Welcome, hockey fans! It’s the NHL All-Star weekend in Raleigh

January 28, 2011 By: Firecracker Category: Uncategorized

Raleigh’s come a long way since the Raleigh IceCaps played “ice hockey” in Dorton Arena. This weekend the city plays host to the the NHL All-Star festivities. Our neighbor, the RBC Center, will host the games and downtown Raleigh is where all the off-ice activities will take place. We hear that our old friend, Lord Stanley’s Cup will be back in town and we hope to say hi. (Nope, we’re not afraid to name-drop!) You see, we got up-close-and-personal with Lord Stanley after the Hurricanes won the coveted trophy in 2006.

The 2006 Press Office with the Stanley Cup

On opening day in 2006, the Stanley Cup made a visit to the N.C. State Fair on behalf of the reigning champions. It was North Carolina’s first professional sports title, so it was fitting that the trophy made a visit to the Fair to be gawked at by thousands of North Carolinians. After all, if you’re going to gawk at a sports trophy, this is definitely the one to do it with.

When the trophy first arrived on the grounds, State Fair folks got a chance to have pictures taken with it. The Press Office departed from tradition of taking our annual office photo on the last day, and instead opted to take our picture on the first day – with “The Cup.”  (Yep, we’re on a one-name basis now.)

After the requisite photo ops, Commissioner Troxler and the trophy handler took Lord Stanley on a few tours of the Fairgrounds. First, they toured from the high vantage point of the Big Cart. (How they got the Cup up there without dropping it is a bit of a miracle.) Then they took a ride on a golf cart to the Ferris wheel. From there, they could easily see the RBC Center, site of the big win.

Afterwards, Lord Stanley’s Cup hung out in the Got to Be NC tent for a few hours to be admired by the long line of folks who dropped by to see it. Even though it is Canadian by birth, we quickly accepted it as a true North Carolinian, like our favorite Canes players.

Commissioner takes the Stanley Cup for a ride on the Ferris Wheel at the 2006 State Fair

Stormy checks to be sure Lord Stanley's Cup is securely fastened in the Ferris wheel before going for a ride with Commissioner Troxler.

We’re excited to be located so near to where the hockey greats will be this weekend. And we wish our Canes All-Stars the best of luck – Eric Staal, Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner. And good luck to Jamie McBain, who will be participating as a rookie in the SuperSkills Competition. Let’s Go Canes!

If you’re gonna make your way to the RBC Center this weekend, stop by the fairgrounds and check out the flea market or the Fly Fishing Expo on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, you can also watch a cheer and dance competition or celebrate the Chinese New Year. For more information, check out the calendar of events. The weather’s gonna be great to welcome thousands of NHL fans to our great state.

Take a world tour at the fairgrounds

October 22, 2010 By: Firecracker Category: 2010 N.C. State Fair

The fall is a busy time for all of us who work at the State Fair. While others get to take time off and go enjoy the autumn leaf season in the mountains, we typically don’t get a chance to take time off and get out of town. I’m not complaining because I really do love my job. However, by the end of October, I am ready for a vacation. I admit that I have spent considerable time daydreaming about what I’m going to do with with my time off. I spend most of that time dreaming about far-off, exotic places. (Cue the dream-sequence music.)

OK, wake up, Firecracker! Vacation is still in the distant future, so I will tour the world via food that is right here on the fairgrounds.

As a recently certified scuba diver, most of my daydreams take place in the warm, clear waters of the Caribbean, so my first stop will have to be Jamaica.

You can find Jamaican flavors at two places on the fairgrounds. Taco Tower and Lee’s Kitchen both have jerk chicken and curry chicken. At Lee’s, you can also get Brownstew chicken, rice and peas and plantains. The Taco Tower, located near Gate 11, adds Mexican cuisine to the menu, including tacos, burritos, taco salad and nachos. Yum! (I’m envisioning white sandy beaches and warm breezes already.) If you’re craving Mexican, Withers Concessions has fajitas, tacos and nachos.

Find Jamaican cuisine in the Midway area next to the Scott Building.

Find Jamaican cuisine at Lee's Kitchen in the Midway area next to the Scott Building.

Mexican and Jamaican food can be found at Taco Tower.

If you want to get farther from home, Polish and Italian sausages are standard fare at the Fair. You can find either at plenty of booths around the fairgrounds. And of course, the Italian staple, pizza, can be found around the grounds as well.

The flavors of the Mediterranean are also available at several booths.

John the Greek serves gyros, shish-ka-bobs, Greek salads, stuffed grape leaves, baklava and more.

John the Greek offers a taste of the Mediterranean.

Party in A Pita has Lebanese and Greek cuisine.

Lebanese and Greek cuisine found near the Expo Center.

Neomonde Bakery & Deli, Strates Fine Foods and Mediterranean Grill have gyros, hummus, falafel, kebobs, salads and more.

The Mediterranean Grill is located on the east side of Dorton.

Neomonde is located across from the permanent lunch stands.

Take a trip to China at Chan’s Concessions, where you can find chicken on a stick, fried shrimp, rice and lomein noodles.

Find Chinese food near Kiddieland or the Expo Center.

If you want exotic cuisine without a passport, then stop by the Ragin’ Cajun joint near the Grandstand. Alligator, crawfish and shrimp gumbo are on the menu. They also have beignets if you have a sweet tooth.

Cajun cuisine near the grandstand.

If you’re in the mood for a trip around the world, come on out the the N.C. State Fair. No matter what type of food you’re looking for, you can find it by checking out the Food Finder on our website. If you have an Android or iPhone, you can take this info with you. Download the State Fair app and use your mobile device to tour the fairgrounds. Just search for “State Fair” in the Android Market or in iTunes.

Got to Be NC Festival headlines a jam-packed weekend at the Fairgrounds

May 18, 2010 By: Firecracker Category: Got to Be NC Festival

Fairgrounds visitors will have plenty of activities to choose from as the third-annual Got to Be NC Festival kicks off a full weeekend of events. The festival runs Friday, May 21, to Sunday, May 23, and will include hundreds of food and commercial vendors, agricultural exhibits, carnival rides and much more.

Festival-goer gets a sample of BBQ at the Carolina Pig Jig at the Got to Be NC Festival at the State Fairgrounds

Festival-goer gets a sample of BBQ at the Carolina Pig Jig at the 2009 Got to Be NC Festival at the State Fairgrounds

Following is the jam-packed schedule of activities at the Got to Be NC Festival:

  • Amran Shriners N.C. Seafood Fish Fry, Friday, beside the Expo Center
    The Shriners will serve N.C. mountain trout, catfish and shrimp from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Cost is $10 per plate. The event is a fund-raiser that benefits the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
  • Mason’s N.C. Pig Jig and BBQ Cooking Championship, Saturday, beside the Expo Center
    Cook-off teams representing 30 N.C. Masonic lodges will prepare their best barbecue pork, chicken and sauces for a chance at awards and bragging rights. Once the barbecue is judged, it will be chopped and sold starting at 11 a.m. Tickets for all-you-can-eat barbecue are $10 for adults; children 12 and under eat free. The event raises money to support the Masonic Home for Children and the Central Children’s Home, both in Oxford.
  • Classic Car Show, Friday, and Harley-Davidson Ride-in, Saturday, near the Grandstand
    Classic cars of all types and eras will be on display Friday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, about 100 bikers are expected to participate in the annual ride from Ray Price Harley-Davidson on South Saunders Street to the fairgrounds, and arrive at noon through Gate 11. Visitors can check out the motorcycle display near the Grandstand, and vote for their favorite in the “People’s Choice” award.
  • N.C. Food & Wine Expo, Friday-Sunday, Expo Center
    More than 100 companies representing products such as wines, peanuts, sauces, candies, fresh produce and meats will sample and sell their goods. Visitors can also enjoy a wine garden area featuring local wineries. The Food & Wine Expo, supported by the Golden LEAF Foundation, will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Geico Triangle Stage and Food Lion Family Picnic Area, Friday-Sunday, near Dorton Arena
    Visitors can enjoy a variety of music on the Geico Triangle Stage. On Friday, the Charlie Albertson Band performs at 1 and 3:30 p.m., and the Barn Burners take the stage at 6 and 8 p.m. Jeanne Jolly and North Tower will play four shows on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, beginning at 11 a.m. each day. Other activities in this area include the NASCAR Street Tour and Water Wars balloon launch.
  • Bluegrass Music, Friday-Sunday, Bluegrass Stage in the Flower Show area
    Triangle band The Boys from Carolina will perform multiple sets all three days, beginning at noon Friday and Sunday, and 11 a.m. Saturday. On Saturday at 1 p.m., 10 amateur bands will compete for top honors and cash prizes in the Bluegrass Band Competition, sponsored by PineCone. The top three bands will be recognized, with the champion taking home $500, runner-up $250 and third place $125.
  • Fiber Fest, Friday-Sunday, Holshouser Building
    Visitors to the new Fiber Fest will see weavers, spinners and crafters demonstrate their skills and offer products for sale. Interactive activities, including sheep shearing, felt making and fiber-color blending, will take place throughout the weekend beginning at 10 a.m. each day.
  • Antique Tractor and Equipment Display and Parade, Friday-Sunday, throughout the grounds
    Thousands of pieces of antique farm machinery, from steam-powered engines built in the 1800s to plows and harvesters restored to showroom condition, will be on display. A tractor parade will loop the festival grounds each day at 11 a.m. New this year will be a special display of Corbitt Trucks and equipment in celebration of the Henderson company’s 100th anniversary.
  • Grandstand Events, Friday-Sunday, Sam G. Rand Grandstand
    Teams of draft horses will test their might against a weighted sled Friday beginning at 6 p.m. The horse pull will be preceded by a children’s stick horse race at 5 p.m. and Rocky the Trick Mule at 5:30 p.m. Antique-tractor pulls are set for Saturday. Pulls will run from noon to 5 p.m. and 6 to 11 p.m. They are sanctioned by the Old Time Tractor Pullers Association and the Carolina Antique Tractor Pullers Association, respectively. On Sunday from noon to about 7 p.m., members of the American Racing Mower Association will race souped-up lawn mowers around the grandstand oval at speeds up to 60 miles-per-hour. Teams will participate in junior- and adult-racing classes to earn trophies and points toward a national championship. Admission to each grandstand event is $5, and tickets will be available at the grandstand box office.
  • Carnival Rides and Games, Friday-Sunday, Midway area
    More than 30 rides and lots of games will be available on the Midway. Buy individual tickets for $1 each, a sheet of 14 tickets for $10 or a sheet of 30 tickets for $20. Serious riders may want to visit on Friday between noon and 6 p.m., when the purchase of a sheet of 30 tickets will also include one free ride coupon, a $4 value, valid on Friday only. Armbands for unlimited rides will be availalbe only on Sunday for $20 each. The carnival is open noon to midnight on Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Other events throughout the fairgrounds offering free admission:

  • The Raleigh Summer Boat Show in the Kerr Scott Building kicks off the weekend at noon on Thursday and continues through Sunday at 5 p.m.
  • WRAL’s Wellness Weekend will take place in the Jim Graham Building from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The event offers dancing, aerobics, health tests and screenings, jazzercising, soccer, rock climbing, a community blood drive and more.
  • Wake County 4-H and District 4-H horse shows will take place at the Hunt Horse Complex on Saturday and Sunday. The events are open to the public.
  • The Raleigh Flea Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Commercial and Education buildings and outdoor locations on Saturday and Sunday.

Free parking will be available near Gates 9 and 10 along Trinity Road and at Carter Finley Stadium.

For more information about the Got to Be NC Festival, visit www.ncagfest.com. For all other fairgrounds events, visit www.ncstatefair.org.

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

smc1Throughout 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.

Sampling Woody’s new buffalo chicken rangoons

October 15, 2009 By: Cotton Candy Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair

We here in the Press Office take our duties very seriously. Between helping the media, organizing the opening ceremony and various press conferences, writing blog posts and news releases and more, we make sure to try out the newest food creations on the fairgrounds and share them with you.

We’ve already tasted deep-fried Ho Hos and chocolate-covered bacon, and yesterday we stopped by Woody’s City Market food stand to try out the new buffalo chicken rangoons. These bite-sized, deep-fried dumplings (similar to the crab rangoons available in many Chinese restaurants) are filled with Woody’s famous buffalo chicken and medium sauce.

Check out our taste test in the video below,  stop by Woody’s (with the giant inflatable Gatorade on top) just beyond the row of restaurant stands and watch for our next taste-testing video.

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

Walk-up ticket locations open today through Oct. 15

October 01, 2009 By: Cotton Candy Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair


View N.C. State Fair walk-up ticket sales locations in a larger map

Walk-up ticket sales locations open today, with eight places in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Wilson and Burlington now selling admission tickets and ride sheets:

All locations accept cash, Visa and Mastercard, and will be open through Thursday, Oct. 15. Each location has its own business hours, so use the Google map above to click on each of the blue location markers to find out when to stop by. You can also use the map to get driving directions to each place.

Take advantage of these locations’ discounted advance ticket prices to save some green, or get your tickets online at www.ncstatefair.org/2009/tickets.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…

August 27, 2009 By: Firecracker Category: 2009 N.C. State Fair

…it’s a N.C. State Fair billboard!

With only (gasp!) 48 days before the gates open for the 142nd annual N.C. State Fair, our advertising is slowly being unveiled. The online campaign started in early August when advance ticket sales began to promote our early bird special through Aug. 30.  [You can join in on the online promotion by getting your own web banners here.] This week, we started hearing rumors that the billboards were up, which is about a week ahead of schedule.

So today at lunch, I ventured up Capital Boulevard in Raleigh to see for myself if the rumors were true. And lo and behold, they are. (Thanks to Mike Coleman of Douglas Displays for that magic!)

smallbillboard

The colors look just a little bit faded, which is perfect with the rugged letterpress design. This one is located just south of the Old Buffalo intersection (across the street from Chuck E. Cheese). But with the simplistic design, hopefully even when you’re speeding past it, you’ll be able to grasp the main points. The State Fair will be held Oct. 15-25 and for more information, hit up our Web site at ncstatefair.org.

The radio and television ads will be up next and will be unveiled a little closer to the Fair. In the meantime, let us know where you’ve seen the online advertising or the billboards!

Social Media Breakfast recap

March 24, 2009 By: Cotton Candy Category: Uncategorized

We had a great time at this morning’s Raleigh Social Media Breakfast. It’s always nice to put faces to names, avatars and commenters, and we were really excited to share information about the Fair.

We met in the Jim Graham restaurant on the State Fairgrounds at 7:45 a.m. to discuss how social media (Facebook, blogs, Twitter and beyond) are changing the way people get their news, communicate and do business. We presented information on the different successes and challenges we had with this new type of media, and here are some the key points we presented on our experience:

  • Our four main goals were to increase buzz and excitement about the Fair; introduce the State Fair to new audiences; interact with the media in new ways; and have two-way conversations with anyone interested in gaining more information on the Fair.
  • As traditional media changes, social media sites, blogging and micro-blogging are increasingly becoming a way to target key audiences and the media with our messages of agriculture, North Carolina heritage, entertainment value and family fun.
  • Our Deep Fried blog, Facebook profile and Twitter page seemed to work the best together, as they fed into each other and encouraged comments and participation across the board.
  • The success of the Deep Fried blog helped us establish our In the Field blog for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as we look for more ways to reach out to future generations of farmers, put faces to government employees and inform consumers about the ways we are serving them.
  • We are looking to new ways to use social media (including Brightkite, social media releases, e-cards, Web site badges, and more) for the 2009 State Fair, as well as how the NCDA&CS can utilize it as well.

We got to share the stage with Eric Miltsch from Auction Direct, who talked about how his organization is using social media in the used-car industry.

We’d like to give a big thanks to Kipp Bodnar, who organized the meeting, and Murphy’s House Restaurant, who graciously opened up the restaurant for us this morning.

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