State inspectors certify fair rides
By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — The state gave its stamp of approval Monday to the Rowan County Fair.
“One-hundred percent,” said Johnny Grindstaff, inspection supervisor for the N.C. Department of Labor. “This is a good one to bring your kids to.”
With 37 rides, 20 food vendors, three exhibition halls, free fishing and entertainment plus numerous carnival games, the fair offers something for everyone, Fair Manager Johnny Love said.
And the fair gives back to the community, he said.
Monday night, adults who donated four cans of food to Rowan Helping Ministries got in free. Last year, the fair collected 14,000 pounds of canned goods, Love said.
On Thursday, the fair will open in the afternoon for 150 special-needs children. Wednesday and Friday, 400 kindergartners and pre-kindergartners will enjoy free entertainment and cotton candy, as well as farm animals and other exhibitions.
Each year, the fair gives all profits to charity, Love said. Depending on the weather and turnout, that can run anywhere between $5,000 and $35,000, he said.
The Fair Association, made up of the Spencer and Faith Jaycees, spends between $10,000 and $15,000 annually on upkeep of the fairgrounds, in addition to rent, Love said. The association has offered to buy the facility from Rowan County for $1 million.
Love and others who run the fair are volunteers.
Mild weather Monday night drew thousands to the event on Julian Road, which attracts between 35,000 and 60,000 people each year, Love said. Attendance at the fair, which runs through Saturday, depends on Mother Nature.
The forecast calls for a chance of rain later in the week, with a 40 percent likelihood of showers on Friday, the fair’s biggest night.
“I just hope that 40 percent is before we open, or after we close,” Love said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.