RALEIGH – If you are going to celebrate North Carolina’s agriculture and agribusiness industry, you have to have food and plenty of it. The Got to Be NC Festival presented by Lowes Foods will offer a variety of food options for visitors May 15-17 at the State Fairgrounds.
“Every food item starts on a farm, so it makes sense that an event that celebrates North Carolina’s No. 1 industry will feature some of the best culinary items our state has to offer, whether they are grown, raised, caught or made,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
The Home Grown Fare in the Expo Center will feature food, beer and wines produced in the state. Festivalgoers can sample many of the products offered, and purchase their favorites to take home. Nearly 100 vendors will take part in the Home Grown Fare. Admission is $2 and includes a sheet of coupons for products being sampled and for groceries at Lowes Foods.
The Great Carolina Food Bizarre presented by Lowes Foods will offer up some most-unusual food items along with a carnival atmosphere under a big tent. Bring your sense of adventure if you want to try Doctor L’s Mystical Solid Liquids featuring edible sweet tea or chewable Cheerwine, pimento cheese ice cream, and doughnut holes filled with livermush, fried and served on a stick with honey mustard swine sauce. There are even more offerings, including spicy chicken livers deep fried in House-Autry breading and served with Scorched Earth dipping sauce, and Carolina frog legs fried in a sweet swamp batter served with pickled ribbit sauce, and tart, white cotton candy cobwebs with sticky gummy spiders. This is not your usual fare.
The Great Carolina Food Bizarre tent will also feature fire breathers, stilt walkers and high-flying aerialists to add to the big-top feel.
On Saturday beginning at 11 a.m., about 40 teams of Masons from across the state will compete in the 9th Annual Masonic Carolina Pig Jig to benefit the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford. Teams will compete for trophies and bragging rights in this popular fundraiser. For $15, guests 12 and older can eat their way through the competition, sampling pork barbecue and fixings at each pig cooker. This all-you-can-eat event is popular, so festivalgoers should plan to come early and with empty stomachs. The cost for kids ages 7 to 11 is $5, and free for kids 6 and under.
A number of food vendors will also be set up around the grounds for visitors looking for more traditional festival food.
In addition to the food selections, the family-friendly festival features a full carnival, live music, a daily tractor parade, agricultural exhibits, and one of the largest displays of antique tractors and farm equipment in the Southeast.
The 2015 Got to Be NC Festival presented by Lowes Foods is a production of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 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.
Entertainment schedules and other details are available at www.gottobencfestival.com.