Sunshine returns to regional fair
By Dennis Hill
Published in News on October 3, 2010 1:50 AM
After what might be the biggest downpour in the 62-year history of the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair, the skies cleared Friday and, with some quick work and good luck, the crowds rolled in Friday night and Saturday, boosting attendance.
"When I got up this morning, it was sunny and cool," said a smiling Fair Manager Milton Ingram on Saturday afternoon. "It felt like a fair day."
More than a dozen inches of ran fell on the fairgrounds in the days preceding the fair's scheduled opening, forcing the midway to delay its opening until Friday.
That didn't help the bottom lines but Ingram said he maintained hope that the rest of the fair's 10-day run would come off without a hitch.
Crews had covered the wettest areas with sand and sawdust and by Saturday afternoon a walk around the festival showed little or no signs of the deluge.
The fact that the Wayne County Livestock Association, which operates the fair, chose this year to put down asphalt near the exhibit barns and along the permanent eateries was a godsend, he added.
The fairgrounds sit on a sandy tract of land that drains well and when skies cleared Friday morning, fair workers went to work, Ingram said. Only a few spots in the parking lot needed much work.
"The guys did a tremendous job yesterday," Ingram said.
The rain had no effect on Kimberly Holloway of Goldsboro, who won a plastic dragon competing against her friend, Tina Shaw, in the water pistol game.
"I kind of makes you want to come out even more," she said of the rain that fell Thursday.
Kevin and Heather Toler of Grantham were going through one of the livestock barns with their children, Christian, 7, and Nicholas, 5. While looking over the large number of rabbits entered this year, Christian summed up with one word what he liked most about the fair.
"Everything!" he said.
His brother was more specific.
"The rides," he said, as a golden rooster crowed in the background.
Nearby, John Dunn and his friend Kim Harrell were feeding straw to their calves in the livestock barn. One of the calves is somewhat unusual to the Wayne fair. A water buffalo calf, it was abandoned by its mother. The animal had company for the week. Dunn said two regular calves in the pen with it are intended to keep it from getting lonely.
When asked if the weather had been a factor, Dunn drily replied with another question.
"Which weather? The rain or the drought?"
The fair continues today with gates opening at 1 p.m. and the much-awaited first of two demolition derbies starting at 2.