Family-friendly activities planned for Got to Be NC Festival


RALEIGH — From pig races and daily tractor parades to live music and fantastic fireworks, there is something for every member of the family at the 2014 Got to Be NC Festival. The annual celebration of agriculture returns to the N.C. State Fairgrounds May 16-18.

Children will love exploring the Agri-Plaza and Kidz Corral between the Jim Graham and Expo buildings. They will have a chance to see baby chickens hatch, watch ducklings slip and slide in a pool, see longhorn steers up close and learn how to milk a goat. Children of all ages will also enjoy the daily pig races held at the Hogway Speedway near the antique tractor display.

More excitement can be found on the midway with dozens of carnival rides and games. On Friday, thrill seekers can purchase an unlimited-ride wristband for $20 from noon until 9 p.m. The wristband is good for the entire day. The same deal is available on Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Walmart Grandstand will feature a variety of free entertainment throughout the festival. On Friday, visitors can enjoy dog demonstrations from the Wake County Sheriff’s Canine Unit at 1 and 5 p.m. and the Dog Gone Fast Flyball Group at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Also on Friday, riders from Carousel Farms will perform a patriotic flag presentation on horseback at 4 and 8 p.m. On Saturday, massive antique tractors will compete to see who can pull the most weight in the antique tractor pull competition from 2 to 8 p.m. On Sunday, visitors can enjoy garden tractor and lawnmower pulls from 2 to 7 p.m.

The action-packed Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show returns to the festival this year with daily shows near Dorton Arena. Spectators will be amazed as world champion lumberjacks demonstrate a variety of sawing techniques in a humorous and educational way. For those who prefer chassis to chainsaws, the lifted-truck drive-in on Sunday will not disappoint. More than 100 lifted and custom trucks will join the display of antique tractors and farm equipment on the final day of the festival.

In addition to the daily lineup of entertainment options, fireworks are planned for 9:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The fairgrounds will host a variety of other events that weekend. The Raleigh Flea Market will have an expanded footprint and operating hours during the festival. The Chatlee Boat Show will take place in the Scott Building. In the Holshouser Building, dog lovers can watch the Independent Labrador Specialty Dog Show on Saturday and Sunday. Also on Saturday and Sunday, the Hunt Horse Complex will host the Wake County and District 4-H Horse Shows with hunter, western, non-trotting and dressage classes. All of the events are free and open to the public.

Festival hours are Friday from noon to 10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Gate admission and parking are free. More information and a schedule of events are available at www.gottobencfestival.com.