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State Fair Traditions Remembered

Pig racing, giant pumpkins and a tour of the old grist mill — with a free hushpuppy at the exit — are common traditions we all need badly this year. The rituals of the North Carolina State Fair connect disparate communities and celebrate traditional livelihoods. Host Frank Stasio hears from some of the characters, competitors and vendors who ensure that nothing could be finer. 

Brent Cook is the owner and an announcer for the Hogway Speedway Racing Pigs. Lance Williams is a sophomore at Bunn High School boasting nine first place prizes in the culinary, and bees and honey categories at the 2019 State Fair. Mike Neal is the owner of Hickory Tree Turkey BBQ, whose stuffed turkey leg won the 2019 People’s Choice Best New Food at the fair. Lee D. Baker is a professor of cultural anthropology, sociology and African and African American studies at Duke University.  Franklin County's livestock and beekeeping extension agent Martha Mobley is the owner ofMeadow Lane Farm and serves on the board of the Durham Farmers’ Market. In fact, you can see Meadow Lane Farm’s very own giant pumpkin at the Durham Farmers’ Market on Oct. 31.

While the public celebration of the State Fair is cancelled, you can still get your fair food fix fromOct. 15 to Oct. 25from 22 local vendors. There will also be a drive for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina on the fairgrounds from Oct. 22 from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.Various junior and youth competitions will be held remotely or distanced without spectators at the fairgrounds. 

Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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