Take a Trip to a Carolina State Fair

2 Oct

Illuminated ferris wheel at a county fair in midwestern USAState fairs are a celebration of food, fun and state pride held annually in most states. Both North and South Carolina will host their 2015 state fairs October 15-25. So take a look. There’s so much more than corn dogs!


At the North Carolina Fair in Raleigh, fair goers in past years have enjoyed fun fare including deep-fried bananas Foster, deep-fried cupcakes, deep-fried Girl Scout cookies and deep-fried barbecue—chopped pork dipped in a cornmeal hush puppy batter. New for 2015 will be deep-fried Carolina Crab Bites.

In Columbia at the South Carolina State Fair, new food for 2015 includes The Southern Belle Burger—a burger with bacon, pimento cheese salad, and fried green tomato. Also look for the Bacon Cinnamon Roll and Sriracha Fire & Ice Kreme—creamy soft serve vanilla ice cream topped with spicy Sriracha sauce, nacho chips and whipped cream.

If non-fried, more familiar food is preferred, you can usually find sandwiches, burgers, roasted corn or turkey legs. And corn dogs.

Competitions and Exhibits

North Carolinians will compete in categories including a horse show, cooking, agriculture, livestock and even graphic design. Check out the daily schedule for NC Fair exhibits, judging schedule and other activities.

South Carolinians will have a chance to compete competitions and show off their best efforts in student art, miniatures, swine herdsmanship, home canning, horticulture, livestock, equine skills and more.

Rides, Attractions and Entertainment

On the midway, expect the traditional ferris wheels, tilt-a-whirls and merry-go-rounds at both state fairs. New in Raleigh for 2015 is the Quasar and Super Cyclone roller coaster and new in South Carolina is the Blitzer, a European-style roller coaster.

The 2015 Homegrown North Carolina Concert Series, a line-up of 63 artists in a wide-ranging variety of genres, is an all-new and free experience for fairgoers! Also at the NC State Fair, kids of all ages will get a kick out of the Circle C Racing Pigs, the Moo-gician, Rock-It the Robot and more.

Check out the Grandstand concerts at the South Carolina fair for nationally known acts including Gladys Knight, The News Boys and several others. Local and roving entertainment will perform daily. Other attractions include Enter the Dinosaurs, NASCAR Night, a petting zoo and sand sculptures.

For complete information on these state fairs, visit their websites:

North Carolina State Fair

South Carolina State Fair

By: Susan Larkin (Vice President, Marketing & Public Relations)

The Color of Sold

30 Sep

White interior decoration planA fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into a tired old space—and when you’re in the process of staging your home to sell, choosing the right paint color can be a very important decision. Take the guesswork out of the equation and save yourself some time and money by familiarizing yourself with the paint colors that are likely to either attract or repel potential buyers.

Buyers need to be able to easily envision themselves making your house their home. And if you’ve plastered half of the walls in your home to match the colors of your favorite football team, chances are it’s going to be pretty hard for buyers to think about anything other than the glaring color on your walls.

Focus on warm neutral colors—think light green, cream, gray and soft yellow. Colors in this palette tend to naturally compliment furniture and décor so buyers don’t have to worry about repainting walls or buying furniture just to match the paint. But more than just creating a neutral palette for the ease of potential buyers—research suggests that neutral colors are proven to create a tranquil environment, making us feel more relaxed and at home.

When selecting colors in the warm palette, try to stay in the middle of the spectrum; for example, a bright yellow living room may turn some buyers away, while a buttery, soft yellow is more likely to be pleasing to the eye. The same goes for gray. Incorporating a gray with dark blue undertones can be too dark and uninviting for some buyers, whereas a soft, light gray is more likely to be appealing to most buyers.

Colors in the bold palette, like bright red, orange or blue are often a roadblock for potential buyers who may struggle to identify with darker hues. And while bolder tints may not work on the inside, experts suggest they will work on the outside. A tasteful tone of deep maroon, dark blue or a rich olive works surprisingly well on your front door and goes a long way towards a good first impression.

Focus on colors that create a warm environment—the home buying process can be long and tedious, so when a buyer finds that house that has a “homey” vibe, it’s as good as sold.

By: Susan Larkin (Vice President, Marketing & Public Relations)

Get (less) personal when home staging.

28 Sep

iStock_000048809298_SmallIn today’s market, the smart seller will put some time and effort toward staging. Home staging takes the focus off you and your personal items and puts it on features of your home. The objective is for potential buyers to feel as if they could drop their bags and move right in. And while a professional stager may give you the best end result, there are many things you can do to get your house closer to that “shows like a model” look.

Clear the personal clutter

In living areas, limit furniture arrangements to a tasteful few pieces. Store any inherited or family pieces that don’t really accentuate the room.

Clear away books, leaving only what you are currently reading and perhaps a few for accessorizing. Clear out stacks of magazines and hobby materials.

If you have children, limit toys scattered around and put away the Pack-n-Play.

In the kitchen, leave only a couple of useful, attractive items or appliances on the countertops. Show off the abundance of storages in your pantry, drawers and cabinets by cleaning out and clearing out.

In the bathroom, keep prescriptions out of sight and find a different place for jewelry, perfume, and rarely used toiletries. Pack or toss all but three changes of linens to create an airy look in the linen closet.

Get rid of distractions.

Remember, your sentimental and personal favorites can become a detriment when selling your home. For example, the master bathroom might have vanity updates and an awesome walk-in shower, but buyers won’t see it because they fixate on the tropical-fish rug and soap dish you purchased as vacation souvenirs.

Throughout the house, keep only a couple of family photos on display.

When finished with these tasks, ask a trusted friend for a no-holds-barred walk through and critique. These steps should help you as you begin to put your house in its best light.

Tony Jarrett
Regional Vice President, Triad and Vice President of Operations

#flashback Friday – Mother Nature Must Have Been a Science Fan

25 Sep

iStock_000044951934_SmallFall is my favorite time of year and in my opinion, offers some of the best natural scenery the Carolinas has to offer. This year in particular, the trees were spectacular – showing shades from bright gold to deep maroon to bright reds.

According to most fall foliage followers, the peak of the season passed around mid-to-late October. Even if you didn’t get a chance to travel to the mountains, there were plenty of beautiful colors to see locally. Carolina tourism gets a boost in the fall from foliage watchers; millions are pumped into the states’ economy as people devote time to view this natural phenomenon.

But there are years where the leaves aren’t as vibrant. I’ve heard plenty of wives’ tales about why that happens, but it’s really all about biology, chemistry and metrology – proving that Mother Nature loved science.

And it’s more about the lack of color than more color.

The chemical pigment in the leaves, chlorophyll, allows sunlight to produce sugar and starches in the tree system. This is why leaves appear green. As the days get shorter, the tree halts the production of chlorophyll, and other chemical pigments present have their chance to shine.

The orange colors come from carotenes – the same ones found in pumpkins and carrots.  Yellow leaves? That’s xanthophylls, common to corn, egg yolks and sunflowers.

At some point in Mother Nature’s process, a wall of cells form where the leaf meets the tree, trapping the sugar in the leaf. That’s when anthocyanins are produced, which are responsible for the red shades. Tannins, also found in sweet tea, bring out the browns.

And if that’s not enough science for you, meteorology comes into play. Temperatures and rain in the spring – combined with sunny, mild autumn days – impact the tree’s natural process and ultimately, the colors and duration of fall foliage.

And to make things really interesting, Mother Nature gave each species of tree something unique, creating the beautiful kaleidoscope that is fall in the Carolinas.

While this year’s prime foliage season is waning, you can follow the colors next season by checking out the Leaf Peepers report at www.visitnc.com for North Carolina and www.southcarolinaparks.com for South Carolina.

I rarely think about the science; I just love the colors. Bright gold and deep russet are my favorites. What are yours?

By: Susan Larkin (Vice President, Marketing & Public Relations)

Welcome to Wesley Chapel

23 Sep

It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child.

Wesley Chapel OfficeIn the village of Wesley Chapel, North Carolina – where the population has grown nearly 200 percent since 2000 and more than 400 percent since 1990, there’s a high likelihood that this dynamic Southern village of 7,500 is “raising” many children, as well as families of all shapes and sizes.

We’re planning to serve the real estate needs of those families with our newest Allen Tate office in Wesley Chapel – our 41st office in the Allen Tate footprint in North and South Carolina.

We opened our second Union County-based office on September 9. The location is ideal – directly in front of Target in the Village Commons Shopping Center at 6330 Weddington Road, Suite A-2. This highly visible retail intersection is convenient to Wesley Chapel, as well as the surrounding communities of Weddington, Indian Trail, Stallings, Monroe and Matthews.

“The location is a natural billboard for Allen Tate. If you drive by, you can’t help but see it,” said Wendi Hensel, Wesley Chapel branch leader.

The new office features a flex-space design, which caters to agents who prefer to work “on the go” but occasionally need a “landing pad” in an office environment. It features an open floor plan, agent offices, video displays and conference space to accommodate up to 25 Allen Tate Realtors® and staff.

Wesley Chapel is convenient to Charlotte and its amenities, while offering a small-town, somewhat rural feel. Numerous new subdivisions offer a multitude of housing options at various price points. Crime is low, schools are good and quality of life is excellent.

Allen Tate is excited to be part of the growth of Western and Southern Union County. Stop by and see us and let us show you all that the village of Wesley Chapel has to offer.


Phyllis Brookshire
President, Allen Tate Realtors®

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