A county fair is a community event.
Where else can you run into old friends, enjoy rib-sticking food, satisfy your thrill-seeking appetite with knuckle-whitening rides and appreciate good entertainment?
Though rain forced closure on the final day, the 72nd edition of the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair provided plenty of lifetime memories.
“Overall, we feel like we had above-average attendance, good turnout at nights,” said Eddie Pitzer, fair manager. “I think people have been wanting to get out and are excited about doing things … having fun. We’ve had some good competitions with our livestock shows as well as our exhibits.
“People get to enter exhibits in the fair, hopefully win a ribbon, get some food, see some livestock and ride some rides.”
The 10-day event lived up to its billing “a fair to remember.”
The always-popular livestock shows featured hogs, goats and horses. Grand champions were crowned and sportsmanship ribbons were presented in different age classes.
Animal exhibits sheltered in buildings provided educational information including the type of species and how it’s produced for human consumption.
Fairgoers rode a variety of rides and tested their skills at numerous games provided by Powers Great American Midway. An electrical fire shut down the ferris wheel for a couple of hours, but was soon back in operation.
Concession stands and food trucks stayed busy.
“I talked with several of the food concessionaires we had [and] all of them told me that they’ve done exceptionally well this year,” Pitzer said. “People have been by and enjoyed the food. When you have local people who come in like the fire departments and churches, the fair is probably the biggest fundraiser they have for the year during these 10 days.
“We always get good support from the community.”
Daily entertainment kept those who didn’t favor rides occupied.
Rex and Dana Ryan did morning shows with pre-school kids. Renee Riddle and the Ramblers showed off their musical talents while they strolled around the grounds. Comedy hypnotist Mike Bishop provided good, clean family fun in the pavilion, while the Kenya Safari Acrobats showed unbelievable strength and agility.
Pitzer said the fair’s entertainment is one of a kind.
“We try to find something that’s a little unique, something people can’t see anywhere else and provide that kind of entertainment,” Pitzer said. “There are a lot of things people can do without riding rides.”
The local economy also benefits.
The carnival brings about 200 employees who buy food, shop in Goldsboro and buy a tremendous amount of diesel fuel to power the rides.
Pitzer added the Wayne County Livestock Development Association buys numerous products. Different services are provided and the association has a large workforce that must be compensated for its time.
“We have to get enough revenue to operate the fairgrounds year round [and] provide ground maintenance,” Pitzer said.
Plans are already in motion for 2022.
“We’re looking at what we’re going to be doing next year,” Pitzer said. “We’ll address things like how did something work or what do we need to change for next year? To be able to get everyone in place and contracts established, you have to start now to get ready for next year’s fair.”
And hope No. 73 is unforgettable, too.