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2011 Fair Dates:  October 3 - October 11
Fair on a Record Pace
Fair on a Record Pace
Published by the Robesonian10/4/2011

By: Amanda Munger

LUMBERTON — Justin Odum may seem like a regular 19-year-old, but Monday night, he was the Invisible Kissing Bandit — with orange toenails to boot.
Odum was a willing participant in hypnotist Alan Sands’ comedy show, an act that has been a staple at the fair for the past 10 years.
“Anyone can be hypnotized,” Sands said. “Some people it takes 15 seconds to go under, and others take the whole six minutes.”
Odum only needed a few minutes before he was resting his head on the shoulder of Elizabeth Scott, who was also under hypnosis. The two were the most easily influenced of the four fair-goers on stage.
Odum was instructed to react to the word “love,” a word that Sands said would grant him a single minute of “invisibility.” After Sands said the trigger word, Odum sprinted through the tent, kissing as many women as he could find in the 60-member audience.
“It felt awesome,” said Odum, who was hypnotized at last year’s show. “I felt so relaxed.”
At one point Sands told the participants that flossing between their toes with their socks would cure athlete’s foot, which was causing them to itch uncontrollably.
Odum was then persuaded to paint his toenails while the rest of the crew sang the “Spongebob Squarepants” theme song with sock puppets.
The jokes didn’t stop after the participants left the stage. When Scott heard the word “passion,” she began an enthusiastic make-out session with her husband Russell.
“I have no idea,” Scott said, about why she was kissing him. “I don’t ever kiss in public.”
She and Odum couldn’t remember anything they did on stage.
“Don’t tell him he painted his toes,” Sands said. “We want that to be a surprise.”
While Sands worked his magic, across the fairgrounds was a sea of pyramids, pep and ponytails as county cheerleaders battled it out during the annual cheerleading contest. The contest, which featured 14 teams, has been a staple at the fair since the 1980s.
“It’s a neutral zone,” said Rudy Paul, the chairman of the cheerleading contest. “No particular high school is hosting it, so no one can say there is a home advantage.”
In the middle school division, Fairmont Middle School clinched first and Townsend Middle School won second. For junior varsity, Purnell Swett won first and Lumberton High came in second. Varsity saw Lumberton High School declared the winners for the second year in a row, and Purnell Swett came in second.
The chilly night had turned cold by the time trophies were handed out, and the fair became a mini-Las Vegas — a whirlwind of flashing lights, pulsing music and constant motion.
This year’s fair, which features all-new rides, has broken records already. More than 15,400 people roamed the fairgrounds Saturday, setting a single-day attendance record.
“I think it was a combination of things,” said Allen Faircloth, the president of the fair. “I think the fact we have a new show and it really really looks good … and I think the fact that we had the monster truck show was a big factor. … The fact that we did have the rain on Friday night early could have possibly deterred people on Friday, but they made up for it on Saturday.”
With the forecast for mild temperatures and sun, Faircloth hopes the pattern continues.
“If the weather will hold out, we think we’re shooting for peak business because we feel like with having such a great show and so many different events that many people will come to the fair once and then come again,” Faircloth said. “We’re hoping to break some more records.”
Today and Wednesday are Children’s Day, when children with a school coupon get in free and get a wrist band for discounted rides. On Thursday, admission is waived for donation of five cans of food to support the Robeson County Church and Community Center.
Events scheduled for today and Wednesday at the Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair include:
Today
— Fair open to the public from 4:30 to 11 p.m.
— Special appearance of FairWeather the Pig from 5 to 7 p.m.
— Free hot air balloon rides from 5 to 7 p.m. at the south front parking lot
— Fifth and sixth grade cheerleading contest at 6:30 p.m. at the grandstand
— Comedy hypnotist Alan Sands at 6:30 p.m. on the McDonald’s Midway Stage
— Puppetone Rockers at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
— 4-H youth hog show at 7 p.m. in the livestock arena
— Step show at 7:30 p.m. at South Tent Gate #10
— Adult market hog show at 8 p.m. at the livestock arena
— Kandu and Company Family Entertainment at 6:30 and 8 p.m. on the south part of the grounds
Wednesday
— Fair open to the public from 4:30 p.m to 11 p.m.
— College Day: free admission with current year college ID
— Special appearance of FairWeather the Pig from 5 to 7 p.m.
— Puppetone Rockers at 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
— Hypnotist Alan Sands at 6:30 and 9 p.m. at the McDonald’s Midway Stage
— 4-H turkey show and poultry show at 8 p.m. in the livestock arena
— Best legs contest from 8 to 9 p.m. on the McDonald’s Midway Stage
— Beach Music Night with the Band of Oz from 7 to 10 p.m. at South Tent Gate 10
— Chainsaw cutting contest at 7 p.m. in the grandstand area
— Kandu and Company Family Entertainment at 6:30 and 8 p.m. near the south food court.

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