The 2012 Got to Be NC Festival will take place starting May 18 at the State Fairgrounds and run through the 20th. "The Got to Be NC Festival is a celebration of North Carolina food and heritage that the whole family can enjoy," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "It'll have rides, games, music, agricultural exhibits and about 1,000 pieces of antique tractors and farm equipment."
The festival has new Friday hours – noon to midnight. Hours for Saturday and Sunday remain 9 a.m. to midnight and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., respectively. Festival admission and parking are free.
For festival information, visit www.gottobencfestival.com
Highlights of the festival this year include:
Authors will sign cookbooks Friday at Food and Wine Expo
The Food and Wine Expo will again highlight a variety of North Carolina foods and wines. On Friday from noon to 6 p.m., the expo will also feature cookbook signings by North Carolina authors. They are Linda Watson, author of "Wildly Affordable Organic"; Debbie Moose, whose latest book is "Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy"; James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame member and Raleigh native Jean Anderson; James Beard Award-winning chef Andrea Reusing of Chapel Hill's Lantern, whose first book is "Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes"; Foy Allen Edelman, author of "Sweet Carolina: Favorite Desserts and Candies from the Old North State"; and Bob Garner, whose first two books on North Carolina barbecue have been combined into an updated and expanded version, "Bob Garner's Book of Barbecue: North Carolina's Favorite Food," scheduled for release this month. Visitors may bring cookbooks with them or purchase them at the event.
Expo admission is $2, and visitors receive a sheet of 24 coupons with special offers on products available at the expo.
All-you-can-ride wristbands available Friday and Sunday
People who like carnival rides will have two opportunities to purchase all-you-can-ride wristbands for $20. Wristbands will be sold at ride ticket booths Friday between noon and 5 p.m., and riders can use them until midnight. Riders can purchase and use wristbands all day Sunday. Wristbands will be not be sold or accepted on Saturday.
Bicycle stunt riders compete Sunday
A BMX bicycle stunt-riding competition joins the festival lineup Sunday in Dorton Arena. The second stop in the Trans Jam BMX Contest Series will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Contestant registration will open at 9 a.m. The competition will feature participants of all ages and skill levels contending for prizes and a $1,000 professional purse. The event will also feature bicycle-related exhibitors and vendors, a display of vintage bicycles and an art contest for children. Admission for spectators is free, but there is a fee for competitors. For information about competing, visit www.transjambmx.com.
Kid-friendly attractions all weekend
As usual, children will find plenty to do at the festival. On Friday, the Walmart Grandstand will be full of free activities for the kids, including relay and stick horse races.
The Agri-Plaza near the Expo Center will feature daily barnyard heritage programs plus hands-on educational activities, arts and crafts with an agriculture focus.
Rocky the Trick Mule will perform free shows in the Grandstand Friday and near the Holshouser Building Saturday and Sunday.
Many of the tractors on display at the festival will take part in a daily parade. Parade times are 1 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.