Cabarrus County shows off storybook theme

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 7, 2013

CONCORD — When you think about it, there’s a fairy-tale story in every visit to a county fair, said Kate Sharpe, Cabarrus County Fair director.
The Cabarrus County Fair was the first one she ever attended. The same is true, Sharpe said, for most fairgoers.
This year’s fair got off to a storybook start Friday under clear skies.
The fair continues today, with gates opening at 1 p.m., and runs through next Saturday, Sept. 14.
The theme for this year’s event, “Fair-a-tales Come True,” was chosen partly because of the spirit of wonder that surrounds county fairs.
And, Sharpe said, there are some new attractions this year that play on that theme, including costumed fairies and princesses.
While grown-ups browse arts and crafts, kids can enjoy activities at a “castle,” which also has educational displays about locally-grown produce.
But the real fun for most kids, regardless of age, is probably out on the midway.
New to this year’s fair is Hansen’s Spectacular, a family aerial act featuring kids and adults.
There are also demonstrations by Brian Ruth, “Master of the Chainsaw,” sculpting a variety of creations from wood.
Dean Corl, of ride provider Powers Great American Midways, said the 70-plus rides and games at this year’s fair include old favorites, plus some that have been renovated.
The “dark ride” Haunted House is all-new, Corl said, as is the more friendly “Cuckoo Haus” funhouse.
Also new to this year’s fair is RockStar, which Corl described as “a giant guitar-shaped ride with a giant gondola seat.”
And, he added, plenty of rock music.
After its debut at last year’s N.C. State Fair in Raleigh, Corl said RockStar has become very popular.
But the classic rides – the carousel, the gondola wheel and the high-flying swings – were also busy.
Over at the shooting gallery, Alex Stalter took aim and tried to blast out the red star in the middle of his paper target.
He didn’t quite make it, but that didn’t bother Darian DePreta. Stalter had already won her an enormous stuffed animal.
“This is my first time ever” at the fair, DePreta said, and so far, she’d enjoyed the whole experience.
Inside the livestock barns, some regular fair-goers were taking a break to see some of the sights.
Krista Buckwell’s family runs a concession booth at the Cabarrus County Fair, selling roasted corn.
But family members took Friday off so the kids could see the sights, including the petting zoo.
Buckwell’s mother, Katie, said that Krista, 11, and the other kids have come to love being at the fair.
“It kind of feels like your family when you’re out here,” Katie Buckwell said.
And that’s what Sharpe said her staff is trying to make possible, with “small touches you might not notice.”
She said she wants the Cabarrus County Fair to be one that others look to as an example of how to make those fairy-tale stories happen.
The Cabarrus County Fair is located at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, 4759 N.C. Highway 49.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.