2011 Fair Dates:  October 3 - October 11
Fair In Full Swing
Fair In Full Swing
Published by the Robesonian10/11/2011

By: Ali Rockett

Fair President Allen Faircloth cuts the ribbon to officially open the 65th annual Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair on Friday afternoon. | Staff photo by Ali Rockett.

Fair goers ride the Yo-Yo as the sun sets over the Robeson County fairgrounds. | Staff photo by Ali Rockett.

Dolton Stone, 12, Aishon McClure, 12, and Chandler Stone, 11, walked around the fairgrounds on Friday afternoon to see the more than 45 carnival rides supplied by Wade Shows, the country's largest carnival. | Staff photo by Ali Rockett.

A scene from opening night at the 65th annual Robeson Regional Agricultural. | Staff photo by Ali Rockett.

Laura Ann, 7, Faya, 2, and Linda McArthur, 5, try their luck at the Goldfish game to take home their very own fish. | Staff photo by Ali Rockett.

Fair goers take cover during a 45-minute downpour that brought gusty winds, thunder and lightening. | Staff photo by Ali Rockett.

A rainbow forms over the fair grounds as the storm clouds make their way across the sky. | Staff photo by Ali Rockett.

A scene from opening night at the 65th annual Robeson Regional Agricultural. | Staff photo by Ali Rockett.
Ali Rockett
Staff writer
LUMBERTON — Eager fair-goers poured into the Robeson County fairgrounds Friday for the opening day of the 65th annual Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair.
Waiting at the gate just minutes after they had opened about 4:30 p.m. were Cole Hunt, 6, and his 4-year-old sister Chloe. The children were accompanied by their mom, dad, grandma and aunt.
“I like the rides,” Chloe said when asked what she liked about coming to fair with her family every year. Cole chimed in, “Me, too!”
The two were chomping at the bit, pulling their mother and grandmother along in the line, until they got inside the grounds and saw more than 45 colorful carnival rides spring to life before their eyes.
During the opening ceremony, the adults got excited, too.
“There were two things about growing up here in Robeson County that we always looked forward to: the Christmas parade and the fair,” said Jay Britt, Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce president. “They would go around to the schools and pass out tickets to the kids, and we’d go home and bug the heck out of our parents to get us here as quick as possible.”
Now Britt is the parent and is looking forward to bringing his family to the fair during its nine-day stay in Robeson County.
Orrum Middle School students Dolton Stone, 12, Chandler Stone, 11, and Aishon McClure, 12, were among the first people through the gates.
“We love it,” McClure said.
He and his friends attend to the fair every year.
“Everyone is out here,” Dolton Stone said.
The boys scoped out all the rides before they decided which one to start with. They stopped in front of the Mega Drop, which lifts thrill-seekers more than 100 feet into the air and drops them in a free fall at speeds of 65 mph, and watched a brave soul plummet to the earth.
Another adrenaline junkie at the fair was Shawn Marren, also known as the Human Cannonball. Marren, one of only six people in the world who can claim the title, is scheduled to be shot from his silver cannon — flying 40 feet in the air at 60 mph, flipping his body mid-air to land on an airbag about 100 feet in front of him in a matter of seconds — 13 times during his five-day engagement at the fair.
Marren said he has about 500 shots under his belt, and only three injuries. He started out playing keyboards for the Ringling Brothers Circus and talked his friend, the circus’ human cannonball who boasts of more than 6,000 shots, into training him.
It was a stroke of luck that he made it to Robeson County, Marren said. A cancellation in his tour opened a spot and he contacted fair organizer Coble Wilson to see if he could offer his skills.
“It’s rare that a county fair gets something like this,” Marren said.
For an additional $5 people can buy a photo astride the cannon and a spot below him as he flies overhead, Marren said.
Unfortunately his debut trip across the midway was cancelled because of rain. The 45-minute downpour soaked the grounds, but couldn’t dampen fair-goers spirits.
The rides sat idle during the rainfall for safety reasons, but revved up after the storm clouds had passed.
“It can’t rain on my parade,” said Sharon Locklear. “We’re going to have a good time, regardless.”
As the sun set, Locklear watched headlining performer D. J. Miller, an up-and-coming country music singer from Indiana, sing his hit song “A Little Naughty Is Nice.”
“He’s really going to be something one day,” Locklear said. “And he started here at the Robeson County fair.”
The forecast for the rest of the weekend calls for dry, but cooler weather. High temperatures are expected to be in the mid-60s, with lows in the low 40s.
The fair runs until Oct. 8. General admission tickets can be purchased at the gate or online at www.robesoncountyfair.com for $6. Unlimited carnival ride wrist bands can be purchased online or inside the fair for an additional $20.
Events scheduled for today at the Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair include:
— 3-point basketball tournament at 3 p.m.
— Live escape and illusion show from 5 to 6 p.m. at entertainment gate No. 10
— Jr. Miss and Little Miss Robeson County Fair pageants from 6 to 8 p.m. at entertainment gate No. 10
— Human Cannonball shows at 6:30, 7:30 and 9 p.m. at the south midway
— Monster Truck Show from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the grandstand; admission is $10
Check the Web site at www.robesoncountyfair.com for a detailed schedule of events.

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