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Drought Saps State Fair Entries

Posted October 10, 2007
Updated October 11, 2007

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— The statewide drought is claiming another victim: Growers have fewer entries in some categories at this year’s North Carolina State Fair, and they say they have been challenged to bring in high-quality produce.

Growers said the drought has affected both quantity and quality of what they have been able to enter in agricultural competitions at the fair.

"It's hard to select good quality whenever you have poor quality to start with," Theron Maybin, a farmer from Henderson County, said. Maybin said many apples grown in Henderson County this year are lopsided and smaller than ever before.

Horticultural competitor Edna Moore said she is bringing only about half of what she entered last year.

"Our stuff's not grown, not produced like it should (have)," she said.

Judging for the horticultural competition begins Thursday and continues Friday. The entries will be on display for the duration of the fair.

Exhibitors said they are making the best of what they have to work with, and the State Fair still has plenty of impressive sights, including a pair of pumpkins from western North Carolina that weighed in at 644 pounds and 777 pounds.

Grower Mark Britt said the sapping effect of the drought on his tomatoes forced him to get creative: Instead of the biggest tomato, he brought the best-quality, smallest tomato he had grown.

"That's the only one I could bring to actually show. It's "best tomato, any size," and I thought the novelty of the really tiny tomato might pay off," he said. "You never know."

Fair officials said they also expect fewer entries in the flower and garden show.

"I didn't have the magnitude or the big flowers that I usually have to bring because of the drought," flower show competitor Rhonda Haynes said.

Growers expressed relief that they are at least all up against the same competition: drought and heat. They hoped the State Fair will help educate the public on the challenges those adversaries pose.

"Hopefully, it will open their eyes to what the farmers deal with," Maybin said.


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  • Beeners Oct 11, 2007

    Also the state fair changed its rules for entering- entry forms had to be in by September where in the past entry forms were brought in the week the fair started. I would have entered in the flower show but found out I couldn't because I didn't submit forms in September.

  • lynddsy Oct 10, 2007

    we certainly could have used a tropical storm! i feel sorry for the produce farmers as well as livestock farmers. it will cost everyone in the end.

  • shine Oct 10, 2007

    The drought has definitly hurt this situation and gas prices don't help either..... Look out folks - the rain may come but a recession is following.......

  • mamablue Oct 10, 2007

    I like your style Farmer Mark....hope you win a blue ribbon for making the best out of the worst :)

  • gopanthers Oct 10, 2007

    Yes we're in a drought and should all be doing are part to conserve. But don't worry people the Rain will return. When it does (usaully after a drought) you end up with more then enough. We will all be saying ok enough is enough. Won't that be nice for a change. I predict a weather pattern change next week. At least that's what I'm hoping for. The Fair is coming to town you know. Chuckle here.

  • turkeydance Oct 10, 2007

    Fran, Floyd, the Big Ice Storm, and the 2002 drought...
    weather fluctuates. too wet, too dry, too cold, blahblahblah.
    i look forward to a WRAL-TV web-based storyline where weather is perfect with no qualifications whatsoever.