09/23/05 — Final preparations being made for fair opening Thursday

View Archive

Final preparations being made for fair opening Thursday

By Turner Walston
Published in News on September 23, 2005 1:48 PM

The midway at the Wayne County Fairgrounds is quiet now, but next Thursday it will be filled with the sounds of music, shouting children and show barkers, the smells of Polish sausages and funnel cakes, the sights of spinning colorful rides, and people, lots of them. The Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair starts Thursday and runs through Oct. 8.

Fair Director Milton Ingram says he began planning this year's fair before the end of last year's event, looking at what needed to be improved or added.

Les "Corky" Powers is the fourth generation of his family in the amusement industry. He owns Powers Great American Midway, which has operated the rides at the Wayne County fair since 2000. With most of his rides and people in Salisbury at the Rowan County Agricultural Fair, Powers was in Dudley on Thursday laying out the midway, planning where to place the 48 rides that will soon be set up.

Some rides have already arrived and are waiting to be erected. The bulk of them will roll into town Sunday night and Monday morning.

Powers' wife and children help him run the show for Powers Great American Midway, making his operation a true family affair. But that family becomes an extended one on the road.

"The whole show is probably 250 to 275 people," Powers said. The company even includes a traveling school for the children of carnival employees.

With about 200 trucks making the trip to Wayne County, Powers estimates that it will cost $20,000 in fuel to bring his company from Salisbury, and $15,000 to run the generators for the rides.

Powers said the mutual benefits have made the fair arrangement with Wayne County work well.

"One hand washes the other," he says.

Milton Ingram said he has until Thursday to finish up final preparations. This year, fair organizers have installed hand-washing stations around the livestock areas to help prevent the spread of bacteria.

"The idea is to make the children want to wash their hands," Ingram says.

Other additions included hanging lights in areas that weren't well-lit in previous years.

About 30 local churches and fire departments will operate concession booths, with more than a dozen professional concessionaires in operation as well.

Ingram estimated that more than 110,000 people attended last year's fair, which set a record for Wayne County. This year, he's planning on an even bigger crowd.

"It's just a massive effort getting all this stuff ready," Ingram said.