Heritage Circle


Don't let the relaxed atmosphere of Heritage Circle fool you, the nook near the Flower Show has some of the most hard-working people at the N.C. State Fair. There is plenty of activity at the circle, from the crew maintaining the tobacco barn during the fair to the craftsmen demonstrating their traditional methods of woodcarving, blacksmithing and chair-building. Visitors can also enjoy the taste of  homemade ice cream, apple cider or a hush puppy from the Old Grist Mill as they listen to engaging stories or the sweet melodies from the Bluegrass Stage.


The exhibit area is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m., except on Thursday, Oct. 13, when the exhibit will open

at 4 p.m.

School House


This historic school house from Lizard Lick serves as the N.C. State Fair's museum. Paul and Lynn Blakinship serve as the State Fair historians and have collected State Fair memorabilia from throughout the fair's 160-year history. Hours vary.


Flue Cured Tobacco Barn


Come to Heritage Circle and see the working tobacco barn as volunteers cure tobacco the old-fashioned way. The barn will be filled on Friday, Oct. 14, from around noon until about 5 p.m. The leaves will be strung on sticks and hung in the barn the same way it was done across North Carolina for generations.


Everyone is welcome to help! At 2 p.m., a stringing contest, sponsored by John Deere Ice Cream, will name the state champion. Grab some friends and join the competition. Entry time, and practice time, will be Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., while the barn is being filled. After the barn is loaded, the tobacco will be cured by a wood fire for seven days. Fairgoers can take a peek inside the barn to see the process. After it is cured, visitors will be allowed to go inside and see the result of the hard work.

A mock tobacco auction will be held Friday, Oct. 21, at 2 p.m. in the Tobacco Pavilion.



James Madren will demonstrate his woodcarving technique to handcraft large, dough bowls. Learn from Lyle Wheeler, whose shaker-style chairs are crafted through the traditional methods dating back to colonial days. See live blacksmithing demonstrations, and taste homemade ice cream, apple cider and get a hush puppy sample from the Old Grist Mill.


The Church in Heritage Circle

The Campers on Mission host a variety of entertainment daily at 12:30, 1:45,

3 and 4:15 p.m. They also host church services on Sunday mornings at 8:30

and 11 a.m. The organization also provides food and services to carnival workers.



Old Grist Mill



Experience a historic, working grist mill and get a delicious hush puppy sample.


A gristmill (also: grist mill, corn mill or flour mill) grinds grain into flour. The term can refer to both the grinding mechanism and the building that holds it.


Although the terms "gristmill" or "corn mill" can refer to any mill that grinds grain, the terms were used historically for a local mill where farmers brought their own grain and received back ground meal or flour, minus a percentage called the "miller's toll." Early mills were almost always built and supported by farming communities and the miller received the "miller's toll" in lieu of wages. Most towns and villages had their own mill so that local farmers could easily transport their grain there to be milled. These communities were dependent on their local mill as bread was a staple part of the diet.

Forest Service Exhibit

Up the hill from Heritage Circle, be sure to check out the 21-foot-tall Smokey Bear display and learn about trees and how to prevent forest fires from the N.C. Forest Service Exhibit.


Also in this area is a working steam-powered sawmill. Volunteers are on hand to explain how the engine works and show how it was used to transform timber into boards.