BY JOHN H. WALKER
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Crowds poured into the Rocky Mount Fair Saturday evening.
“It’s a very good crowd,” said Vicki Parker, who has worked at the fair for 25 years. “It’s going really good so far and the weather’s great.”
The sounds of screams of excitement, children’s laughter and Latino gospel music could be overheard and the colorful lights of the Ferris wheel lit up the nighttime sky, as the smells of turkey legs and cotton candy wafted mingled in the air.
“Seeing the kids at the fair, smiling with cotton candy, candy apples…that’s my favorite part,” Parker said. “It (the fair) is amazing to the kids.”
A tall slide at the fair loomed in front of Kameron Tucker, 5, and his brother Kaiden Tucker, 4, but once the boys got over their fear, they wanted to experience the thrill of going down the slide again. One of the brothers was particularly afraid of the slide at first glance.
“You could see the scaredness in his face,” said the boys’ mother Quatisha Tucker, of Rocky Mount. “Then the scaredness faded away to excitement. He said, ‘I love it’ and had to go back down twice.”
Along with watching her boys a chance to ride the rides, Quatisha enjoyed the food at the fair. She had a slice of pizza not long after arriving.
Parker also said she loves the food at the fair, and planned to embark on a new culinary “adventure” Saturday evening – trying a deep-fried Oreo for the first time. Red velvet funnel cakes, candy apples, turkey legs and roasted corn were among the other food offerings at the fair.
Food vendors weren’t the only ones keeping busy Saturday evening. Vendors manning booths featuring children’s games stayed hopping, as well.
A vendor who goes by “Tubby,” runs a game called the “Fishin’ Hole,” and said the fair is more crowded this year than the last time he was out there – two years ago.
“Since the sun’s gone down, a lot more people are coming out,” he said.
As the sun set over the fairgrounds, 10-year-old Elisha Walston of Tarboro spun around in the sky on a swing. She said the Sky Quest ride was her favorite at the fair so far.
Walston’s mother Lisa Proctor watched her four children ride the rides over and over again at the fair.
“I like watching them have fun,” Proctor said. “We’re going to stay out here until it completely closes.”
While Proctor’s children rode the rides, Kaiden Rivenbark, 3, of Wilson, pet the goats at the petting zoo.
“He’s excited about dirt bikes. That’s his favorite thing,” said Rivenbark’s mother Meghan Tomlinson.
Keyonna Houston, 3, competed in the Rocky Mount Fair Pageant Saturday afternoon, but her favorite part of the day was riding the rides.
“I got on a roller coaster!” Houston said, with a candy apple in hand.
She rode a small dragon “roller coaster” designed for children. Houston got third place in the pageant.
“She did get a prize for being most beautiful,” said Houston’s mother Kendra Houston, of Rocky Mount. “She got a trophy.”
Kendra Houston said she tries to come to the Rocky Mount fair every year.
“It’s fun and it’s kinda nice that it’s close. I don’t have to drive to Raleigh,” she said.
The fair is open through next Saturday, from 12-10 p.m. today and next Saturday, and from 4 to 10 p.m. every other day. Tonight’s feature at the fair is a free fireworks show. In store for folks at the fair every night are pig races, the Urias Family Circus, helicopter rides, petting zoo, karaoke and mechanical bull rides.
“We like it to be a family atmosphere,” Parker said.
The fair is on old U.S. 64/ Tarboro Highway east of Rocky Mount. For more information, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.rockymountfair.com" www.rockymountfair.com.