Archive for the ‘2009 N.C. State Fair’

Top Deep Fried Blog posts of 2009

January 05, 2010 By: Cotton Candy Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair

2009 was a great year here in the deep-fried N.C. State Fair offices. We broke individual and overall attendance records, had a Twitter-ific tweetup, collected more cans on Food Lion Hunger Relief Day than ever before, crowned our first Deep Fried Ambassador and, of course, taste-tested some pretty interesting deep-fried food. As we cross into another year, we thought we’d take a look back at the top five Deep Fried Blog posts of 2009.

5. Deep-fried Ho Hos and chocolate-covered bacon

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4. State Fair Press Office: Concert lineup announced

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3. LEGO Experience Tour comes to the N.C. State Fair

Raleigh is turning into a LEGO-land of sorts. First, the only LEGO store in North Carolina opened a few months back in Crabtree Valley Mall. And now, The LEGO Experience Tour will set up shop on the fairgrounds Thursday, Oct. 15 through Sunday, Oct. 18. If you’re like me, you still enjoy playing with the small, interconnecting bricks known fondly as LEGOs. There is something about LEGO sets that bring out the inner-child in everyone.

LEGOs are no strangers to the Fair, considering we have a Youth LEGO competition each year. Last year, this amazing LEGO butterfly was one of our favorites. If you’re eligible to compete in the Youth category, you can see the rules for the LEGO competition here on page 314. If not, be sure to drop by and see all the entries in the Handicrafts and Hobbies building near the N.C. State Dairy bar.

2. Details behind the tweetup: Deep-fried food edition

  • Funnel cake fries from N & T Concessions. Just like the perennial Fair favorite, but with a portable twist. Who can resist a cross between powdered sugar goodness and the convenience of a french fry?
  • Chicken-fried bacon from Chef Thomas’ Chef’s D’Lites. Just like it sounds, these strips of bacon are covered in batter and deep-fried like chicken-fried steak.
  • Buffalo chicken rangoons from Raleigh’s own Woody’s City Market. These bite-sized, deep-fried dumplings (similar to the crab rangoons available in many Chinese restaurants) will be filled with some of Woody’s famous buffalo chicken.
  • Chocolate-covered bacon from The Murphy House. Bacon lovers will have to contain themselves, since we’ll have not one, but two twists on the ever-popular bacon. A mix  of savory, sweet and salty, chocolate-covered bacon got some rave reviews at our pre-Fair media lunch, but you’ll have to come decide for yourself. (Steph’s Strawberries will also have chocolate-covered bacon for sale on the fairgrounds near the Hobbies and Handicrafts Building.)

1. American Idol alum Anoop Desai rounds out Dorton Arena concert lineup

Since we announced the Dorton Arena line-up a couple weeks ago with one missing performer, our Facebook, blog and Twitter sites have been buzzing with suggestions on who should fill that spot. We heard a lot of good suggestions, but there was one particular artist campaign that stood out to us-mainly because the plea came from the artist himself. Our concerts this year have a decidedly local appeal, as N.C. natives Kellie Pickler, Eric Church and Jason Michael Carroll are all performing just a few hours (and in some cases, minutes) from where they grew up, and we’re happy to add American Idol alum and Cary native/UNC-Chapel Hill student Anoop Desai to that list.

What I learned in Vegas shouldn’t stay in Vegas

December 04, 2009 By: Blue Ribbon Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair, N.C. State Fairgrounds

The N.C. State Fair attended the 2009 IAFE annual convention to "Power Up!" This week, I represented the N.C. State Fair at the International Association of Fairs and Expos annual convention in Las Vegas, along with Mike Pleasant, our assistant manager. It was a great opportunity for networking with knowledgeable people from fairs around the world, and for taking some interesting educational workshops.

At a workshop called “Greener Fairs,” I was asked to present a case study about our recycling program, and at the “Social Media Power Up Lab” I was grilled on the nitty-gritty details of our social media campaign. In both sessions, attendees asked great questions and shared advice from their own experiences.

Mike and I picked up some tips for recruiting and placing new volunteers; we learned about the principles of food and beverage concessions and how to improve the fair/vendor relationship; and got an eye-opener about our signage placement and other important features in a workshop that asked us to look at the fair through an attendee’s perspective.

In the emergency planning symposium, we learned about the importance of proper preparation to ensure fairgoers’ safety, and at the foundations networking forum, we heard some great advice from fairs who operate charitable non-profit foundations. In addition to several other great classes, we were inspired by the words of motivational speakers during the general sessions. And the convention wouldn’t be complete without the trade show, where we got to meet some new performers, see old friends and learn about companies with products designed to improve the fair experience.

One of the best parts about the convention is the Education Center & Cyber Cafe’. This is the place where all the first-, second- and third-place submissions in the competitive exhibits, advertising and agriculture awards categories are on display for everyone to peruse. This year, the N.C. State Fair helped provide a USB drive to each fair that contains digital copies of most of the winning submissions. With this USB drive, everyone can take home some great ideas for new competitive exhibits, effective advertising campaigns and educational agriculture programs.

As it turns out, the N.C. State Fair took home several awards in our division (Division 4, fairs with an attendance of 500,001 to 1 million) garnering us international recognition:

Hall of Honor Communications Awards

  • 1st place: Web site
  • 2nd place: Television Ad
  • 3rd place: Newspaper Ad – Black and White
  • 3rd place: Best Use of Social Media

Agricultural Awards Program

  • 2nd place: Green Program (for the Green NC exhibit)
  • 2nd place: Non-Fair Agricultural Event or Program (for the Got to Be NC Festival)

I’d also like to give a shout out to the Mountain State Fair, also run by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which took home seven awards in Division 2 of the Agricultural Awards and Competitive Exhibits Awards competitions.

It was truly a great convention, and I am very lucky to have been able to attend and speak on our behalf. Now, it’s back to work to implement all the great things I learned and make the 2010 State Fair the best yet … and maybe bring home a few more awards next year, too!

Nov. 12 Triangle Social Media Club meeting to feature N.C. State Fair

November 10, 2009 By: Cotton Candy Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair

smc1 Throughout the year, we strive to bring our followers on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr and YouTube and readers here on the Deep Fried Blog the type of behind-the-scenes content that they can’t find anywhere else.

Hopefully, you were able to improve your 2009 Fair experience through some or all of these channels. (If not, let us know! We would love to hear your feedback.) On our end, we enjoyed tracking down the most interesting stories and people at the Fair for the blog and connecting with fairgoers on our social networking sites.

Since the Fair, we’ve been compiling information to measure our success and see what we can improve upon for next year. We’re excited to be included in the November meeting of the Triangle Social Media Club, a gathering of Triangle residents who are interested in social media and its applications. The members of Our Hashtag (who we also worked with to pull off the first Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup at the N.C. State Fair) organize the event, and we’re happy to share what we’ve learned, as well as learn from other attendees.

We’ll be joined by Jason Peck, the project manager of eWayDirect’s social media platform. He’ll be talking about purpose-driven communities and the ways his organization is using social media.

Here are the details:

Date: Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

Time: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Location: Twine Interactive, 226 Fayetteville St., Raleigh, (919) 341-2957

We hope to see you out there. In the meantime, check out the Triangle Social Media Club on Facebook, Twitter and on the Web.

Deep Fried Ambassador update: Can I get a piece of lettuce?

October 26, 2009 By: Cotton Candy Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair

This is our 2009 Deep Fried Ambassador’s last roundup for our Deep Fried Blog. We had such a blast following her blog posts and were happy to have her as part of the deep-fried crew. Be sure to stop by her Pretty*Swell blog, and check out all of her posts on her deep-fried adventures.


This is my final post as your Deep-Fried State Fair Ambassador. Sniff.

I have lived and breathed the North Carolina State Fair for two weeks and loved every minute of it. I traversed practically every square inch of the fairgrounds, tried all sorts of new things, ate 50 pounds of chocolate-covered bacon and conquered a few fears along the way.

If I could hug the fair, I would.

Although my deep-fried reign has come to an end, the memories (not unlike the weight I’ve gained) will last a lifetime.

On top of the stuff I’ve already written about, I also milked a cow:

(photo by Mom)

Watched a master scissor artist at work:

And did I mention I rode this:

Best of all was experiencing the fair with Small Fry. Seeing it through her eyes. Pure joy.

Being the fair’s Deep-Fried Ambassador was the best job ever. Thank you for reading. And, special thanks to the awesome State Fair folks for the opportunity. Mad props to the press office for an outstanding job promoting the fair through social media. This year’s attendance broke the record by nearly 19,000!

But, it’s time to pull pretty*swell out of the deep fryer and charge ahead. Be on the lookout for two new features that will launch soon. I’m really excited about both of them, and I think you will be too.

In the meantime, click the image below for a few more of my photos from the 2009 North Carolina State Fair. And, tell me, what did you enjoy most about this year’s fair? Did you try the bacon?

Folk Festival superintendent Annette Pulley wraps up her final Fair

October 25, 2009 By: Merrie Go Round Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair, Uncategorized

With the final song on the Folk Festival stage today, superintendent Annette Pulley will bring to a close a storied association with the festival.

This marks the 61st year of the festival that is dedicated to preserving and celebrating North Carolina’s traditional music and dance.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler with retiring Folk Festival superintendent Annette Pulley.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler with retiring Folk Festival superintendent Annette Pulley.

For more than 40 years, Pulley has had a role in the Folk Festival. She has been a performer, a judge and, for more than half of her time with the event she has served as superintendent.

She has literally seen children grow up on the Folk Festival stage, later returning with their own children to perform.

The Folk Festival is like a family reunion of sorts. People come to compete, but they also come to see friends old and new. That is part of what has kept Pulley coming back every year.

“The most enjoyable part of it for me is seeing the familiar faces year after year, and seeing the new teams come and seeing their improvement,” she said.

The Folk Festival will miss its matriarch.

Press Office Challenge: Top 5 edition

October 25, 2009 By: Bearded Lady Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair

On the first day of the Fair, Firecracker issued a challenge for the press office staff to do something they have never done before at the N.C. State Fair. As an intern from South Carolina, there are a lot of things that were new for me this year. Yes, I have been to the N.C. State Fair before, but I usually limit my trip to one night – enough time for one ride, a turkey leg and some N.C. State ice cream.

I waited until the last day to post this blog, and now present Bearded Lady’s Top Five New Experiences at the N.C. State Fair (BLTFNENCSF). OK, the acronym needs work, but I hope you enjoy.

Number Five: Oscar Mayer Wienermobile
You know it’s a party when the Wienermobile is in town. I’ve never serenaded anyone with the Oscar Mayer jingle.

Number Four: Dorton Arena from the bottom
You may remember Mike Pleasant from our behind-the-scenes look at Dorton Arena. He recruited me to help him paint the numbers on the floor of Dorton Arena.

Number Three: Dorton Arena to the top
On Youth Day, I helped GreenThing take photos of 4-H members from the top of the iconic arena. (DISCLAIMER: Do NOT attempt to climb on Dorton Arena.)

Bearded Lady on Dorton Arena

Number Two: Military Appreciation Day
This was my first Military Appreciation Day. I saw the 2nd Marine Division Band and Party Band perform, and even planned the first-ever N.C. State Fair JROTC Review. Thanks again to the JROTC programs at Riverside High, Wake Forest-Rolesville and West Johnston for participating.

Number One: The Office
It’s hard to find a time when the entire press office is together during the Fair. On Tuesday, we found a few minutes to get together and ride the Drag Strip – the tallest portable slide in North America.

Chinese tobacco buyers get a taste of the State Fair

October 25, 2009 By: Flying Bob Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair

A member of the Chinese delegation tries her hand at stringing tobacco.

A member of the Chinese delegation tries her hand at stringing tobacco.

Asian visitors to the N.C. State Fair are becoming a tradition. Last year, Japan’s ambassador to the U.S. visited. Saturday, a group of 22 Chinese tobacco buyers toured the Fair. The group has been in North Carolina for almost a week, meeting with representatives of U.S. Tobacco Cooperative and others involved in exporting N.C. tobacco to China.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler took a few members of the delegation for short rides on the Big Cart. Afterward, the group visited the Got to Be NC Agriculture exhibit, sampled homemade ice cream and strung tobacco in Heritage Circle, saw dairy cattle in the Jim Graham Building and milk goats in the Expo Center. A few of the female members even got makeovers at the L’Oreal Paris tent near Dorton Arena.

Commissioner Troxler visited China in August to encourage the Chinese to buy more N.C. tobacco and other commodities. Many of the tobacco officials he met with in Beijing were in the group at the State Fair Saturday.

Behind the scenes with…Mason Meyer, Zambelli Fireworks

October 25, 2009 By: Bearded Lady Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair

Each night of the Fair, more than 2,000 shells of fireworks light up the skies above the Midway. Even during a light drizzle, the display can be described as “awesome.” What most people don’t know is that it takes a lot of work to make sure the fireworks go off at 9:45 nightly. I spent some time with the crew from Zambelli Friday afternoon to see how they prepare for the nightly show. Mason Meyer explains in this video:


There’s only one day left to see the fireworks. Don’t miss your chance to be “A Whole Lotta Happy” at the N.C. State Fair.

Take a tour of Green NC, earn a State Fair T-shirt

October 24, 2009 By: Blue Ribbon Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair

Have you been to the Green NC exhibit yet? That’s the large, unassuming white tent located near Gate 11. It’s the only place on the fairgrounds where you can participate in a chemistry experiment, “fish” in a State Park pond and see solar panels all in one location.

Not to mention earn a cool T-shirt.

That’s right, we are giving away 2009 State Fair T-shirts over here, but there’s a small catch — you’ll need to learn a little. The Green NC exhibit is one of many educational experiences on the fairgrounds. Visitors can interact with environmental organizations, learn about “green” topics through hands on activities and participate in a Green Pledge Scavenger Hunt. You can learn about sustainable agriculture, water quality and conservation, recycling, alternative fuels and eco-friendly living.

Scavenger hunt participants will attend a Green NC stage show, answer environmental questions and make “green” pledges, and as a reward for exploring ways to make North Carolina a little greener, you’ll earn a T-shirt!

I hope you’ll come by and visit us. The exhibit is open from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. each day. Check out this video tour of the exhibit to learn more.

Village of Yesteryear toasts Jim Trantham

October 24, 2009 By: Merrie Go Round Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair, Uncategorized

After 38 years in the Village of Yesteryear, Jim Trantham is hanging up his tools and calling it a day.

The musical instrument maker is retiring after this year’s fair, passing the reins of leadership to Pam Earp, a crafter who creates corn shuck dolls.

On Saturday morning before the Village opened, the crafters gathered to honor the Tranthams. Jim’s son Doug and Doug’s children have been fixtures in the Village. With Jim’s retirement, all of the Tranthams will take a break from the Village.

Three generations of the Tranthams were honored at the Village of Yesteryear.

Three generations of the Tranthams were honored at the Village of Yesteryear.

The Village crafters have a tight bond, nurtured through years of a shared love for heritage crafts and the annual gathering for the fall Fair.

The send off brought a mixture of laughter and tears. Cloth handkerchiefs were handed out as souvenirs. They proved to be very practical keepsakes.

There were musical tributes, as well as several heartfelt speeches about what the Tranthams have meant to the village. Befitting the spirit of the artist group, Jim Trantham was presented with a one-of-a-kind creation — a handpainted letter E.

Jim Tranthams musical instruments have graced the Village of Yesteryear for nearly 40 years.

Jim Trantham's musical instruments have graced the Village of Yesteryear for nearly 40 years.

The Village of Yesteryear crafters offered well wishes for Jim Trantham and is family. All of the crafters signed the back of the gift presented to Jim Trantham.

The Village of Yesteryear crafters offered well wishes for Jim Trantham and is family. All of the crafters signed the back of the gift presented to Trantham.


The letter was one that had been used to spell out Village of Yesteryear on the side of the building. Today, a large banner is used instead of individual letters. Three of the artists had painted scenes on the letter, reflecting Jim’s craft, his family and home in the mountains, and his lifelong commitment to educating young people.

It was a fitting and emotional tribute. Good luck to Jim and his family.

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