Visitors to the 2013 N.C. State Fair can expect to find a mix of old and new when it comes to grounds entertainment and activities.
New musical acts, an elf-like performer who rolls around the grounds on a giant open wheel, high-flying acrobats, a fire safety show with clowns, a dog show and a pedal-propelled structure featuring circus-like aerialists will join such ever-popular acts as the racing pigs, a magician, and a walking talking robot.
All grounds entertainment is free with paid admission, so it pays to pay attention.
The Gantry Bike by Cirque Mechanics makes its debut at the State Fair and will likely attract many onlookers with its tall, pedal-powered mechanical structure that serves as a kind of stage. Aerialists dangle overhead from the structure, spinning and twirling as the whole contraption moves around between Gate 11 and Dorton Arena at noon, 3 and 6 p.m.
It won’t be the only oversized rolling attraction or aerial show joining the entertainment lineup. The Wacky Wheeler is a super-sized open wheel that provides transportation for its entertaining rider, Melvin. Honking horns and colorful flags make the Wacky Wheeler nearly impossible to miss. Look for it near the Scott Building at 11 a.m. and 1, 3 and 5 p.m.
Keeping your attention skyward, Hansen’s Spectacular Acrobatic Sensations is a family affair including the youngest of Shane and Alecia Michelle Hansen’s three children, 3-year-old Ella. This thrilling show features high-speed juggling, acrobatic feats on a trampoline and high-flying performances on the 30-foot-tall cloud swing by Alecia Michelle. The family performs beside the FFA Children’s Barn at noon, 3 and 6 p.m.
The high-flying tricks continue with the K-9s in Flight dog show. This high-energy show features rescued dogs showing off their super-athletic jumping skills and in hot pursuit of Frisbees. The dogs jump, run and spring off the back of trainer John Misita. The dogs will also showcase K9 Dock Diving. Be sure to catch these highly entertaining shows at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. near Gate 9 and the racing pigs.
Karen Quest, billed as America’s Funniest Cowgirl, will entertain visitors at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in Kiddieland. Quest combines roping skills and tricks with humor for an engaging all-ages show.
The State Fair features two stages featuring a variety of musical styles. Larry Cordle, a Nashville songwriter and recording artist, will perform on the Bluegrass Stage in Heritage Circle. His shows are at 4 and 6 p.m., Oct. 17 and 3 and 6 p.m. Oct. 18-27. Diamond Creek, winner of the 2013 Got to Be NC Festival Bluegrass Competition, will perform Oct. 26 and 27 at 11 a.m. and 2 and 5 p.m.
The Kitchen Craft Waterfall Stage will feature several first-time acts such as Descendientes, Dimension and Flamasso Musical. Other performers include GrooveTown, Hicksboro Station and Larry Frick. Performances are held daily at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30, 3, 4:30 and 6 p.m. In addition, there will be special performances on Military Day, Oct. 23.
Even with all the new entertainment planned, fairgoers will still find plenty of their favorites, including the racing pigs, Kenya Safari Acrobats, a magician, a one-man band and a BMX stunt show. Mix in a thrilling midway, lots of food options, arts and crafts, the Folk Festival, agricultural exhibits and livestock shows, and the fair is like an entertainment buffet.
The N.C. State Fair runs Oct. 17-27 at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Advance tickets are on sale now at www.ncstatefair.org. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for kids 6-12. Admission at the gate is $9 for adults and $4 for kids. Walk-up tickets sales will begin Oct. 3 in Burlington, Clayton, Chapel Hill, Durham, Wilson and Raleigh. Go online at www.ncstatefair.org for more information on walk-up sites and hours.
1025 Blue Ridge Boulevard
Raleigh, NC 27607