Local News

N.C. State fair goes green

Posted October 17, 2007
Updated April 30, 2008

— The North Carolina State Fair has gone green. The lights, rides and games are being powered by alternative fuel.

"Every light out here is lit by soybean, bio-diesel fuel,” Charlie Belknap of Powers Great American Midways said. "It's cleaner burning, it's better for the engine, it's better for the environment.”

Twenty percent of the fuel used is made from soy, and nearly 30,000 gallons of it comes from North Carolina farmers.

"If it's going to help the economy around here, I'm all for it," fairgoer Ralph Nicky said.

"I think that's great. I think that's really good. I think it's about time we start using different types of fuel," fairgoer Heidi Pallesen said.

Fair organizers said they tried soy bio-diesel for the first time last year. Then, the fuel only contained 5 percent soy.


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  • Hans_Dieter_Peter Oct 17, 2007

    speaking of breakthroughs, the big one to look for in the near future will be figuring out how to turn cellulose into hydro-carbons. When that occurs, alternative fuels will a serious thing to look at. Other than that, I did notice there were not any recycling bins at the fair. Although I'm personally a fan of using re-usable glass bottles, I can see the problems with that in the context of the state fair.

  • wildervb Oct 17, 2007


    I wish that were true, but from what I've read about the subject, and the yields that can be obtained, all our available farmland would not produce enough bio-fuel to supply our current consumption. (And of course we'll still have to eat)

    Maybe there will be some technological break throughs that could make this a reality.

  • dhoggard2 Oct 17, 2007

    We could power all of our cars, and a lot more in this country with bio products which would in turn make our farmers wealthy and the air cleaner and engines run longer and cars last longer while cutting the economic throats of the middle east and allowing us to bring our boys and girls home.. AND >. we could get it done and pretty quickly if ALL OF THE CONGRESSMEN AND SENATORS WERE NOT SELL OUTS TO THE OIL COMPANIES!!

  • jeebk04 Oct 17, 2007

    Lord have mercy. Nothing satisfies some folks, huh? I say, GREAT JOB!!!

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Oct 17, 2007

    Water for those rides came from the septic tank just behind the farm animal exhibits. ;-)

  • Longshanks Oct 17, 2007

    Speaking of the water fountain, wonder where the water came from for the log flume and kiddie bumper boat ride? Must have been THOUSANDS of gallons used to fill those.

  • tchastain Oct 17, 2007

    You would also think that if they really are concerned with being green, they would add some recycle bins to collect all of those plastic drink bottles. I never saw a single one once I got out of the parking lot. Those in the parking lot are courtesy of NCSU or the RBC Center. That's a lot of plastic going into the landfill that could have been recycled.

    It's good that they are *trying*, but I agree that it is falling short. There's so much more they could have done.

    At least the water fountain was not running.

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Oct 17, 2007

    The reason for generators is that it is not reasonable or feasible. For fair vendors to use domestic power there is a permitting issue as well as safety. It's one less thing for them to deal with. Amusement park rides vary widely in configuration and power demands and to have permanent hook-ups capable of accepting the many different types would be a nightmare to deal with.
    Your observation is a valid one and would surely reduce pollution but by the time vendors apply for permits, connect feeders and then wait on inspections, the fair would be over.

  • nowon_yuno Oct 17, 2007

    I thought they made a big deal about it being green last year. So what. I'm a little skeptical of a movement that tries to shame you into doing something, especially when the science of it all is split right down the middle, and people on both sides of the argument are starting to ignore science all together. I guess grant money or increased tax revenue is a real motivator. Bio-diesel demand is driving food prices up, see yesterdays "USA Today." So the next new thing will be: "Don't drive, feed a starving kid." But if the planet is going to you know where in a hand basket, maybe a little population dip will benefit the planet ovrall.

  • Hans_Dieter_Peter Oct 17, 2007

    yep, you pretty much said it. This is as much of a publicity issue than anything else. Although we have made a huge amount of headway, alternative fuels have a long way to go. In fact, many use as much petroleum based fuel to produce as it would take to fuel whatever in the first place. Take a look at Nation Geographics article a few weeks ago. The best way I know of to deal with our fuel fettish is to not only pursue making alternatives more effiently, but more importantly we should change how we use fuel. In my opinion our habits seem to be at the bottem of our problem.