From the tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
With the arrival of fall, the nights are growing longer and a few have come with a chill in the air. Football games are being played across the state at high schools, colleges and pro sports venues.
Those things also mean that it is fair time. We have recently wrapped up the annual Mountain State Fair in Fletcher with a good 10-day run. The weather was cooperative and we had strong attendance. The livestock shows were busy, there were many mountain crafters showcasing their work, young children and adults proudly showing their livestock, and the clogging and musical talent on display were outstanding.
Everywhere I went around the fairgrounds, I saw people having a great time with their families and friends. Just as we want it to be.
I am so proud of this event, because it truly showcases the best of the mountains and the people of Western N.C. You couldn’t ask for a better backdrop for a fair than the North Carolina mountains.
The N.C. State Fair is just a few weeks away, Oct. 15-25 in Raleigh and the theme this year is “Nothing Could Be Finer.” I always look forward to both of our fairs, because they are times of great celebration and offer a chance to gather together.
If you haven’t already made plans to attend, there is still time. The N.C. State Fair is the largest in the state, highlighting our rich agricultural heritage along with our dynamic agriculture and agribusiness industry.
I know many people come for the food and rides, but hopefully they learn a little more about the industry that provides us with food, fiber, fuel and jobs.
Be sure to check out the livestock shows and displays we have, especially the youth shows on the opening weekend of the fair. These competitions are important in helping develop the next generation of livestock producers. Some will even earn money for their college funds through the Junior Livestock Sale of Champions. It’s a great program.
The horticultural displays and competitions also highlight many commodities grown in the state. Walking up and down the aisles in the Expo Center, you get a sense of just how much agricultural diversity we have in the state. Visitors will find apples, beans, exotic fruits and vegetables, peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, zucchini and watermelons, among others.
This year we are adding an open-sided tobacco pavilion in Heritage Circle where tobacco cured during the fair will be “sold” during a mock auction. Many people who grew up raising tobacco will remember what it was like to go to the warehouse to sell their tobacco, but for some people this will be a first-time experience.
If you come to the fair on the opening Friday, you can even come by Heritage Circle from noon to about 4 p.m. and help us put up the barn of tobacco by stringing or looping sticks of the Golden Leaf. No experience is necessary. We will train you.
I hope to see you there!