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Floyd Forcing Some Farmers to Forget the State Fair

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RALEIGH — The showcase event for farming in North Carolina may have less to show this year. The1999 North Carolina State State Fairbegins in ten days on the heels of the worst agricultural disaster ever to hit the state.

Water is the newest thing about the State Fair in more ways than one. The newwaterfalloutside Dorton Arena promises to be a popular meeting place. But too much water in eastern North Carolina may keep many from meeting here at all.

"We're of course concerned about the impact of Hurricane Floyd on the victims of eastern North Carolina and whether or not they'll be able to participate at the same level that they had in the past."

The effect on fair attendance will not be known until gates open on Oct. 15.

Livestock competition coordinator Carol Turner is already seeing signs that some of the usual competitors may sit this year out.

"Our market lamb show is our biggest show of the year and I know those entries are down a little bit in numbers. So I'm assuming since those are some of the other could be too," says Turner.

"There may not be quite as many entries in the livestock or in the sweet potato competition in the horticulture section," says Wesley Wyatt, manager of the N.C. State Fair.

Wyatt says though some will not be here, other flooded farmers will make it despite the hardships. A fresh cushion of dirt and saw dust beds await them.

Entry deadlines for livestock competitions have passed, however, fair officials will accept late entries from those who were affected by the flood.

"If they want to have the time and the money to come to the state fair this year with all their troubles, I want them to come," she says.

For horticultural entries, the deadline is noon, Thursday, Oct.13.

County fairs in eastern North Carolina have been hard hit by Hurricane Floyd. Duplin and Pitt counties cancelled theirs and Wayne County saw a drop off in attendance.


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