The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

February 6, 2013

Rocky Mount Fair opts for Labor Day opening

The Daily Southerner
John H. Walker

ROCKY MOUNT — The fair or the beach? That will be the question this Labor Day weekend after organizers of the Rocky Mount Fair made the decision to push the start of the fair’s 75th edition ahead by nearly six weeks.

The fair is normally scheduled the second week in October — often in competition with other fairs, such as the North Carolina State Fair last fall.

Figuring it would be easier to compete with the beach than the State Fair Midway, organizers decided on a nine-day run beginning Friday, Aug. 30 and ending on Saturday, Sept. 7 — incorporating two weekends.

Not only does that mean patrons have more time to spend at the fair, organizers hope the extra days mean more money in the coffers, as well.

By locking in that date, the fair will be the earliest in Eastern North Carolina and one of the earliest in the state — something generally reserved for fairs in Western North Carolina.

Organizers said the date change would allow the fair to obtain rides it previously would have lost to the State Fair.

Skip Carney, who hosted the meeting in the office of Carney & Associates, Public Relations said. “We’d rather compete with the beach than the state fair.”

Alma, Mich.-based Playworld Amusements will contract for the rides for the fifth year and has committed to bring at least five rides to Rocky Mount that have never played the fair because they have always been in Raleigh.

Fair officials said space limitations at the fairgrounds means there is limited room for an increase in the number of rides. While the base, core rides will always be present, the flexibility created by the change in dates means a greater variety of rides will be on-hand.

In addition to the rides and the agricultural aspect, the fair will continue to work with school and youth groups and have cheerleading and step competitions.

Last fall, the fair worked to draw local entertainment and included karaoke contest as part of the “Rocky Mount’s Got Talent” theme.