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State Fair Preparations Well Under Way

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Construction is underway at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.
RALEIGH — The rides, the exhibits, the farm animals:all are part of the annual North Carolina State Fair. In just two weeksthe fair will be taking over Raleigh, but the rush to get everything readyfor the week long extravaganza is already on.

This year, a note of sadness overshadows the excitement. Sam Rand, thefair's manager, died Saturday night. Despite the great loss however, thefair will go on.

Vendors are working feverishly at the fairgrounds to make sureeverything will be in place by October 17, the day the fair opens.And even some fairgoers aren't waiting for opening day. Henry Steevs brought his family out for a sneak peak at the pre-fair activity.

The weeks leading up to the fair provide an adventure for futurefairgoers folks and hard work for the people putting on the fair, especially as the big day gets closer. Assistant Fair Manager Wesley Wyattsays the pace just keeps picking up speed from here on in.

Vendors like David Hensdale spend a lot of time and energy setting uptheir temporaryshops, long before the fair gates open.

Its an annual event for both fair management and vendors, but for thefirst time in 18 years, fair commissioner Sam Rand won't be there.Rand, 65, died of natural causes at his home with the fair just 2 weeksaway. Vendor Jerry Brantley knew Sam Rand for 25 years and describes himas man of his word , someone always easy to work with who will be missed.

Sam Rand's participation in the fair will be missed, but even withouthim, the event will happen.

You don't have to wait until opening day to buy your fair tickets.They are available now at bargain prices. You can purchase tickets at Gate9 on Trinity Road. Adult tickets go for $5, a dollar cheaper thanyou'll pay once the fair starts.Tickets for Kids ages 6 - 12 cost $1. You can also save on booksof ride tickets, they're $8 now and will be $12.50 once the fair begins.The ticket booth is open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., seven days a week.

Photographer:Robert Meikle

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