|Volume XXIX Issue 8||October 9, 2003|
150th State Fair begins Oct. 17
Jay Dorne - Reporter
Celebrating its 150th anniversary, the North Carolina State Fair is making strides to attract more fairgoers to the event this year.
The fair is being held at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh Oct. 17 through 26 and will include variety of attractions, including competitive exhibits, livestock, entertainment, food and rides. State fair officials said they are confident that there will be something to excite every member of the family.
There will be several new additions to the fair aimed at a larger audience seeking greater thrills and entertainment, said Heather Overton, State Fair public information officer. Among these additions are several new rides imported from Strates Shows, a midway provider and one of the few companies that still transports equipment by train.
"Bringing their supplies by train allows them to bring more cumbersome and elaborate equipment that normally could not be transported to the fairgrounds," explained Overton. Among the Strates Shows rides are the TopSpin and the Adult Bumper cars, which Overton predicted to be crowd favorites this year.
Fair organizers have also diversified the entertainment component. An eclectic concert line-up includes rock, country and contemporary Christian acts. In addition to live music, there will be a variety of comedians slated to perform at the Donton Arena.
"Acts such as Foreigner and Trick Pony have the 1980s rock feel, which is coming back into style and should be popular with the college audience," Overton said.
Advance tickets are available at a discounted rate online and at designated sites throughout the Triangle and Triad, including Colonial Mall in Burlington. Tickets for the Donton Concert series are also available and are being sold separately from the fair admission.
The State Agricultural Society founded the State Fair in 1853 as a method for area farmers to exchange agricultural information. The first fair site was a 16-acre area located 10 blocks from the capitol in Raleigh. After being moved several times to various locations in the Raleigh area, the State Fair moved to its present location in 1952.
More recently, $1.5 million in renovations and improvements were made to several fairground structures in 1999. The State Fair and grounds operate on a year-round basis with 57 permanent employees.
Total attendance throughout the 10-day period last year was 696,977, just slightly below average. Overton said she expects a larger attendance this year.
"With the new rides and appealing music, people will have more incentive to visit the fair and experience the excitement," she said.
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