WRAL.com at the State Fair

Officials give struggling families a free day at the fair on 'Michael's Day'

Posted October 17

Traditional State Fair games are always a crowd pleaser.

— On Monday, representatives at the North Carolina State Fair will provide a free day of fun for hundreds of struggling families in honor of a little boy named Michael.

Several years ago, Michael's grandmother approached fair officials, asking if they could help her get the 7-year-old, who was struggling with a chronic illness, to the fair.

When Michael passed away before he was able to enjoy a day at the fair with his family, officials created "Michael's Day."

"We at the fair decided to do something to help other families, like Michael's, enjoy a day at the fair," said Tina Hlabse, an official at the State Agriculture Department.

Now, "Michael's Day" is becoming a tradition at the fair.

"It's one of our favorite days at the fair," said Hlabse. "We'll have about 200 families from five Ronald McDonald houses come to the fair for food, rides and games."

The special day at the fair is made possible by multiple sponsors, including businesses and charities. Even carnival ride workers and concession vendors participate to give the families free food and ride vouchers to make sure all expenses are covered.

"We hope it gives them a day away from the worry and stress they normally have," said Hlabse.


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