Clever folks know that your goal of becoming a true renaissance man or woman could be realized through regular weekend attendance at one cultural venue: the State Fairgrounds. Not everyone can appreciate the sheer variety of events that occupy the outbuildings of the fairgrounds on a week-to-week basis, so to be sure that you get the full effect, you’ve gotta be there this weekend, when several events coincide for one fantastically edifying experience. The ever-popular Carolina Reptile and Exotic Animal Show, featuring amazing pet tricks and some of the strangest animals you’ve ever seen, will be in Dorton Arena on Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 2 & 3. In the Kerr-Scott Building, those who believe that diamonds–and emeralds, rubies and pearls, and so forth–are everyone’s best friend can share their love of stones with fossil fanciers and lapidarians at the Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show, from Friday through Monday, Sept. 1-4. Across the way, at the Hunt Horse Complex, grab a cup of tea, a big feathered hat and your best English accent for the NCDCTA Breed & Dressage Show, Friday-Sunday, Sept. 1-3, as folks compete for the best-groomed horsey and best-dressed rider. But wait, there’s more. Perhaps the biggest rivalry in local historically black college football (N.C. Central vs. N.C. A&T) swallows Raleigh this weekend with step shows, a golf tournament and arts exhibitions, culminating in the Aggie-Eagle Classic Sunday, Sept. 3, at Carter-Finley Stadium. If you can’t get tickets to the game, perhaps you can get in on the supreme tailgating action outside the stadium. Just when you’ve had enough, mellow out with America’s favorite friend–the canine. Dog and puppy shows will brighten your day in the Graham Building, Saturday-Monday, Sept. 2-4. And did we mention the flea market?