Comedian James Gregory brings the laughs to Dorton Arena Tuesday, Oct. 23

October 09, 2014 By: Fried Oreo Category: 2014 N.C. State Fair

The Funniest Man in America will be bringing his Southern, down-home, storytelling style of comedy to Dorton Arena on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

James Gregory has been performing stand-up comedy to sold-out crowds in theaters and comedy clubs for over 20 years. Before pursuing comedy, Gregory worked for the U.S. Postal Service, the Department of Defense, and as a salesman selling vacuum cleaners, encyclopedias… you name it.

The Georgia native’s clean style of humor is based on his observations and real-life incidents, turning common and ordinary events into hilarious stories. On his website, Gregory says, “My comedy is based on my real-life experiences. It’s real, it’s funny, and the audience loves it.”

Each week, Gregory can be heard on radio talk shows such as Bob and Tom, Rick and Bubba, and the John Boy and Billy Show, which are broadcast in more than 220 cities nationwide.

Buy Tickets buttonHe’s been featured on TNT’s Weekly Show, “Liars and Legends,” and has performed for more than 300 corporate clients, including Coca Cola, Kroger and the American Red Cross.  Gregory has also appeared on stage with country music stars, Kenny Chesney, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, The Judds, George Jones, and others.

James Gregory performs in Dorton Arena on Tuesday, Oct. 23. Tickets are $5.


Artist Spotlight: Tamela Mann

October 02, 2014 By: Firecracker Category: 2014 N.C. State Fair

A lot of people may be most familiar with Tamela Mann as the character Cora Simmons in the Tyler Perry movie and sitcom, “Meet the Browns” and other Madea movies. But this Dove Award nominee is first and foremost a gospel singer, and a strong one, at that. She got her start with the incomparable Kirk Franklin, singing on five albums, before going solo in 2009.  Her biggest hit, “Take Me to the King,” also earned her a 2013 Grammy nomination for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance.

On her biography, she says she loves touring and ministering to people all over the world through her music. “That’s where I find my joy, when I can sing and minister to people,” she says, “because I see the hope and encouragement that it gives people. It’s something that I will do until I die. I will do this until the Lord calls me home because this is one sure way that I know I can tell people about Him so He can be glorified. I’ll never stop because I love it so much.”

She and her husband of 25 years, David, often perform together. He actually plays the role of her father on “Meet the Browns” and they are hoping to star in a cooking show together, called “Hanging with the Manns.” The pilot episode shows a couple who clearly enjoy each others’ company and have an easy, comfortable style that makes you want to hang out with them.

Buy Tickets buttonTamela Mann performs on Friday, Oct. 17 in Dorton Arena. Tickets are just $10. Her website says that on her album, “Best Days,” “Tamela is on a mission to share the strength and joy that can be found in being a child of God.” I think anyone in Dorton Arena has a pretty good chance of getting that message, judging by her music and her fans.

Ready, Set, Buy! Advance ticket sales open Thursday

July 29, 2013 By: Jane Deere Category: 2013 N.C. State Fair

Advance tickets for the 2013 N.C. State Fair go on sale Aug. 1 at 10 a.m. Buying early is the best way to save if you want to stretch your dollar as far as you can on admission and ride tickets. 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 Thursday at 10 a.m.

We want your ticket-buying experience to be as smooth as possible, so here are some tips to have a stress-free experience:

  • BE PATIENT! Things may run a little slow, but your order won’t time-out.
  • You’ll see  “Buy Now” buttons when it’s time to go on sale. Note: It doesn’t matter what time it is on your computer. The tickets go on sale when the Etix server says it is 10 a.m., so it may be a few minutes earlier or a few minutes later than 10, based on your computer clock. But keep in mind that if you refresh too often, your computer may cache the page and not actually refresh. Check your browser settings to clear the cache if you don’t see the “Buy Now” buttons.
  • You’ll want to choose your concert tickets FIRST. Then go back and buy your admission and ride books.  (Admission is NOT included in the price of concert tickets.) And don’t forget about the Early Bird Special: if you buy at least $60 in purchases before convenience fees, you’ll earn a free admission ticket. (More information on the August Early Bird Special program here.)
  • If you aren’t happy with your seat selection, you can try to check back a little later as better seats MAY be released. This is because a seat selection is held for at least 5 minutes. If a purchase isn’t completed, or if a credit card transaction is not approved, those seats will be re-released into the general pool of tickets available for purchase. WARNING: You are not guaranteed better seats if you wait because it depends on whether or not people go through with their transactions or not, so try this tactic at your own risk!
  • Have your credit card ready- we can only accept MasterCard and Visa. Don’t type spaces or dashes as part of your credit card number. Also, you’ll need to know your credit card’s security code, so go ahead and identify that ahead of time.
  • There is no limit on the number of concert tickets you can purchase, except for the Scott McCreery and Florida Georgia Line concerts, which will have a 10-ticket limit. If you are buying more than 99 concert tickets for any other show, please contact us directly.
  • Lastly, everything is processed through our great ticket partner, Etix. So if you have problems, they are going to need to help you out. Here’s a link to their support page.

Artist Spotlight: Brian McKnight

September 27, 2012 By: Bearded Lady Category: 2012 N.C. State Fair

Brian McKnight plays Dorton Arena Thursday, Oct. 18. Tickets are $15.

With a career that spans more than 20 years, Brian McKnight continues to be a powerful voice in the R&B community. Dedicated fans can probably remember playing his self-titled 1992 debut album on their Walkmans, and rewinding “One Last Cry” over and over and over again. For some fans, including yours truly, Brian McKnight will always be 1999′s “Back at One” album. That album was great for slow dancing and the title track, “Back at One,” taught millions of us about a five-step process to win over our loves.

Flash forward to 2012 and Brian McKnight has a new album, a new television show and an appearance at the N.C. State Fair. His latest single, appropriately named “Fall”, is another smooth love song perfect for slow dancing with your special someone. With fall quickly approaching and the State Fair starting in three weeks, I encourage you all to fall for Brian McKnight all over again. I dare you not to sing along to the chorus of “Back at One” after watching this video:

You can see Brian McKnight perform in Dorton Arena on Thursday, Oct. 18. Tickets are $15. Thursday is also Food Lion Hunger Relief Day at the fair. Four cans of Food Lion brand food get you in the gate for free that day, and all donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

So, come out with your canned goods and concert tickets. You’ll get to see an awesome show and help those less fortunate in our community. If you don’t have tickets yet, you can purchase them online at


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

Note: If video doesn’t appear, try refreshing your browser.

4. State Fair Press Office: Concert lineup announced

Note: If video doesn’t appear, try refreshing your browser.

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.

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