Top five blog posts of 2011

December 30, 2011 By: Bearded Lady Category: 2011 N.C. State Fair

This year’s top blog posts included some expected favorites like our review of the latest deep-fried creation and a preview of the newest ride to hit the midway. But, the most surprising one to the make the list was also the most-viewed blog post of 2011. Scroll down to see if your favorite post made the list.

5. Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup: Bring your game face

The Deep Fried Tweetup, a collaboration with our good friends at Triangle Tweetup, is a chance for all of our social media friends to come together for an exclusive event just for our favorite followers. We’ll have samples of the latest deep-fried creation, a chance to interact with some of our amazing fair performers and exhibitors, and of course a sweet scavenger hunt of the fairgrounds.

4. Team Bubble Gum or Team Kool-Aid?

During today’s media lunch, reporters and guests were able to learn more about the new attractions at the fair. In addition to information about the latest exhibits, rides and entertainment, everyone was able to try three of the newest fair foods to hit the midway – deep-fried bubble gum, deep-fried Kool-Aid and lemon sticks.

3. Sky Diver is a whirlwind of fun

At first glance, the Sky Diver looks like a plain Ferris wheel. But when you get up close, you realize there is a lot more to this ride than meets the eye. The Sky Diver is based on a Ferris wheel design, but passengers sit in cages similar to the Zipper. The cages are mounted on an axle that allows the cars to spin like a barrel roll.

2. Advance tickets available Monday at 10 a.m.

As a first-time homeowner (and subsequently, first-time mortgage payer), I like to save a buck wherever I can. Trust me when I say the best way to save money on admission and ride tickets to the State Fair is buying your tickets early. And, if you’re looking for a front-row seat to one of the Dorton Arena concerts, you’re definitely going to want to be in front of a computer when tickets go on sale…

1. Announcing the 2011 N.C. State Fair theme

Each year, we are tasked with creating a theme and logo for the coming State Fair. This is done in conjunction with our advertising agency. It’s not easy to encapsulate in a few words the excitement, flavors, colors, people and traditions that are part of the Fair. It’s a process that takes several weeks, but we love this creative time and how it makes us think about the many things that make the State Fair special.

There you have it. The top five blog posts of 2011. The more I think about it, the more fitting it is that the theme announcement was the most-viewed blog post of the year. After all, it was also the first blog post to mention the 2011 N.C. State Fair. It’s rewarding to see that level of excitement and support from our social media fans. Thanks for another great year!

Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup Recap

October 14, 2011 By: Bearded Lady Category: 2011 N.C. State Fair

Smokey Bear took a break from the N.C. Forest Service exhibit to visit the tweetup.

We had a great time last night hanging out with more than 100 of our social media followers at the Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup. We hope everyone had fun creating origami Twitter birds, sharing their State Fair memories, learning how to yo-yo, sampling Deep Fried Kool-Aid and House-Autry Mills hushpuppies and posing on our red carpet during the event.

We’d like to send a special thanks to our sponsors and exhibitors who made the event such a success. Thanks to Susan Hansen from the Village of Yesteryear, Lisa Gregory with Blue Ribbon Memories, The Amazing Arthur Fratelli, Smokey Bear and Brian Haines with N.C. Forest Service, UNC-TV, Murphy House, House-Autry, Jack Link’s, N.C. Pig and the N.C. Pork Council, Brussels Crepes, McBride’s Concessions and Powers Great American Midways.

And, now to announce the winner of the SCVNGR hunt. More than a dozen teams competed, completing 964 combined challenges last night. We’d like to congratulate EloniMedia for earning the most points and being named 2011 Deep Fried Champions.

Team EloniMedia's self portrait

The team of Carey Leigh Brown (@LeHigh06), Katie Williamsen (@kewilliamsen) and  husband,  Alison Harshbarger (@silverwaredog) and Jessica Torrez-Riley (@torrezriley).

We aren’t the only ones who had a good time. Check out a sample of the tweets from last night:

Deep Fried TweetUPdate: Last minute details

October 13, 2011 By: Firecracker Category: 2011 N.C. State Fair

Only a few more hours until the 3rd annual Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup starts. Triangle Tweetup shared a checklist with you recently and we wanted to share a few more last minute details with you.

First of all, you can’t take part if you don’t have your ticket. So, if you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, click here to buy your discounted ticket. This ticket not only gets you into the gate, it also RSVPs you for the event. So don’t delay! Also, gates open at 3 p.m., so feel free to come early to enjoy the fair and then cap off your day at the Tweetup.

Location. The Tweetup takes place from 7 – 8:30 p.m. in the Folk Festival Tent. The tent is located behind the Kerr Scott Building. If you can find the log flume ride, you’re really close. It isn’t very well marked, but this is an exclusive event, so we don’t want to advertise it too much.

Swag. Yep, not only will you get to enjoy some fun entertainment, such as yo-yos, origami, and more, but you’ll also go home with some goodies. We aren’t going to tell you what exactly, but we will preview the 3rd annual Deep Fried poster:

Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup poster

Food. You may have heard of a little treat called Deep Fried Kool-Aid. Well, you’ll get to try it out courtesy of the Murphy House Restaurant / D&J Concessions. One tradition for many fairgoers is stopping by to get fresh, hot hushpuppies and House-Autry will save Tweetup participants from standing in line to get them. Yum! And if you participate in the SCVNGR hunt, you’ll get to try a few more exclusive samples on your trek by some great vendors.

Speaking of SCVNGR, don’t forget to download the app so you’ll be ready. The Tweetup challenge will be ready starting at 3 p.m. and will be open until midnight. We’ll award prizes to the top teams. Don’t forget to follow #DFSmackTalk on Twitter. Don’t worry if you don’t have a team yet. You can join a team at the Tweetup.

Get your ticket and come on out to the Tweetup.

Deep Fried TweetUPdate – SCVNGR edition

October 11, 2011 By: Bearded Lady Category: 2011 N.C. State Fair

Do you have what it takes to compete with #TeamAwesome, the Fierce Fashionistas or any of the other teams that have signed up for the SCVNGR hunt at the Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup this Thursday?

If so, go ahead and get your tickets for the event, then send us a tweet with your team name and team members. Once you form a team, join in on the #DFSmackTalk on Twitter.

If you’re still working on your team, here are a few things you should know about the hunt:

  • Teams can have between 3 and 5 people.
  • You don’t have to form a team before the Tweetup. You can form a team at the event.
  • We’ll play the scvanger hunt with the SCVNGR app. Download the app before the event.
  • The hunt will go live Thursday, Oct. 13, at 3 p.m. and stay active until midnight.
  • Teams will compete in a trek around the fair.
  • Teams earn points by completing challenges.
  • The team with the most points at the end of the night will be crowned Deep Fried Champions.

If you don’t want to participate in the trek, you can still come out and enjoy the Tweetup from 7 to 8:30 p.m. We’ll have samples of the latest deep-fried food, amazing ground performers and exhibitors, as well as some pretty sweet State Fair swag. You can read more about those activities in our previous post.

The Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup is Thursday, Oct. 13, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Folk Festival Tent. Tickets are just $5, and includes admission to the fair and the Tweetup. Just follow this link to pick up your discounted admission ticket through eTix.

Deep Fried Triangle TweetUPdate

October 06, 2011 By: Bearded Lady Category: 2011 N.C. State Fair

We’re one week away from the 2011 N.C. State Fair and the Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup. This year’s Tweetup goes way beyond the latest deep-fried creation. Sure, there will be samples of some awesome new food, but we also hope you leave with an even greater appreciation of the exhibits, rides and entertainment at the fair. The Tweetup will be Thursday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Folk Festival Tent. Get your tickets here.

You’ve probably already heard that we will be hosting a team-based trek on SCVNGR. Your team can explore the fair, complete challenges and earn points on your quest to become Deep Fried Champions. If you’ve already formed your team, join the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #DFSmackTalk. Don’t have a team? Form one today or wait to assemble a rag-tag group of recruits at the Tweetup.

In addition to exploring the fairgrounds with SCVNGR, we’ll also have a lot of activities inside the Folk Festival Tent. Here’s a rundown of some of the special activities we have planned this year.

Become a yo-yo pro:  The Amazing Arthur, Professional Showoff and Comedy Superhero, one of our awesome new grounds performers, will demonstrate and help you master sweet yo-yo tricks such as the sleeper, rocker and more. Learn more about Arthur here.

Master origami: Sue Hansen, a crafter in the Village of Yesteryear, will be on hand to teach you how to make your own Twitter bird using ancient origami secrets. Learn more about Sue here.

Share a memory: Lisa Gregory from the State Library of North Carolina will be at the Tweetup to record fair memories for the library’s Blue Ribbon Memories project. She’ll also share insights on the technology used to archive the sights, sounds and tastes of the fair.

Strike a pose: Take time to strike a pose on our Deep Fried Runway. Use your camera or phone to create a one-of-a-kind State Fair photo you won’t find anywhere else on the fairgrounds.

These are just some of the activities you can expect at our exclusive event for our social media fans and followers. So, mark your calendars for Thursday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m., and get your tickets today. Tickets are just $5 and include admission to the fair and the Tweetup. Just follow this link to pick up your discounted admission ticket through eTix.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Tweetup?

Meet the 2011 Deep Fried Ambassador

October 04, 2011 By: Bearded Lady Category: 2011 N.C. State Fair

The competition was tough in this year’s quest to find a Deep Fried Ambassador – an individual whose love for the fair rivals the size of a giant pumpkin.

We had 10 amazing entries from a diverse group of food-loving, cow-milking, concert-going, pig-race-watching fair fanatics. Each post included memorable one-liners, such as Jay Goel’s “Once you go CAT, you never go back,” and beautiful prose as demonstrated by Girls With Guts, “At night you light up my eyes with your colorful fireworks display, shining down on the sea of people who travel near and far to be with you.”

We wish we could have picked them all, but unfortunately we could only choose one. And so, we are happy to announce that after much discussion, the next Deep Fried Ambassador is Amy Lewis from The Practical Cook blog. For winning the contest, Amy will become an honorary member of the Deep Fried Crew as she blogs, tweets and posts to Facebook about her experience at the fair. She’ll also get to join us at the pre-fair media lunch on Monday, Oct. 10, and the Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup Thursday, Oct. 13, as our very special guest.

In addition, Amy will get a sweet State Fair prize pack with two admission tickets for the entire fair and other fair swag. The Practical Cook won us over for her appreciation of fried food, witty sense of humor and her willingness to step in front of the camera. Here’s her winning post:

Gentle Readers, when I announced that I was applying for the esteemed and prestigious role of Deep Fried Ambassador, there were a couple of responses. For people who know me well and have eaten with me, it’s “of course you are” and “I hope there’s a sash.” For others who know me through other avenues of my life, there were some who doubted that this was actually a legitimate position that was open to be filled. I shall now state my case, and my proposed platform, if I should be so fortunate as to be selected.

1. The Practical Cook considers Fried a food group. In reviewing my blog posts, I notice that I’ve reviewed fried okra in 4 establishments to date, and I haven’t even covered my favorite one yet (local BBQ joint, the cinder block kind). I stand firm that Fried is best done in a commercial setting, and what could be better than the N.C. State Fair? Renowned for deep-frying everything, these mobile practitioners are devoted to the art of Fried, and it will be crunchier than a practical home cook can manage.

Fried Macaroni and Cheese from Burger BarFried Macaroni and Cheese from Burger Bar

2. I love food on a stick. Honestly, is there anything better? And it’s mobile. The N.C. State Fair is the original food truck rodeo, the original elusive outdoor food experience. Elephant ears, cotton candy, turkey legs: all better consumed outside, walking the midway. And we haven’t even started talking about the ice cream or apple categories.

Hello Fried Okra, Welcome HomeHello Fried Okra, Welcome Home

3. Authentic N.C. birth certificate. I am deeply Southern, with Fried Squash being one of my first jobs. I make jams and preserves, and I believe you have to put in your time to perfect the pound cake. If you want the real scoop on everything from lemonade stands to ham biscuits to prize-winning pies, I’m there, video camera in hand.

Summer Picnic Platter Featuring Cold Fried ChickenSummer Picnic Platter Featuring Cold Fried Chicken

4. It takes a village, and I plan to take one with me. How can I possibly eat one of everything? Perhaps it will just be a nibble, but I plan on taking a crew of merry eaters. Five have already signed on (The Practical Cooks Junior were on-board with “Fried” and halfway out the door with “Fair”), and I’m going to invite other bloggers, eaters, and comrades to join me on this odyssey.

The Pile at Geer Street GardenThe Pile at Geer Street Garden

Will you support me in this quest to become the next Deep Fried Ambassador at the N.C. State Fair? Post a comment or Tweet (to me, ccing: @NCStateFair). I look forward to bringing the Fried to you.

Send your letters of support and your video requests for the N.C. State Fair to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Thanks again to everyone who entered. You can read the other amazing entries in yesterday’s post. For those not selected to be the 2011 Deep Fried Ambassador, we hope you will still share your State Fair experience on your own blog and send us a link as you post. And don’t give up! Please enter again next year. The competition was indeed tough.

And hopefully, we’ll see all the finalists at the Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup, Oct. 13, our exclusive event for our social media friends. Tickets are just $5, and includes admission to the fair and the Tweetup. Just follow this link to pick up your discounted admission ticket through eTix.

Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup: Bring your game face

September 28, 2011 By: Bearded Lady Category: 2011 N.C. State Fair

Hopefully, you’ve been making your fair plans for months. If not, start planning now because this is your official invitation to the Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup at the N.C. State Fair Thursday, Oct. 13.

The Deep Fried Tweetup, a collaboration with our good friends at Triangle Tweetup, is a chance for all of our social media friends to come together for an exclusive event just for our favorite followers. We’ll have samples of the latest deep-fried creation, a chance to interact with some of our amazing fair performers and exhibitors, and of course a sweet scavenger hunt of the fairgrounds.

Speaking of the scavenger hunt, this year we’ve partnered with SCVNGR to bring you a one-of-a-kind trek around the fair. And guess what, it’s a team event. You’ll get to explore the fairgrounds with your team and earn points for challenges along the way. The team with the most points will be crowned Deep Fried Champions, earn some special prizes as well as some well-deserved bragging rights.

So, start recruiting your team today. A team can consist of 3-5 people. They can be co-workers, family, friends or even tweeps you’ve never met IRL. Because really, is there a better way to get to know someone than enjoying a night at the State Fair?

If you’re not big on commitments, no worries. You can form a team at the Tweetup. Of course, if you wait until then, you might miss out on the social media smack talk.

Either way, be sure to mark your social calendars for Thursday, Oct. 13, and pick up your ticket today. Tickets are just $5, and includes admission to the fair and the Tweetup. Just follow this link to pick up your discounted admission ticket through eTix. Be sure to check back here for more details as we get closer to the event.

Let the smack talk begin! Follow the Deep Fried Smack Talk at #DFSmackTalk.

Show your “Love A Fair” and become the next Deep Fried Ambassador?

September 19, 2011 By: Bearded Lady Category: 2011 N.C. State Fair

Deep Fried Ambassador

Do you have a passion for the N.C. State Fair that rivals all your friends? Are you the go-to person in your neighborhood or office for any and all fair-related information? Do you dream about racing pigs circling the latest deep-fried creation?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, have we got a job for you. It’s time for us to pick another Deep Fried Ambassador, a blogger whose enthusiasm for the N.C. State Fair is close to our own.

We’ve been impressed with the deep-fried passion of our previous winners Ashlee and Suzanne. Last year, Ashlee from the Miss Ashlee blog gave us a photographic tour of her experiences with food, beverages and even premium contests she had never seen before. Our original Deep Fried Ambassador Suzanne, from the Pretty*Swell blog, covered everything from the Turkey Shoot to food and rides, and sooo much more.

Now, we need someone to follow in their awesome footsteps and become an honorary member of the Deep Fried Crew. As the Deep Fried Ambassador, you’ll get to experience the fair like you’ve never experienced it before. First, you’ll get to join us at our pre-fair media lunch Monday, Oct. 10, where we introduce journalists to the newest foods, entertainers and fun at the N.C. State Fair. You’ll also be a VIP at the Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup on Preview Day Thursday, Oct. 13. To top it all off, we’ll load you up with some righteous swag, and give you and a friend tickets so you can come back every day of the fair to blog about your experiences.

Any North Carolina blogger 18 years and older is eligible to participate. To qualify, all you have to do is:

  • Publish a post on your blog about why you love the N.C. State Fair and why you would make a great Deep Fried Ambassador. Be sure you let us know how to contact you via e-mail.
  • Once you publish the post, do one of three things:

The deadline for entries is Friday, Sept. 30. We’ll send the winning blogger an e-mail on Tuesday, Oct. 4, when we announce the 2011 Deep Fried Ambassador here on our blog, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Good luck!

Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup Recap

October 15, 2010 By: Bearded Lady Category: 2010 N.C. State Fair

Thanks to everyone who showed up for the 2nd annual Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup at the N.C. State Fair last night. The press office had a great time meeting more than 100 of our social media friends from Twitter and Facebook in real life. We’d like to thank the guys from OurHashtag for helping to plan a great Triangle Tweetup and the guys from TriOut for making the first State Fair scavenger hunt using QR codes a great success.

For those who missed it, the Tweetup featured samplings of some of our favorite Fair foods: deep-fried Chips Ahoy by Murphy House, hush puppies by House Autry Mills, pork samples from N.C. Pork Council and ice cream from Howling Cow. Fair entertainers like Steve Trash wowed the audience with his own brand of eco-magic. Michelle, from Michelle’s Magical Poodles, “trick-or-tweeted” her way through the crowd passing out candy and Al the Artist was drawing caricatures of all our tweeps. Several people test drove the latest My Ford technology on the new Ford Edge, and some even got their flu shot at the Kerr Drug display.

We ended the night with a special Freezerburns Live! event, where frozen food master Gregory Ng compared a corn dog from the Fair with a State Fair brand frozen corn dog. The corn dog from Fair vendor Steven “Flounder” Springs won hands-down. Of course, I think we all knew a fresh Fair corn dog would beat anything frozen.

Click here to watch the recorded stream from the Tweetup or your can watch the Freezerburns show below:

Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup details

October 13, 2010 By: Firecracker Category: 2010 N.C. State Fair

We’re just one day away from the Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup and there’s lots of details to divulge. Here’s the scoop, but expect a few surprises. Who knows what else we’ll wrangle up by Thursday?

Food – yes, this is the Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup, so we’ll have a few fried foods
Deep Fried Chips Ahoy provided by the Deep Fried Heaven stand, (aka Murphy House)
Hush Puppies provided by House Autry (no standing in line in the Commercial Building for these!)
Howling Cow ice cream provided by the N.C. State Dairy Bar (not fried, but OH, so good!)
UPDATE: We’ll also have pork samples from the NC Pork Council’s Pork Chop Shop.

Sponsors
Kerr Drug UPDATE: Get your Flu Shot at the Tweetup!
The Body Shop
CAT bus / R-Line
UPDATE: Ford Drive One Tour will have a Ford Edge on display and talking about their Sync technology

Entertainers
Al the Artist will be providing caricatures
Michelle, the Magical Poodle lady, will be Trick or Tweeting
Steve Trash will again provide fantastic Eco-Magic
HoopDrum will bring some interactive dancing and drumming to liven up the tent
and who knows who else will stop by

And of course, the evening will be topped by a live FREEZER BURNS episode. How cool is THAT?!

Door prizes are being provided by Holiday Inn Express, Kerr Drug, Groupon, Powers Great American Midways and UNC-TV.

The gates open at 3 p.m., so come on out as early as you can. There will be a Deep Fried QR Code Scavenger Hunt where you can earn a T-shirt for finding your way around the fairgrounds. You can start that as early as 3 p.m., but they have to be completed by 8 p.m. We expect it to take about an hour, so plan accordingly. You can prepare yourself now by downloading TriOut to your iPhone and while you’re at it, go ahead and download our State Fair app to your iPhone or Android phone.

Don’t delay, RSVP for the Tweetup today! The cost is $5 and includes your gate admission to the Fair. And also, don’t forget to print your ticket. You WILL need this to get into the gate!

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