LUMBERTON — It was hard to decide who was having more fun at the 66th annual Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair on Thursday — the children or the adults.
Thursday morning was Special Needs Children’s Day, and about 9,000 folks from schools in Robeson, Bladen, Scotland and Hoke counties flocked to the fairgrounds where from 10 a.m. to noon they enjoyed everything the fair has to offer, plus free admission, rides and snacks.
The annual day for special needs children was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was re-scheduled Monday after heavy rain, lightning and a tornado watch forced the event’s postponement.
“It’s beautiful to see the excitement of the children and the smiles on their faces when they come through the gates,” said Allen Faircloth, president of the fair. “This is the event that gives most of us (fair organizers) the most pleasure.”
Faircloth, a retired school principal, said that organizing the fair’s annual Special Needs Children’s Day was his responsibility as a member of the fair board before he retired from his job with the Public Schools of Robeson County.
Among the adults trying to keep up with the children as they scurried from ride to ride and game to game was Noah Woods, chairman of the Robeson County Board of Commissioners and a former principal in the county’s public school system.
“I always come out to the fair … on this special day, just as I always did with my students,” he said. “I always find some of my former students here.”
Although some clouds loomed over the fairgrounds on Thursday, only a sprinkle of rain fell. The forecast for Lumberton remains clear until Sunday, when a 20 percent chance of rain will return.
Faircloth said that about 1,500 of Thursday night’s visitors got in for free with a donation of five cans of food to the Robeson County Church and Community Center’s food pantry.
“We had a good day yesterday, thank goodness,” Faircloth said. “We were very pleased with it … we’re excited for today and hoping for a big Saturday.”
Saturday is the fair’s last day. Gates will close at midnight.