Event hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10 per person. Children age 12 and under are admitted free. Pre-register and purchase tickets online to receive a $2 discount.

Other events this weekend:

  • The Raleigh Flea Market is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Each weekend, the Commercial and Education buildings and the outside grounds are host to hundreds of dealers, craftsmen and booths.
  • Johnston County Horse Show Series: Events include open, dressage and hunter jumper. Spectator admission is free. Show starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Drag Bingo, an annual fundraiser for the Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina, will be held Saturday in the Holshouser Building. Doors open at 6 p.m. and show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and available at the door.


Weekend Update: Aug.1-3

August 01, 2014 By: Category: Uncategorized

The Dixie Gun & Knife Classic show will be in the Graham Building Saturday and Sunday. This buy, sell and trade show will feature modern and collectible firearms, custom-made knives, hunting and fishing equipment, ammunition, gun accessories, reloading supplies and more. Hours are Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults and free for children under 12.

The Bead Mercantile Show will be in the Scott Building. This event features a great selection of beads and bead-related items from vendors across the world, selling everything from handmade artisan glass beads to direct imports including beads, findings, threads/cord and other supplies to make beaded jewelry. Workshops are also available. Hours are Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission of $6 is discounted to $3 with registration at door or online. Children under 16 are free but must be accompanied by an adult.

The Bead Mercantile Show will be at the Fairgrounds this weekend!

Por Una Vida Mejor, a health and wellness fair oriented to the health issues of the Hispanic community of the Triangle, will be held in the Holshouser Building on Sunday. This event features family entertainment with booths offering health, development and professional services. Hours are 4 to 7 p.m. Admission is free.

The Raleigh Flea Market will be open Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For  a complete list of events, please visit http://www.ncstatefair.org/events/calendar.htm

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