North Carolina State Fair

Brett Villena

The Raleigh-based hip-hop group Kooley High started nearly a decade ago after its members had spent years trading rhymes with each other on campus at North Carolina State University.  In 2004, some of Kooley High's members started a hip-hop club on campus called "H2O" and helped spark a grassroots rap scene in the city.  

The 2016 North Carolina State Fair kicked off last weekend and the list of bands playing this year is quite impressive. Here's a list of our top picks.

(Hear music by these bands and more on WUNC Music, our new streaming and HD2 music channel.)

Wednesday, 10/19
SUPERCHUNK with SKYLAR GUDASZ
Dorton Arena, 7:30 PM

NC State students school Howling Cow ice cream.
NC State University

As the North Carolina State Fair opens today, some of the concessions are bound to draw as many thrill-seekers as the rides. 

The fair website boasts a Food and Ride Finder that features 26 new menu items, from Carolina Crab Bites to Deep Fried Klondike Bars to S'moreos Specialty Apples.

Scott Strother owns S-2 Concessions which will present two new deep-fried items this year. One is a bacon-wrapped jumbo Tootsie Roll. The other: A peanut butter pickle.

NC State Fair
Wendy via Flickr/Creative Commons

It's time for the North Carolina State Fair  again.  The 11-day festivities kicked off in Raleigh Thursday, but the fair has been in the headlines a lot these past months. 

A picture of a handgun being pulled from a purse.
Flickr

The North Carolina General Assembly expanded the rights of concealed-carry permit holders last year. But now, Agriculture officials and gun rights activists disagree about what that means for the State Fair.

Grass Roots North Carolina activists have threatened to sue the Fair, saying that includes the fairgrounds in Raleigh.

The fair has a long standing gun ban. But new language in state law now allows concealed-carry permit holders to have firearms at any assembly where a fee has been charged for admission.

Photo: Ferris wheel at the N.C. State Fair
Flickr user Kevin Oliver

When North Carolina legislators passed a law this summer charging sales tax on admissions to live entertainment events in the state, they made a list of exempt groups.

But exactly who doesn’t have to pay created confusion, so now law makers have a more clear proposal: Tax everyone, except for K-12 schools and all-volunteer groups.

Technical Park International

Authorities have issued arrest warrants for the owner of a ride at the North Carolina State Fair that investigators say injured five people after safety equipment was tampered with.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office said the warrants for 32-year-old Joshua Gene Macaroni were issued Wednesday. The statement said Macaroni is charged with two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and a third felony charge of assaulting a juvenile.

Wake County Shjeriff's Office

The man accused of tampering with a thrill ride at the North Carolina State Fair had his first court appearance Monday.

Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow is charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting bodily injury. 

A judge denied a defense request to reduce his $225,000 bond.  Prosecutors are concerned that because he has no ties to the area, he may be a flight risk. 

Raleigh attorney Roger Smith, Jr. is representing Tutterrow.

www.flickr.com/photos/ncstatefair
NC State Fair

Officials with the North Carolina State Fair say a worker has been injured while disassembling a ride.

Fair spokesman Brian Long says a 35-year-old man was hurt early Monday morning when a piece of one of two rides called the Vortex fell on him.

The ride is not the same one that injured five people last week.  The man's name and condition have not been released.  He was taken to WakeMed Hospital. 

State fair organizers say this year's midway is expected to be one of the best attended of all time.  Final attendance figures for Sunday will be released Monday.  

Technical Park International

State Fair organizers are continuing their investigation into why a thrill ride malfunctioned injuring five people.  Fair-goers won't be able to ride "The Vortex" this final weekend of the 2013 fair.  The ride revved up again unexpectedly after it was stopped to let people off Thursday night. Two of the five people were said to be critically hurt.  

A plate of ham biscuits
Robyn Lee, Flikr

The North Carolina State Fair is coming to a close, which means time is running out to sample a smorgasbord of foods: turkey legs and fried Oreos. Ostrich burgers and pork BBQ egg rolls. Or perhaps your palate runs to the more traditional. If that's the case, then perhaps you should head over to the Cary United Methodist Church booth.

www.flickr.com/photos/ncstatefair
NC State Fair

Police say it was an apparent malfunction that led to five injuries on a ride at the North Carolina State Fair.

The incident happened Thursday night shortly after 9 p.m. on a ride called The Vortex.

"We have been told that the ride had stopped and they were unloading, and all of the sudden, the ride started up again," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison in a press conference Friday morning.

Harrison said that report is preliminary and investigators are still looking into exactly what caused the accident.

NCDA&CS

The North Carolina State Fair is getting ready to open its gates Thursday. The 11-day event features rides, exhibits, livestock, and entertainment. The State Fair's Brian Long says there's always something new on the food front.

"We have a massive double caramel apple that's called a 'double decker doozy' that's been covered in chocolate and other candy and what not," explains Long.

Fans of rides, animals and fried food are looking forward to the start of the North Carolina State Fair later this week. Organizers expect another good crowd after last year's attendance topped one million people. Brian Long is a spokesman for the fair. He says music is also a big attraction at the annual event.

The state Department of Agriculture is making some changes at this year's State Fair. Twenty-five people became sick from E.coli contamination after last year's fair concluded. A task force was formed by State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler to explore ways to keep infections from happening again. Some food vendors are being moved from areas where competition animals are kept. Troxler says a better effort is being made to limit human and animal contact.

Officials say a livestock building at the State Fair is the likely source of an E-coli outbreak that made 27 fairgoers sick.

State officials say their investigation doesn't point to any specific animal or breed of animal. But they're confident the bacteria came from the Kelley building at the fairgrounds, where cows, goats and sheep were housed. Megan Davies is the state epidemiologist.

Megan Davies: "It is shed intermittently by these animals naturally, so it's likely to be on an animal or in their environment at any given moment. "

The North Carolina State Fair attracted more than million people for the second straight year. The fair closed out its 10-day run yesterday with more than 100,000 people. But overall attendance fell about 7 percent short of last year's record numbers. State agriculture spokesman Paul Jones says vendors reported mixed reviews about this year's revenue.

State fair officials say attendance has been strong at the annual event this year.

Last year the state fair set a record attendance level of more than a million people. But spokesman Brian Long says he and other officials aren't really interested in breaking that record.

Brian Long: "We're very pleased with where we are right now numbers-wise, but we just want people to take advantage of the good weather that's coming up and come on out. "