The new lemon wafer ice cream was announced Oct. 12 at the fair’s annual kickoff luncheon for news media. The ice cream will be available for purchase at the NC State ice cream booth near the midway, when the fair officially starts Thursday afternoon, Oct. 15.
Brian Long, fair press office director, welcomed the media representatives, while N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler spoke about what was new at this year’s fair, including the Homegrown North Carolina Concert Series, featuring music coming from homegrown performers. “Look at our track record on ‘American Idol,’” Troxler said. “We’re staying here for our talent.” There will be 80 bands playing at various areas throughout fairgrounds, including Dorton Arena and the Waterfall Stage, during the fair’s run, he said.
N.C. Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry explained fair safety procedures in place, such as stringent inspection of rides, and Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison enumerated the security programs and personnel that would be in place during the fair’s 10-day run.
The main attraction on this Monday, however, was food, as guests were invited to sample new and innovative food concoctions that will be available. And while almost everything in the room seemed to include bacon as a key ingredient – including the bacon-wrapped, deep-fried Tootsie Roll dipped in chocolate syrup and sprinkled with powdered sugar — there was a spectrum of foods from simple to strange hybrid recipes.
Among these were delectable crab cakes from Carolina Crab Bites; Granny’s Kitchen’s High on the Hog, a sandwich that combines almost everything you can get from a pig (BBQ, bacon and pork chop) plus slaw—and more; white chocolate mini baguettes from La Farm Bakery; Woody’s deep-fried pimento cheese triangles; Apex Lions Club’s Corn Fritters; Douglas Grover’s Corn in a Cup; and of course country ham biscuits from the Cary United Methodist Church booth, celebrating its 100th year at the fair.
Among other savory offerings were the deep-fried bacon hush puppies and jalapeño pimento cheese hush puppies from the Ragin’ Cajun booth at the fair, the provenance of NC State business alumnus Chris Wrenn and current College of Agriculture and Life Sciences student Joe Fasy, partners in Old North State Catering. Fasy is an NC State senior in CALS’ Department of Agricultural and Extension Education.
Nearby, representing the CALS Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, Carl Hollifield directed the serving of the department’s Howling Cow ice cream. “This year we’re introducing lemon wafer as the new flavor,” Hollifield said. “We plan to roll out a new flavor at the fair every year.”
The fair runs to Oct 25 in Raleigh. —Terri Leith