LUMBERTON — The Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair has opened its gates with the goal of bringing smiles to the faces of Robeson County residents, particularly those who have suffered the wrath of Hurricane Florence.
The fair, which is normally nine days, opened on Saturday, two days later than usual.
“Attendance is down slightly, which is what we expected,” said Allen Faircloth, fair president. “What makes up for that is the laughter and smiles out there on the grounds. I had the opportunity to stand out there in the middle of it all and all I could see were smiles and the sound of laughter almost drowning out the sounds of the carnival. That’s why we have a fair.”
Students can be admitted to the fair Tuesday and Wednesday at no charge.
Among the attractions at the fair this year are some old favorites and some brand new acts. Alan Sands, Comedy Hypnotist, is back with his popular show. The lion and tiger act Adventures of the Exotic Kind is at the fair to thrill and entertain. There is the petting zoo, and, for the adventurous, a helicopter tour of the grounds. Rocket the Robot will be strolling the grounds Tuesday.
Among the new acts is Barnyard Cackle, where animated chickens sing, tell jokes, and even impart some educational lessons. On the educational note, the butterfly house is brimming with winged creatures waiting for fair-goers to feed them and learn all about their importance to the environment.
Local craftsmen will be demonstrating their skills in the Al Parnell Exhibit Building. From two to seven artisans will display their creative process each day, and will have items for sale. Potters, painters, jewelry makers, multimedia artists and more will be on hand to amaze fair-goers. Also in the the Al Parnell Exhibit Building are the Extension Master Gardeners giving their “Talks from the Porch” series on everything from bees to gardens, and even how to make pots.
Big Rock Amusements has taken over the midway this year and is making sure it is one of the cleanest, brightest, safest midways ever. New rides have joined old-time favorites.
This past weekend’s fair highlights included the Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ Contest and the 4-H Goat shows, in which youth came from all over the state came to compete in one of the last county shows before state competition. The back track buzzed with the sound of the Lumber River Pullers Lawn and Garden Tractor Pull. And the local entertainment stage was alive with talent.
Shea Ann DeJarnette is the 4-H Youth Development agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at 910-671-3276, by email at [email protected], or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.