Nonprofit groups rely on fair for fund-raisers
By Sam Atkins
Published in News on October 25, 2004 1:59 PM
The Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair is not only a time for everyone to enjoy good food and entertainment, it also serves as one of the largest fund-raisers for churches and other nonprofit organizations.
Milton Ingram, the fair manager, said there are six organizations that have permanent booths every year, including the New Hope Methodist Church and the Nahunta, Grantham and Mar Mac fire departments.
Around 20 others had spots this year on the 40-acre fairgrounds.
The fee is $200 for a booth inside one of the buildings and up to $1,000 for an outside location, said Ingram. This charge is reasonable considering the amount of money the organizations can bring in during the 10-day event, he said.
Stoney Creek Free Will Baptist Church in Goldsboro has been selling Pizza Inn pizza for around 17 years in the same location, and it has proven to be a successful fund-raiser, said Jim Malpass, church member.
This year two Sunday school classes operated the booth and sold around 590 pizzas during the 10 days. There are eight to 12 people running the booth per night, except for Sunday when they do not have anyone in the booth, said Malpass.
After paying the fee for the space, they purchased $1,000 worth of Pepsi products to sell along with the pizza. The fair provides the trailer, power and water, and Pizza Inn provides the ovens to keep the pizza warm. The church calls in the pizza orders and picks them up as needed.
The proceeds go directly to the Sunday school classes. Malpass would not say how much they raised this year.
It is not the biggest fund-raiser for the church, but it was the largest for the individual classes. All of the money is put back into the community for those who need assistance, including the Free Will Baptist Orphanage in Middlesex, N.C., at Christmas, he said. The church members hand out information about the church if someone asks.
"It is a good opportunity to see people and advertise Stoney Creek," added Malpass.
Around 45 Members of Union Grove Original Free Will Baptist Church in Fremont received $10,000 for parking cars during the fair, according to the church's pastor, Richard Glosson.
"It's definitely a good fund-raiser for us," he said.
The cost is minimal because they do not have to buy, sell or cook anything, and the fair provides the flashlights and vests. The church furnished radios and four-wheelers for traveling across the fairgrounds and provided a trailer for storage.
The work is hard, and they had to deal with rain and a large traffic jam the first Saturday night. But working side-by-side with fellow church members created a sense of fellowship, he said.
"I was very tickled with how well it went."
The money they earned went into the church's building fund, which will be used to build a new fellowship hall. Glosson said they have between 90 and 100 people attending the service on Sunday, and the current fellowship hall will not hold everybody.
"This is a project that can really make a difference," he added.
They are planning on parking cars again next year and are already working on a schedule of who will be on duty on certain days. They made some suggestions to Ingram about how to improve the parking, including the need for the exit signs to be written in English and Spanish, the need for additional lighting in the parking lots and having all of the handicapped parking on one end to ensure they are not taken up by non-handicapped fairgoers.
Schools also have the opportunity to raise money for various programs.
Roger Walker, band director at Charles B. Aycock High School, said they have had an ice cream truck the last three years to raise money. The truck has a refrigerator, freezer and an ice cream maker, and they hook the truck up to a generator if needed. They purchase items like cups, spoons, ice and the ingredients for the ice cream and make around 300 gallons before the fair.
Parents of students in the music program sell the ice cream in different shifts to raise money for the program. The money is used to purchase music and instruments and helps pay for expenses associated with marching competitions. The money also goes toward two $250 scholarships given to students planning to pursue music in college, said Walker.
He said it is the largest fund-raiser for the band, and they plan on doing it for as many years as possible.
"We look forward to it because it really gets us to the next year."
Ingram could not say how much money is raised overall by nonprofits during the 10 days for the fair. The fair and Power's Great American Midway also hires several part-time workers during the event, which brings money into the community. That total figure is also hard to compute, said Ingram.
The fair is the only fund-raiser for the Wayne County Livestock Development Association, a nonprofit organization that owns and operates the fair. Money from the event, including fees for booth space, is used to improve the fair's facilities.
The Wayne Fair committee is figuring out what must be done with the electrical system after a transformer blew twice this year in the permanent concession area. Ingram said there are five transformers on the fairgrounds. Progress Energy will recommend whether the transformers need to be upgraded and if so, paying for them will come first, said Ingram.
Any additional money will be used for other improvements, like replacing some of the older fences.
About $30,000 was invested in this year's facilities, said Ingram. There was 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.
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