A band of rain storms kept many fairgoers away on Tuesday, but less than an hour after gates opened on day two of the Richmond County Fair, visitors were lined up at ticket booths in support of their community.
“We had to close down yesterday because of the weather,” said Assistant Fair Manager Rena Shedrick-Marshall on Wednesday. “It was pretty bad out here. We still have some puddles of water and mud, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was last night.”
Despite the washout, Shedrick-Marshall said visitors were lined up outside the gate.
“We did allow some people to come in and walk through the barn and see the animals,” she said. “That made the kids feel really good — to be able to get in after their parents had come out. I’m seeing a lot of people on pins and needles to come in.”
Less than a half hour after gates opened on Wednesday, the fair saw a steady increase of traffic — including a large demand to ride the newest rides.
Among the new attractions were pony rides from a company called Blueberry Hill Pony Rides out of Alma, Mich.
Six-year-old Kendall Jenkins of Ellerbe was first in line to jump in the saddle.
“She loves (horses),” said her mother, Erica Smith. “She got to sit on one at the flea market one time, and that was it.”
Kendall said this was the second year she has attended the Richmond County Fair.
Across the fairgrounds, Sequoia Davis, 6, had just finished her ride on another of the fair’s newest attractions — a colorful train that carried riders through a series of twists and turns.
“I rode a real one, too,” Davis said as she made her way back from the ride.
The crowd remained steady for the first part of the afternoon, and ride operators speculated that numbers would grow higher toward the weekend.
Wednesday’s entertainment schedule included singer Beth McDonald, the Hamlet Senior Cheerleaders and Line Dancers, Ervin V. Roscoe Jr. and DJ Jimmie Reese.
Vendors like local restaurant Peking Wok and the AMVETS sold food, alongside Sandhills Memorial Hospital staffers who performed blood pressure checks. Local fire departments and emergency services were also present to discuss disaster planning.
The fair will continue on Thursday, with gates opening at 4 p.m.
— Staff Writer Mallory Brown can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.