Commissioner Steve Troxler: NC State Fair Opens Thursday!

Last week we talked a lot about some of the new things coming to the fair, but there’s one thing the fair won’t be short on and that’s AGRICULTURE!

  • The State Fair is a great backdrop to showcase North Carolina’s No. 1 industry and it is important to use this venue to help the non-farming public learn more about agriculture and agribusiness.
  • So there is lots and lots of agriculture at the State Fair.
  • Another new thing that will debut this year is a brand new “old” flue-cured tobacco barn in Heritage Circle. The old one had a lot of termite damage and needed to come down, so between fairs a new barn has gone up in Heritage Circle.
  • I’d like to invite everyone to come help us load the first barn of tobacco on the first Friday. We will have a tobacco stringing contest at 2 p.m. You can win some money if you have the fastest stringing team. The winning team earns $250, the second-place team gets $150 and the third-place team takes home $100. It’s free to sign up.
  • We always have a great time at this event, and folks take it pretty seriously. Growing up in tobacco like I did, it’s hard to think of stringing tobacco as a fun nostalgic activity, but every year you’d be surprised how many people come out to help us put in that barn of tobacco.
  • At 1:30 p.m. we will have a warm-up celebrity stringing contest between Lynda Loveland with the N.C. Farm Bureau and me.
  • We have been doing this for a couple of years now and I have mostly won. The last time, my string broke and she was able to edge me out for the win, so I will be looking to reclaim my winning title.
  • During the fair, the tobacco that has been put in the barn will cure, and then we will have a mock tobacco auction on the second Friday at 2 p.m.
  • It’s a rare chance to see a traditional tobacco auction. And as you know, tobacco isn’t cured or sold this way anymore, so we are proud to showcase this part of North Carolina’s heritage.
  • We will bring in retired auctioneers, tobacco company buyers, and warehousemen to “sell” this tobacco. This event always draws a crowd, so come early so you can get a seat.
  • Going down the line of sheets of tobacco with the buyers and auctioneer brings back a lot of memories for me and for a lot of other people, too. It’s a great time. I hop you will join us.
  • And, I don’t want you to miss the livestock shows either. On the opening weekend, we host our junior shows with youngsters from across the state competing with their cattle, hogs, turkeys, goats and lambs.
  • We will hold the Sale of Champions Saturday evening at 6 p.m. in the Graham Building. Last year we set a new sales record of $190,000 for the grand and reserve grand champions.