Politics part of this week's county fair
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY - County fair season is also campaign season this year.
As they typically do, the Rowan County Democratic and Republican parties each give out information from a booth at the Rowan County Agricultural and Industrial Fair.
The fair continues from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, and from noon to midnight on Saturday, at 1560 Julian Road. Throughout the event, the county's two political parties face each other from opposite sides of the entrance building.
Rhonda Wedding stopped at the Republican table Wednesday to register to vote, because she hasn't re-registered since she moved to Granite Quarry a year ago.
"I just came walking through, and I think it's a convenient place for me to sign up," she said.
Her two young sons didn't share her political interest. They urged her to come with them to the carnival games and rides, which open at 5 p.m. weekdays and 1 p.m. Friday.
Chris Ferguson, of Salisbury, spoke to volunteers and party officials at the Democratic booth as he entered the fair.
"I wanted to make sure that I understand the process of voting," Ferguson said. "There's some confusion with the straight ticket."
Commissioner candidate Ralph Walton, who stood with his fellow Democrats on Wednesday evening, said he's been letting people know that if they vote straight-ticket, they can still vote for another party on an individual race if they'd like.
"I know I have to have Republican votes," Walton said. "If you open up your ballot and mark my name, it's going to count for me no matter what else you do."
He shook hands and talked to voters alongside Bill Battermann, who is challenging Rep. Harry Warren in N.C. House District 77.
Several candidates spent some time in the Republican corner, including school board candidates Chuck Hughes and Josh Wagner.
County Commissioner Carl Ford said he reserved another table at the fair before he knew that he'd be running unopposed in N.C. House District 76. Democratic candidate John Williams filed for the race but withdrew last month.
Ford still has large signs displayed at his table, and he's now sharing the space with commissioner candidates Mike Caskey and Craig Pierce.
Caskey handed out campaign cards and candy with the Republican party Wednesday evening.
"There are lots of people here tonight," Caskey said. "Last night there was rain, and Monday was slower."
Just next door, Dennis Sipp, Miriam Walter and Andrea Judon demonstrated healthy cooking - with little to no butter, oil and salt - for a small audience. Fairgoers could sample sauteed okra, chicken breasts, chili, a vegetable medley, a pineapple upside down cake and even pizza.
"The goal is to introduce people to tools that allow them to be able to cook healthy," Sipp said. "A lot of people want to be healthy... but they might have no clue how to do that."
Health Solutions Unlimited will continue to hold two cooking shows each day of the fair.
Of course, decidedly unhealthy food is a staple of county fairs, and Rowan is no exception. Two rows of vendors list all kinds of deep-fried, chocolate-dipped or sugar-drizzled menu items.
The fair also stays true to its agricultural roots by featuring several livestock shows and a building full of exhibits.
Dottie Hoy, of Salisbury, came to the fair Wednesday with her husband Geoffrey, saying she wanted to see "to see the chickens and the sheep."
"Her parents met at a county fair many years ago in Ohio," Geoffrey said.
"So I grew up on county fairs," Hoy added.
Sarah Brown, of Landis, walked the fairgrounds with her friend's daughters, 10-year-old Kelsey Crider and 5-year-old Emma Crider. The girls had just won two goldfish during a game, but their favorite part of the fair is the rides.
"I liked going on the helicopter ride," Crider said.
Though the fair is half over, there are still plenty of events scheduled for the rest of the week. The junior 4-H dog show starts at 6 p.m. today.
On Friday, the dairy cow dress-up contest will be held at 6 p.m., followed by the dairy goat show at 6:30 p.m. The demolition derby starts at 8 p.m. Friday, and the dairy cattle show begins at noon Saturday.
Pig racing, magic shows and chainsaw art demonstrations will be held each evening. For more information and a full schedule, visit www.rowancountyfair.org or call 704-633-5632.
Thursday schedule for Rowan County Fair:
A wristband for unlimited rides is $20.
Free admission to exhibits and barn for RHA Health Services, Rowan Homes, Rowan Vocational Opportunities and ARC of Rowan: 9 a.m. to noon
Gates Open: 4 p.m.
Circle C Petting Farm Open: 4 p.m.
Rides and Food Open: 5 p.m.
County Jr. 4-H Dog Show: 6 p.m.
Circle C Pig Racing: two shows between 6 and 10 p.m.
Amazing Rex & Dana: two shows between 6 and 10 p.m.
R & S Wood Carving: two shows between 6 and 10 p.m.
Health System Cooking Show: two shows between 6 and 10 p.m.