DUDLEY — The Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair showcases the area’s rich agricultural heritage.
However, over its 73-year history the fair has offered much more — competitions, educational events, rides, food, livestock shows, exhibits and free entertainment while providing a venue for nonprofits to hold fundraisers.
It will be no different this year during the fair that opens Thursday and continues through Oct. 9, said Eddie Pitzer, fair manager.
The fair offers such a variety of foods and activities that organizers suggest a list of things that fair-goers add to a “don’t miss” list.
Perhaps one of the first things people think of when they think of the fair is the variety of food — everything from burgers to pizza to Italian sausages with peppers and onions to turkey legs and more.
Then there are the sweets including funnel cakes, fried Oreos, candy apples and cotton candy. Who knows what all else will be the new fad this year, Pitzer said.
Exhibit, educational buildings
Stroll through these buildings to see all of the exhibits and winning entries that range from quilts to antiques to artwork to canned foods to photos to bottle collections and much more.
It just wouldn’t be the fair without some good old educational contests that help our next generations to get involved, learn a few new things, and grow into fine young men and women, Pitzer said.
The contests this year include a Math Contest at 5:30 p.m. on opening day Thursday; Carpentry Contest and HOSA Spelling Bee, both at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 4; Pie Baking at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 5; Senior Citizen Salute at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5; Livestock Skillathon at 4:30 pm. Tuesday, Oct. 5; Auto Mechanics at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5; Talent Contests for grades K-2 at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6, grades 3-5 at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6, grades 6-8 at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, and grades 9-12 at 7 p.m Thursday, Oct. 7; Cheerleading at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6; Tractor Operators at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7; Masonry and Drafting both at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7; and Science at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8.
In addition, 4-H conducts an “On the Spot” Lego Building Contest on opening day at 6:30 p.m. and a “Spuddy Buddy” Contest at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 4. Both are in the Youth Barn.
Live music, shows
There is something at the fair for everyone, Pitzer said.
Check out Mike Bishop, comedy hypnotist performing daily under the Pavilion. The Kenya Safari Acrobats are back showing unbelievable strength and agility. They are also performing under the pavilion.
Strolling the grounds daily will be the Almost Amazing Rex & Dana. You never know what they will be doing — a comedy, magic or their Blues Brothers impression.
Strolling and new this year is Renee Riddle and the Ramblers. This talented performer does a little country, blue grass and pop.
Also new to this year is Boon Gallery. Corey Lancaster, a talented chain saw artist, will be carving daily near the White Building. Carved items will be auctioned off the last Saturday at the fair.
This crowd favorite will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, in the grandstand as drivers smash their cars into each other trying to win trophies and money.
A centerpiece of the fair, these shows are held in the livestock shelter located at the south end of the grandstand area.
There will be hogs at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30; goats at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1; lambs at noon on Saturday, Oct. 2; and beef heifers at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3.
New this year is a chicken show under the Pavilion at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5.
The horse shows are on Thursday, Oct. 3, starting at 5:30 p.m. under the livestock shelter.
Amusement rides, games
Powers Great American Midways has been thrilling its audiences since 1980 with rides that will get the adrenaline pumping. Of course, they have slower rides for the less adventurous and kiddie rides, too.
Fair-goes also can test their skills and luck on the many games Powers has to offer.
The fair will run Sept. 30 through Oct. 9. The gates open at 4 p.m. on weekdays, except for Tuesday, Oct. 5, when they open at 10 a.m. for Senior Day, 11 a.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The midway, with nearly 50 rides for adults and children, opens at 5 p.m. on weekdays, noon on Saturdays and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The fair will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, for its special populations event. The gates will not be open to the general public during that time, but will open at 4 p.m.
Wayne UNC Health Care Senior Day will be held Tuesday, Oct. 5, when anyone 60 or older will receive free admission. The Salute to Senior Citizens will start at 3 p.m.
Outdoor events and contests do not have rain dates. In case of rain, the outdoor events and contests may be canceled.
For more information, visit waynefair.com.