The N.C. State Fair kicks off Thursday, and with that the third year of the Homegrown Music Fest concerts with acts from North Carolina, or with ties to North Carolina.
The 150th State Fair is Oct. 12-22 at the State Fairgrounds.
Ronnie Milsap, a Robbinsville native and Country Music Hall of Famer, is this year’s biggest name. He’ll headline Oct. 16 at Dorton Arena, the fifth night of the fair.
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Other Dorton draws include rising country hitmakers Parmalee, 1990s-vintage Chapel Hill pop band Dillon Fence and nights given over to gospel, soul and beach music.
There are also a few out-of-state ringers, though with North Carolina connections. Before Jump, Little Children wound up in their hometown of Charleston, S.C., the band formed 26 years ago at the N.C. School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. In a nod to diversity, Jump’s opening act will be She Returns From War, fronted by transgender woman Hunter Park.
And Marcy Playground (of 1997’s “Sex and Candy” fame) is from New York but has numerous business ties to North Carolina through State Fair show producer Deep South Entertainment.
The opening night of the fair, Oct. 12, will also feature a battle of the bands with a lineup that was selected by public vote in September.
Every night, 150 commemorative coolers will be given away at Dorton Arena to the first 150 people that line up for the evening shows, to celebrate the fair's 150th anniversary.
Fair-goers can begin lining up at 6 p.m. for the night shows. Doors open at 7 p.m. Shows start at 7:30 p.m.
For those who can't make it to Dorton Arena, select shows will be broadcast on the North Carolina Channel, part of the UNC-TV network.
The complete lineup for all three stages goes like this:
Oct. 12 – Battle of the Bands featuring Retro Candy, Moore Brothers Band and Betting for Benson
Oct. 13 – On The Border (tribute to The Eagles)
Oct. 15 – Come Together with Bay Leaf Church (worship)
Oct. 16 – Ronnie Milsap (country)
Oct. 20 – Chairmen of the Board featuring Ken Knox (beach)
Oct. 21 – Dillon Fence, Preeesh! (alternative)
Oct. 12 – Zoocru
Oct. 18 – Military Day
Heritage Circle Stage
Oct. 12 – Cane Mill Road
Oct. 13 – Hey Brothers
Oct. 14 – GrassStreet
Oct. 15 – Lang Sisters Band
Oct. 16 – Sideline
Oct. 17 – Massive Grass
Oct. 18 – Southern Magnolia
Oct. 19 – Three Jack Jenny
Oct. 20 – BackPorch Bluegrass
Oct. 21 – Shannon Baker and the Classic Stepbacks
Oct. 22 – Barefoot Movement