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Raleigh celebrated the completions of the new Capitol and new Raleigh & Gaston Railroad Company in 1840.In 1853, the first State Fair was held near Raleigh.The region and city have attracted a large influx of population, making it one of the fastest growing communities in the United States by the early 21st century.Raleigh is home to numerous cultural, educational, and historic sites.The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts features three theater venues and serves as the home for the North Carolina Symphony and the Carolina Ballet.Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek is a large music amphitheater.The North Carolina General Assembly first met in Raleigh in December 1794, and granted the city a charter, with a board of seven appointed commissioners and an "Intendant of Police" (which developed as the office of Mayor) to govern it.(After 1803 city commissioners were elected.) In 1799, the N. Minerva and Raleigh Advertiser was the first newspaper published in Raleigh.
The towns of Cary, Morrisville, Garner, Clayton, Wake Forest, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon, and Rolesville are some of Raleigh's primary nearby suburbs and satellite towns.Raleigh is one of the few cities in the United States that was planned and built specifically to serve as a state capital.