Local News

Visitors Expected To See New Changes At State Fair

Posted July 29, 2003

— It looks like the North Carolina State Fair may have a new midway operator, but that is not the only change in the works.

Many fans of the State Fair grew up with the Red Cross Lounge as a meeting place and landmark, but not this year.

"It's in a deplorable state of condition. It's unrepairable. It doesn't meet any kind of safety or electrical code," State Fair Manager Wes Wyatt said.

Crews began knocking down the decades-old building this week. It will be replaced by the State Fair ARC, a tent that will house one or two of every animal breed and species that competes at the fair.

That is not the only change pushing ahead this year on the fairgrounds. For months now, trucks have been dumping dirt in the infield of the old racetrack.

"The reason for that is we need additional parking on a year-round basis here at the fairgrounds," Wyatt said.

During future fairs, the infield will be used for exhibits, concessions and carnival booths. There will still be a flat straight-away in front of the bandstand for tractor pulls and concerts.

Construction is also under way to add heating and air conditioning to the Jim Graham Building, but that project will not be ready for the crowds at this year's fair.

Another proposed change is a chair lift that would whisk fairgoers over the top of the race track, but currently the only thing to show for that project is the foundations. Plus, the lift contract is currently tied up in a lawsuit.

All of the projects are paid for with the money generated by the annual fair and the other events held during the year at the fairgrounds. No tax money is used for the projects.


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