Whether it’s food, exhibits or entertainment, there are several new activities the whole family can enjoy at the 2011 Got to Be NC Festival at the N.C. State Fairgrounds, May 20-22. Admission and parking are free.
“North Carolina is fortunate to be one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the country,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The Got to Be NC Festival showcases the best of the food, products and history that are part of N.C. agriculture, our state’s leading industry.”
This year’s festival includes an expanded selection of N.C. seafood, barbecue, wine and food products. The Shriner’s Fish Fry has been extended to all three days of the festival. Seafood lovers can get their fill of N.C. catfish, shrimp and oysters from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily for $7 to $9 per plate.
In addition, the Masonic Carolina Pig Jig barbecue cook-off will include 30 teams representing Masonic lodges and barbecue styles from across the state. Barbecue from the competition will be sold for $10 per plate Saturday, from 11 a.m. until the barbecue runs out.
The Got to Be NC Food and Wine Expo, featuring the best of local food products, includes an expanded wine pavilion this year. Admission to the food and wine expo is $2 for adults and free for children 11 and under. Guests will receive 12 coupons that can be redeemed for purchases made from expo vendors. The expo is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Jim Graham Building.
The Jim Graham Building also will be the home of this year’s bigger and better Carolina FiberFest, offering visitors the opportunity to shop, attend classes and see demonstrations. In addition to fiber-producing animals, there also will be dairy goats, mules and long-horn steers.
The Longbranch Triangle stage will showcase a variety of regional bluegrass and country bands throughout the weekend and an expanded bluegrass band competition Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A new aspect of the music lineup this year is the Community Stage. Located outside the Jim Graham Building, the Community Stage will showcase local singing groups, cloggers and other area talent.
For 2011, there will be more children’s activities at the new AgriPlaza, including an expanded Kidz Zone, more farm animals, storyteller Ma Hutto, working blacksmiths, a chairmaker and information about the future museum of agriculture coming to the State Fairgrounds.
All grandstand events will be free to attend this year, including the tractor pull, draft horse pull and children’s stick horse races. The grandstand also will feature the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, an entertaining display of log rolling, chopping, sawing and other logging tricks. The entire family can enjoy shows Friday at 1, 4 and 9 p.m.; Saturday at 10 a.m., and 4 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 11 a.m., and 3 and 6 p.m. Border collie herding demonstrations will round out the grandstand acts with shows Sunday at 1 and 4 p.m.
Fans of antique tractors won’t be disappointed. Thousands of pieces of antique farm machinery will be on display during the festival. There will be a special exhibit of M Series John Deere tractors manufactured from 1946 to 1952. The exhibit will include rarely seen experimental tractors. Also, children can enjoy the peddle-tractor exhibit and a daily tractor parade led by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
The fairgrounds also will host an exhibition by the Carolina Rollergirls Saturday at noon and a robotics show Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Both events will be held in Dorton Arena.
Gate admission, parking and grandstand events at the Got to Be NC Festival are free. For a complete schedule of events and more information, go to www.ncagfest.com.