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Big Changes Planned For 2005 N.C. State Fair

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RALEIGH, N.C. — In less than three weeks the

N.C. State Fair

will open to a throng of visitors again. Preparations are already under way to transform the fairgrounds into a mini city full of exhibits, rides and food. Returning visitors also will notice some big changes this year.

"I think the first thing they'll see when they come to the fairgrounds is that we have a brand new 50,000-square-foot building," said Heather Overton, a spokesperson for the N.C. Department of Agriculture.

Construction crews are putting the final touches on the new Exposition Building, which will open just in time for the fair.

With 40,000-feet of exhibit space, the Exposition Building is double the size of the Kerr Scott Building. It will house horticulture exhibits, bees, honey and animals. This includes the sheep and goat showrooms. But the new building will even offer women something hard to come by at the state fair -- a shorter wait in line at the bathroom.

"Twenty-eight to 30 stalls, that's pretty nice," site manager Randy Frahm said. "You got this beautiful tile. You got the nursing room and changing tables."

Shorter waits in line for rides is another goal organizers have this year, and the Midway will be set up on a newly paved area at the racetrack infield.

"For the people who like our rides, we'll have more rides than ever," Overton said. "We'll have nearly 120 rides at this year's fair."

Organizers expect the 138th state fair, which runs from Friday, Oct. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 23, to attract more than 700,000 visitors.

"I think they have a lot of things on the drawing board," Frahm said. "It will improve from year to year. This is the beginning of a lot of change."


Amanda Lamb

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