Visit WRAL-TV in a Whole New Way at the State Fair

Donna Natosi

The WRAL-TV People Garden had only been set up at the 2021 North Carolina State Fair before a kind couple setting up their own tent stopped by and asked to get an early pic. WRAL-TV’s Donna Natosi happily obliged.

The North Carolina State Fair is currently underway, after a year off due to the pandemic.  WRAL-TV came up with a creative way to have a presence at the beloved NC event during a time when the pandemic is still an issue.  The Big 5 has “planted” a WRAL anchor garden, filled with cut outs of news and weather talent, for viewers to visit and enjoy!

“We got the cut outs because we wanted to obviously keep our Anchors and Meteorologists safe during a time of COVID,” said WRAL-TV Creative Services Manager John Gilliam.  “That said, we know how important the fair is to the people of NC and how much they love our talent. That’s when we came up with the idea of cut outs.”

Each cut out is to scale, with Gerald Owens being the largest at 6’6”.  All WRAL weekday anchors and all meteorologists are represented in the WRAL “People Garden.”

Fun, Behind-the-Scenes Stories
A lot of work went into making the cut out garden a reality.  The WRAL Creative Team made the magic happen.

“We got test cut out (of Gerald Owens) that we tested during storms to see if it would hold up at the fair,” explained Gilliam.  “Test Gerald scared many people hanging outside their windows at the station and even had some guest appearances in news meetings.”

The work was well worth it, when Gilliam and his team quickly saw that the cut outs were a hit.

“Once the cut outs were set up at the fair it literally took five seconds for the first selfie to be taken,” he said.  “A lovely couple that was setting up their tent asked if they could get an early pic with some of their favorite anchors.”

Gerald Owens

WRAL-TV Anchor Gerald Owens poses with his cut out, the test for the WRAL People Garden. The WRAL-TV Creative Team moved the cut out around outside at the station, to make sure it could stand up to the elements, and surprised (and scared) more than one employee.

Come See For Yourself
The WRAL People Garden is located next to Dorton Arena, in the usual space the WRAL tent is located each year.

Come by the WRAL tent during special giveaway hours to get your own WRAL backpack!

Hours of giveaway:

  • 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday to Friday
  • 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

While you’re there, make sure to snap a photo with the “garden” of WRAL anchors and share with the station. Use hashtag #wralatthefair and then watch! Your photos may end up online, on social, or on air during fair coverage!

Visit for all the details you need to know before visiting the fair this year:

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s John Gilliam & WRAL-TV’s Donna Natosi for these Capcom photos and video.

SLIDESHOW: WRAL “People Garden” at the 2021 North Carolina State Fair


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