Fair starts Thursday
By Sam Atkins
Published in News on September 26, 2004 2:06 AM
Improvements continue to be made at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair to make it more entertaining and customer-friendly, says the event's manager.
About $30,000 has been invested in the fair's facilities this year, according to Milton Ingram, fair manager. There is a new fence near U.S. 117 South; five more sets of bleachers; additional lighting in the hog barn and parking lots; and new entertainment.
"We always try to bring in a bring variety of entertainment," said Ingram, who is in his 20th year as manager.
New attractions this year include "Trouble the Magician," who will be strolling the fairgrounds every night around the Kidzville and eating areas; "Doggies of the Wild West," which will be near the red barn; The UBU Band; the Keith King Bike Stunt Show, which has been at the N.C. State Fair for several years; The Main Squeeze Band; Steve Pathel; and an illusion show by Taylor Michaels.
These will join the other usual attractions like the Demolition Derby, Pro Bull Riding and Western Gunfight Shows. Freddie Pierce, a ventriloquist, is back by popular demand to showcase his comedy and music.
It the second year for the Kidzville exhibit, which has a stage with a clown, games, a maze and other things for children. It will also have "Wayneabelle" and "Fairlybelle," two cows the fair employees made to give children the experience of what it is like to milk a cow.
This is also the second year employees are based in a 2,500-square-foot office building. Ingram said having the new building instead of a trailer helped the fair run smoothly last year.
The 56th annual fair will begin Thursday and run through Oct. 9 at the fairgrounds at 2801 U.S. 117 South. It offers competition in eight divisions, 75 departments and over 1,200 competitive areas.
The 40 acres of the fairgrounds will be transformed into a variety of rides, exhibits and food vendors. Volunteers have been coming together to help get the fair up and running. Civic organizations and others will be setting up exhibits this week in the educational building. All exhibits will be judged Thursday.
Members of Power's Great American Midway arrived Friday to set up. They will have 48 rides for everyone to enjoy. A pay-one-price ride concept will be in effect. People can pay $15 and ride all they want on weekdays and Sunday.
On Saturdays, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9, from noon until 5 p.m., people can pay $10 and ride all they want. And on Saturdays from 5 p.m. until closing, they can pay $15 and ride all they want. Tickets for individual rides will also be available throughout the week.
Gate admission is not included in the ride prices. Admission to the fair is $6 for adults and $2 for students with a school ticket.
"Bargain Days" will be Oct. 4 and 5 and will feature $1 off gate admission for adults and children. It will be $10 for unlimited rides.
Major free entertainment for the week will include Buffalo Barfield music and comedy, Doggies of the Wild West, The Almost Amazing Rex, Western gunfight show, petting zoo, On the Farm exhibit, Kidzville and the vintage farm equipment display and demonstration.
Daily free entertainment will include:
*Thursday, Sept. 30 -- Center Stage Theater Musical Show.
*Friday, Oct. 1 -- Queen of the Fair pageant; livestock show for lambs; and the UBU Band.
*Saturday, Oct. 2 -- Demolition Derby; and country music by Big Sky.
*Sunday, Oct. 3 -- Bike Stunt Show.
*Monday, Oct. 4 -- "Bargain Monday"; pro bull riding; livestock show for market hogs; and Freddie Pierce, ventriloquist, music and comedy.
*Tuesday, Oct. 5 -- "Senior Citizens Day"; pro bull riding; salute to senior citizens; pie baking contest; spelling bee; and Freddie Pierce.
*Wednesday, Oct. 6 -- cheerleading contest; livestock show for meat goats; talent contest for grades K-5; and the Main Squeeze Band.
*Thursday, Oct. 7 -- talent contest for grades 6-12; livestock show for horses and ponies; and Steve Pathel, One Man Band.
*Friday, Oct. 8 -- livestock show for beef heifers; and Taylor Michaels, magician and illusionist.
*Saturday, Oct. 9 -- Demolition Derby and ugly truck contest.
The fair Web site, www.waynfair.com, has daily fair schedules, entertainment lists, ticket information, a map of the fairgrounds, directions and other information. Fair catalogs may be picked up at the fairgrounds or at the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office at the Wayne Center at 208 W. Chestnut St. in Goldsboro.
For more information on the upcoming fair events or prices, people can also contact Ingram at 735-7277, by mail at P.O. Box 1100, Goldsboro, N.C. 27533 or by fax at 731-7669.
The fair is owned and operated by the Wayne County Livestock Development Association, a nonprofit organization, and is held in cooperation with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service.
Last year the fair won seven state awards, including the Image Award for the best fair; the Commissioner of Agriculture Award for the best Goodness Grows exhibit in the state; and first place for agricultural participation, meaning it had more and better agricultural exhibits than any other in the state.
Ingram was the recipient of the 2003 Holmes-McBride Memorial Award, which is presented to an individual for dedicated service to the fair industry. The Teach 4-H Club won the youth exhibit category; Rachel Rawls won the adult flower and floral design category; and Caroline Finch won the youth baked goods category.
Ingram said the N.C. Department of Labor has provided bookmarks to school children in Wayne and surrounding counties to teach them how to ride the rides safely. Children are encouraged to get their bookmark signed by their parents and bring them to the middle of the carnival area during the fair to receive something free, like a ride or soft drink.
Ingram said his main concern now is the weather. He hopes hurricanes will not affect the fair this year.
"We have been working hard all year to make this the best fair possible," he said.
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