Local News

Sun Will Shine on State Fair

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

The inclement weather did affect attendance. Last year's openingweekend drew 234,338 people. This year, 127,342 decided to dodgeraindrops 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-60sexpected for Tuesday. The rest of the week will touch 60 but a bit ofrain will reappear -- and the first frost may arrive by Friday.

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

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

She also noted that there is less congestion in the rain. When weatherturns rainy or cold, there's far lesstraffic -- and lines are short or non-existent. Some die-hard fairgoerstook 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 churcheslike St. Paul's Christian Church prepare and serve food in smallrestaurant facilities that dot the midway. For many churches, providingfood 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 asan autumn tradition, are ready for the weather to brighten up so the eventcan go down in the history books as another all-around success.

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