Local News

Sun Will Shine on State Fair

Posted October 20, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Over the weekend, the 130th North Carolina State Fair was awash -- first in rain, and then in the ponchos, raincoats, umbrellas needed to ward off the raindrops. But the forecast is for sun today through Friday, with only a brief dash of rain late in the week.

The inclement weather did affect attendance. Last year's opening weekend drew 234,338 people. This year, 127,342 decided to dodge raindrops to sample the exhibits, entertainment, midway and food.

But better days are on the way.

Today's high is supposed to be 70 - 72 degrees, with the mid-60s expected for Tuesday. The rest of the week will touch 60 but a bit of rain will reappear -- and the first frost may arrive by Friday.

Even though the puddles have made for wet and muddy going so far, there is plenty to see at the fair no matter the weather. And in the drizzle, indoor exhibits like Harvest Time, farm animals, quilt displays, canning jars of produce in jewel-like colors, and fancy decorated cakes become a big hit with the crowds.

For Paula Surles, coming to the fair in the rain was part of her strategy. "When it gets to raining too much, I go to the exhibits and that's my favorite place anyway," she said.

She also noted that there is less congestion in the rain. When weather turns rainy or cold, there's far less traffic -- and lines are short or non-existent. Some die-hard fairgoers took their chances on the whirling Top Spin ride, and had their choice of just about any seat they wanted.

But no lines also mean empty tables for food vendors. Many churches like St. Paul's Christian Church prepare and serve food in small restaurant facilities that dot the midway. For many churches, providing food service to fairgoers is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year, so rain really eats into their profits.

They, and the adults and children who regard going to the state fair as an autumn tradition, are ready for the weather to brighten up so the event can go down in the history books as another all-around success.