We Are Agriculture is a year-long series that will highlight the hard-work done by employees across the Department of Agriculture. Mikaela Lee, Commercial Space Administrator for the N.C. State Fair, is one of those employees. Stay tuned each Wednesday here on the blog or any of our social media accounts and join us in honoring those who continue to drive our state’s agriculture industry forward each day!
The N.C. State Fair is a highly anticipated event for many North Carolinians each fall, including Letrice Midgett, Commercial Space Administrator for the N.C. State Fair. “Ever since I was a child I would come to the fair,” she said. “Although I never believed that I would work here, or for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, it has been the happiest place to spend my career.”
Letrice graduated from Wake Technical Community College where she studied office administration and technology. Twenty-seven years ago, she took her first full-time job out of college in the NCDA&CS Grading and Regulatory Division in downtown Raleigh where she held various positions before taking her current job at the N.C. State Fair in 2005.
A typical day on the job for Letrice depends on the time of year and events being held at the fairgrounds. “My busiest time are the months leading up to the N.C. State Fair,” she said. “Although many people think it is an event that we start planning in August, it is actually a year-long process that starts directly following the conclusion of the fair each year.” Letrice is responsible for managing the vendors of the fair and the Got To Be N.C. Festival. In total, they host 528 vendors between the two events, with 75 of those being reserved for the Got To Be N.C. Festival in May and the other 453 being brought in for the N.C. State Fair in October. “I receive a lot of vendor applications for the N.C. State Fair and I am proud to say that since I have been in this position, the N.C. State Fair has the most diverse vendor selection is has ever had.”
In addition to processing vendor applications each year, Letrice is also responsible for determining vendor placement on the grounds, processing payments, managing menu changes for each vendor, securing vendor inspections and putting vendor packets together each year that consist of tickets, parking passes and other necessary items. “It takes a lot of good math technique to manage the vendor locations and placements each year,” she said. “If they have a 10×10 space, it not only takes management to know who can fit in that space, but where on the grounds that space is available, how many vendors can fit on one street, etc.”
Although she loves many aspects of her job, Letrice’s favorite part is bringing in new vendors for the N.C. State Fair each year. “Some people have applied for five years or more, so calling and letting them know that this is their year and they are officially a vendor for the fair, is incredible rewarding,” she said. “I have the opportunity each year to change lives by bringing vendors out to this fair. Not only that, but I get to build relationships with these good, hard-working people and I will do everything that I can to go to bat for them and help them with anything that they need while they are here.” She also recommends many of her regular vendors to other fairs and events across the state to help promote the business and allow vendors to expand beyond their current customer base.
One job she personally takes on each year at the N.C. State Fair is to help vendors by giving them advice on how they can improve and expand. “I take pictures of each booth yearly at the N.C. State Fair,” she said. “Visual appeal and personal interactions are big parts of driving business out here. So, when I go by each booth and take photos, I then go back to give the vendor my advice on how they can be better and bring in more customers. At the end of the day, all I want is to see them succeed.”
When she is not working out at the fairgrounds, Letrice enjoys visiting other fairs and festivals across the country for new ideas. She’s married to Terrell and they have two children, Jon and Aja Nicole. In her space time, she enjoys going shopping, traveling, reading and spending time with her family. Join us in thanking Letrice for all of her hard work and be sure to say hello if you run into her at the 2022 N.C. State Fair!