Rainy weather blamed for 30 percent drop in fair attendance
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — Rain was a repeat visitor to the county fair this year, and organizers say it drove away thousands of people from the otherwise thriving event.
Total attendance at the 60th Rowan County Agricultural and Industrial Fair was 22,000 — a drop of 30 percent from nearly 32,000 last year, said Fair Manager Johnny Love.
This year, more than 9,000 paid adults, 8,000 free adults and 4,000 children came to enjoy the exhibits, shows, food, games, rides and entertainment.
Love didn’t have exact revenue numbers Thursday, but he said he was told the fair was down about $50,000 from last year.
“It was definitely the rain,” Love said. “For the days that were pretty decent, we were right on target. On the days it rained a lot and hard, we were off.”
The county fair ran from Sept. 19 through Sept. 24, and most of those six days were wet ones.
Still, Love said the fair went well, and the rain cleared up in time for nighttime entertainment and rides to continue.
He said there were more children involved in the fair this year than ever before. More than 250 students participated through the FFA, FHA, 4H and local masonry classes.
Compared to last year, there were twice as many entries into the childrens’ special needs lamb show, Love said.
Rowan Helping Ministries collected 10,575 pounds of food from fair visitors Monday night.
The fair offered admission that day in exchange for four cans of food, and thousands of people took advantage of the deal.
“I hate that the weather was bad,” he said. “But even with the rain, the fair was wonderful. … We’re hoping next year will be even better.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.