LUMBERTON — Traffic on Martin Luther King Drive was slowed to a crawl Friday afternoon as car after car made the turn into the county fairgrounds for the 66th annual Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair.
“Looks like good weather has blessed us today,” Allen Faircloth, fair president, said as he raised his head skyward. “We’re hoping that the crowd will get bigger and better later.”
The stands at the big-cats show, “Close Encounters of the Exotic Kind,” were filled with people who laughed at a lazy lion who refused to do tricks and applauded when a white Bengal tiger jumped through a flaming hoop.
“It was very exciting,” said spectator Marie Tarleton. “… They’re beautiful animals.”
Tarleton, who comes to the fair every year, brings along neighbors 13-year-old Hannah and Caleb Hayes, 11. But, the three part ways as soon as they enter the gate.
“We have designated spots where we meet,” she said. “I give them money when we get here, but I have an extra supply in my pockets. They usually spend it all on the games and rides and don’t have any money to eat.”
Nearby, The Caboodlestoppers sang and danced, and people began filling the seats beneath a tent where a Foxy 99 disc jockey had taken the stage. Beyond the midway, where carnival rides glowed with multicolored lights, modified garden tractors pulled weights down a dirt track.
As he took in all the sights and sounds of the fair from his golf cart, Faircloth said he expected today’s demolition derby, set for 7 p.m., to bring in a large audience and help round out attendance lost during the rain that dampened festivities earlier in the week.
The forecast for today is clear with a high of 86 and a low of 61.