HISTORICAL NOTES ABOUT THE COUNTY FAIR IN ROBESON COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
AS FIRST ESTABLISHED BY THE LUMBERTON JAYCEES
The Lumberton Jaycees were organized in October of 1946 by a group of returned World War II Veterans. John Luther McLean was named the first President. McLean was a promising young insurance executive in Lumberton. The Club received its charter in January of 1947. The Club membership in it’s infancy was as high as 106 men.
1st ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
October 7, 1947
J. A. Sharpe, Editor and Publisher of Robeson County’s daily newspaper, The Robesonian was elected the second President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Under Sharpe’s guidance and with John A. Tudor, a well-respected Lumberton Merchant serving as Chairman, the first Farmers FESTIVAL in Robeson County was held.
The first Farmer’s FESTIVAL was conducted after the formation of a separate corporation named The Robeson County Agricultural and Indust rial Exposition, Incorporated. The charter of this corporation is recorded in the office of the Clerk of the Superior Court of Robeson County, Lumberton, N. C. A letter from the North Carolina Department of Revenue dated September 6, 1947 st atedthat the Lumberton Junior Chamber of Commerce was exempt from franchise taxes.
The first FESTIVAL was a one-day affair, held on October 7, 1947. Rain poured down all day long, but the show went on including an elaborately planned parade which was viewed by more than 10,000 people. Floats were in sad shape when they went by the reviewing st and. Pretty girls in evening dresses on floats were holding umbrellas over their heads as they rode down Lumberton's rain-soaked st reets. Exhibits were held in Liberty # 1 tobacco warehouse on First st reet. Rain made it necessary to hold the speaking and the big barbecue dinner inside the warehouse. Tickets sold for $1 each and almost fifteen hundred people attended. The Honorable Harold D. Cooley, Congressman from Nashville, N. C. and Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture was the featured speaker. Various merchants donated merchandise prizes. The grand prize of a one-horse wagon, harness and a mouse-colored mule was donated by Lumberton Trading Company and was won by a Robeson County Indian farmer. John Tudor was the first Manager.
2nd ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
A.T. "Torry" McLean, Jr., Supervisor of Sales of Lumberton’s Big Tobacco Market, was the 3rd President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Hector McLean chaired the 2nd Farmer’s FESTIVAL which was held in October of 1948. McLean was Mayor of Lumberton and at that time was one of the youngest Mayors in North Carolina. The FESTIVAL was moved to the Armory Field in Lumberton and again was a three-day event. In contrast to the previous year, perfect October weather favored this event. The parade held at the beginning of this event was two miles long. Two tents were used, one for booths and exhibits and one for livest ock. A man named Rome Harris brought in three rides -a Ferris wheel, hobbyhorse, and merry mix-up. The Jaycees received a percentage of his take and netted about three hundred dollars from the venture. Bill Wilkins and John Tudor were Co-Managers. A Grand Old Opry st arappeared as a free act. Over $3,000.00 in prizes was given away that year. Grand prizes were a deep freezer and an electric cook st ove. That year’s event was an outst anding success –not much money was cleared but everyone had a good time. A prize list was prepared and printed by Robeson Office Supplies.
On November 20, 1948, Thad Eure, Secretary of st ate, signed a Certificate of Incorporation for the Robeson County Agricultural and Indust rial Exposition, Inc. Those Jaycee members list ed on the articles of incorporation include:
E. W. Warner
B. Scoggins, Jr.
W. E. Wilkins
James W. MacCallum
J. B. Fennell
W. T. Reasonover
Henry A. McKinnon, Jr.
Monroe C. Gibson
William F. French
3rd ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
Monroe Carr Gibson, a local lumber operator became the 4thPresident of the Lumberton Jaycees. The third Farmer’s FESTIVAL was held in October of 1949 and was again a 3-day event. The FESTIVAL was co-chaired by H. A. McKinnon, Jr., a Lumberton lawyer and Hector MacLean, the chairman of the year before. Perfect weather again favored the event. The Armory grounds and a large circus tent were used again. The parade was very colorful and many comical farm floats were entered, including one with a possum in a tree, with hound dogs baying at the base. This float won first place in the parade.
4th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 30 –NOVEMBER 4, 1950
John W. Campbell, another young Lumberton lawyer and Solicitor of Recorder’s Court was now President of the Lumberton Jaycees. The Farmer’s FESTIVAL this year was extended to 6 days, October 30th–November 4th..It was chaired by W. E. Wilkins, a Lumberton Cotton Merchant. A circus tent was again used for exhibits and booths. The parade was longer and
more colorful this year. A Junior Dairy Cattle show was held for the first time. For the first time in FESTIVAL hist ory, it was held outside of the city limits on the site of the old airport. A large commercial carnival –Mark’s Bros. Shows, Inc. was engaged to play at this year’s event. A large premium list on the order of a County Fair Premium List was prepared. The Jaycees reported that this year’s event was the biggest and best in its hist ory.
In connection with the est ablishment of the AnnualFarmer’s FESTIVAL, the goal of the Lumberton Jaycees was to accumulate enough money to buy a site and erect permanent exhibit halls and have a dirt track for auto and horse racing. The events in the past were all highly successful, but no great amount of money was cleared. It was hoped that this year would bring in enough money to give the club a st art on their goal. In order to perpetuate the Farmer’s FESTIVAL, the Lumberton Jaycees had also incorporated the Farmer’s FESTIVAL under the name of the Robeson County Agricultural and Indust rial Exposition, Inc. –a non st ock corporation.
1950 marked the beginning of a new adventure in the hist ory of the Farmers FESTIVAL. A week long fair was promoted at a new site. The old airport property, owned by Hector MacLean, south of McMillan’s Beach and north of U. S. Highway No. 74 was used through the courtesy of Jaycee MacLean. Marks Show contracted to bring the first full scale carnival to Lumberton in connection with the fair. Two tents were again used, one for livest ock and the other for exhibits. Cash prizes were awarded for the first time and an admission was charged to enter the fairgrounds. Bill Wilkins was Fair Manager. To promote the FESTIVAL, a greased pig was turned loose at Walnut and Elm st reets in the downtown area. A profit was made in the neighborhood of fifteen hundred dollars and talk soon encouraged the Jaycees to negotiate for a permanent site for the growing FESTIVAL. Jaycee Hector MacLean then offered the Jaycees the old airport siteof approximately forty acres for the given price of twelve hundred dollars. The club accepted the offer and paid for the land out of the 1950 fair profit. A chain link fence was purchased from Allison Fence Company in Charlotte to circle the show area, about ten acres, at a cost of three or four thousand dollars. American Houses donated the hull or frame for a ticket office and Scarborough’s donated materials to finish and floor the office. The chain link fence purchase was the first indebtedness incurred by the fair corporation –thirty-five hundred dollars.
The Robeson County Agricultural and Indust rial Exposition, Inc. became the legal provision for the Lumberton Jaycees. The corporation owned the property and all assets, paid all insurance, maintained the property, and allowed the Jaycees to use the property for its meetings and for Jaycee projects. This placed all liability on the corporation, and protected individual Jaycees members. The officers and directors of the fair corporation and the officers and directors of the Jaycees were totally separate and independent of each other. The Bylaws of the corporation called for members to elect the President, Vice-President, Secretary/Treasurer, and four Board Members for the Fair. The President ofthe Jaycees Served on the Fair Board, and was allowed to appoint one additional member to the fair board. The Fair Board selected the person or persons to serve as Fair Manager(s).
For the first few years after the Lumberton Jaycees were formed, they meet once each week at the Lorraine Hotel, on 4thst reet in downtown Lumberton. Dinner was provided at each meeting. The Jaycees were recognized as a live-wire organization supplementing the work of the Senior Chamber of Commerceand the Lumberton Civic Clubs. Some of the projects and activities engaged in by the club were:
1. Inst rumental in getting the city form of government changed to include a Mayor and Council to City Manager.
2. Helped in city recreation and athletics work.
3. Promoted cattle and hog shows and other agricultural projects.
4. Sponsored county corn growing contest s.
5. The Lumberton Jaycees had a champion softball team in the City League.
5th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
In 1951 the first FESTIVAL was held on land owned by the fair corporation. Max Bryan was now President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Marks Shows returned and heavy rains prevailed during the last days of the week long fair. The Jaycees hauled slabs and drove tractors to help keep the carnival from sinking out of sight. A net profit was realized but not as much as in 1950. Gambling had been outlawed by the High Sheriff Malcolm McLeod which led to a smaller guarantee by the carnival.
6th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
1952 was the first year of Johnny Vivona’s Carnival –now known as "Amusements of America." William Hall was President of the Lumberton Jaycees, and through Fair Manager Max Bryan and ex-manager Al Sharpe, the fair continued to grow. Premium list s were printed and dist ributed in booklet form several weeks before fair week. Tents were st ill used for exhibits and livest ock shows.
In July of 1952 a letter from the United st ates Department of Revenue gave the Robeson County Agricultural and Indust rial Exposition, Inc. exemption from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
7th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
October 19 –24, 1953
In 1953 the fair continued with Amusements of American again providing the carnival.Jim Phillips was now President of the Lumberton Jaycees, and Max Bryan remained Fair Manager. There were no significant changes and a profit was returned again this year. A thrill show was hired as a one night affair. The fence indebtedness was reduced to about fourteen hundred dollars by the end of the FESTIVAL.
8th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
The time between the 1954 and 1955 Farmers FESTIVAL brought major changes to the Jaycee fair operation. U. S. Highway 301 By-Pass was being const ructed and the st ate needed the Jaycee Fair property for the highway and a borrow pit. Under the leadership of President E. J. Britt and under threat of condemnation, the Jaycees settled for six thousand
dollars and looked around for another site. Asberry Taylor offered an eighteen acre site, south of U. S. 74. It was available for one thousand dollars an acre, or eighteen thousand dollars. The six thousand dollars was used as a down payment and the balance financed. The fence was moved for a cost of about three thousand dollars and enlarged to cover all of the site except a parking area. The total indebtedness now rose to about sixteen thousand five hundred dollars, including what was owed on the fence before the move. In addition, a cattle barn was built on the property at the cost of about three thousand dollars. Project money paid for some of the cost so the total indebtedness was about eighteen thousand dollars. A tenant house on the land was converted into a makeshift clubhouse with a chimney in the middle. The ticket office was moved to the new grounds and everything was ready for the 1955 fair.
9th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
Robert Williams was now serving as President of the Lumberton Jaycees. The Vivona's returned to provide the carnival for the county fair, guaranteeing two thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars –the largest guarantee up to that time. One large tent was rented for five hundred dollars to use for exhibits. The thrill show had now become a one night fixture. The new improvements and grounds enabled the club to realize the largest profit to date –three thousand two hundred dollars. Total receipts were about eight thousand seven hundred dollars and total expenses were about five thousand five hundred dollars. One thousand three hundred dollars was awarded in cash prizes. The gate receipts were four thousand one hundred and seventy dollars.
10th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
All Sharpe was now President of the Lumberton Jaycees. By now the Vivona's show had become so large they were no longer interest ed in playing this fair. Other carnivals were sought out and finally Ross Manning was booked for the week long carnival. With a two thousand five hundred dollar guarantee and a six thousand five hundred dollar gate, the club had the largest total receipts ever –topping ten thousand dollars for the first time. Heavy expenses cut the net profit to two thousand five hundred dollars but the fair was well on the way as a permanent fixture.
11th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
1957 was a difficult year. Joe Pete Ward was the President. With Manning returning, the gate fell to four thousand five hundred dollars and expenses climbed with the addition of freeacts which cost one thousand two hundred and fifty dollars. For a number of reasons the free acts were a complete flop and the net profit dipped to one thousand and one hundred dollars. E. J. Britt, Jr. was Fair Manager. One good thing did come out of the 1957 season.
The club discovered that it had fallen heir to 1.33 acres of tobacco allotment by virtue of the purchase of the eighteen acre tract from Asberry Taylor. This allotment was placed in the Soil Bank program and six hundred and fifty dollarswas received.
12th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
Bill Kinlaw was elected President of the Lumberton Jaycees this year. The Fair Committee had a lot of difficulty finding a carnival but finally signed Rocco Masussi to play Lumberton. This year proved to be the best gate to date for the FESTIVAL with six thousand five hundred dollars in receipts. Although the carnival guarantee was the lowest in over five years, one thousand eight hundred dollars, the total receipts soared to eleven thousand and five hundred dollars. By cutting expenses right and left, the largest net profit by far was realized, five thousand and five hundred dollars. Eight hundred and twelve dollars was received from the Soil Bank for not planting the tobacco corp. Ed Thorndyke and Jerry Cabaniss were Co-Managers of the fair. For the first time this year fireworks were provided as special entertainment for those attending the fair.
13th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
Dennis McCarthy was now the President of the Lumberton Jaycees. This was another good year although the fair did not open until Tuesday due to failure of Dave Endy’s Show to set up in time. The gate receipts fell to six thousand dollars but a good net of four thousand and seven hundred dollars was realized. The mortgage payment had now been cut to about four thousand dollars. For the first time a premium list was developed to itemize prizes that would be available at the county fair. This list was given county wide coverage in a special supplement printed by The Robesonianat a cost of one thousand and fifty dollars. Five hundred dollars a year was st ill being payed for tents to show exhibits. Baker Wilson and Jerry Cabaniss were the Fair Managers. The Soil Bank program was eliminated and the tobacco allotment was rented to K. M. Biggs, Inc. for two hundred and sixty-eight dollars. Because of the provisions of the tobacco quota program, the tobacco was actually planted on the fairgrounds (Editor's Note: Most likely, the tobacco was harvest ed and the site prepared for the fair before the carnival arrived.)
14th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
Sam Noble was now serving as President of the Lumberton Jaycees. During this year the Fair Corporation entered into a major project, the const ruction of an exhibit hall. It measured seventy-five feet by one hundred and twenty feet and was const ructed of concrete, solid block and st eel. A concrete cinder block rest room building was also const ructed. The cost of the exhibithall totaled about twenty-one thousand five hundred dollars and the rest rooms about three thousand dollars. By borrowing enough money to pay off the exist ing
mortgage, a twenty-six thousand dollar loan was arranged and financed over a six year period by The Scottish Bank. The club was rewarded for its efforts by enjoying the best and biggest fair ever. Gate receipts ran to an all time high of eight thousand eight hundred dollars. Seven hundred and seventy-five dollars worth of commercial booth space was rented and the carnival guarantee from Vivona’s Amusements of America was two thousand eight hundred dollars. Total receipts hit fifteen thousand dollars and it looked like the fair was going big time. Although expenses were also the highest ever, eight thousand seven hundred and seventy-five dollars, net profit climbed to six thousand two hundred dollars. Baker Wilson and Jerry Cabaniss were again Fair Managers.
15th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
Everette Henry was elected President of the Lumberton Jaycees in 1961. This year the Jaycees const ructed a new clubhouse on the fairgrounds. The original clubhouse, known as the "Little Red Barn," st ood for a long time along with the more modern 1961 home in West Lumberton.
Vivona’s Amusements of America returned with the same guarantee of two thousand eight hundred dollars, but gate receipts fell to six thousand six hundred dollars. Total receipts hit twelve thousand dollars and a good profit of four thousand dollars was realized. The tobacco allotment was rented to J. D. Odum for four hundred and two dollars. Cash premiums paid fell to one thousand dollars. No livest ock was exhibited this year. The thrill show was st ill a one night affair. Baker Wilson and Jerry Cabaniss were st illFair Managers. In an effort to raise funds to help defray some of the cost of supporting local members who wanted to seek dist rict and st ate offices, and the defray some of the cost of Jaycees members to attend regional, st ate, and national meetings, the Fair Corporation allowed the Jaycees to operate the parking lot, and to charge twenty five cents per car to park. All money raised from this project was used to fund the Jaycee Convention Club.
16th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
Noody Johnson was elected President of the Jaycees. Between the 1961 and 1962 season, the club sold its tobacco allotment for six thousand dollars and applied the proceeds on The Scottish Bank note. For some reason the club had great difficulty in signing a carnival for 1962. Finally Pat Reithoffer was signed at the last minute and his carnival came south to Lumberton for the first time. Rain plagued the fair and forced the fair grounds to be closed all night on Wednesday. In spite of this the total gate waseleven thousand four hundred dollars with a net profit of four thousand one hundred dollars. Reithoffer Shows was signed before the end of the year to return in 1963. The thrill show came for two nights and returned about the same profit as the one night show. Gate receipts were second highest of all time, six thousand eight hundred dollars in spite of losing Wednesday night. Baker Wilson, Jerry Cabaniss, and Bob Williams were Fair Managers.
16th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
Osborne "Obbie" Lee, Jr. served as President of the Lumberton Jaycees in 1963. The Jaycees entered into another large const ruction project. A cattle barn for beef and dairy cattle was const ructed at a cost of three thousand five hundred dollars and a new ticket office was built for nine hundred and seventy-five dollars. In addition, the Fair Corporation built a new clubhouse behind the pond for a total cost of eight thousand two hundred dollars and equipped it with new tables and lounge furniture. These additionst o the fairgrounds
increased the mortgage indebtedness from ten thousand five hundred dollars to twenty-six thousand dollars.
The 1963 fair saw Reighoffer Shows returning with a two thousand eight hundred and fifty dollars guarantee. In spite of a rainySaturday with no paid admissions until 7 p.m., the total gate receipts hit seven thousand four hundred dollars, the second largest in the hist ory of the fair. Although the proceeds of the parking lot were turned over to the Jaycee Convention Club for thethird st raight year, total receipts for the 1963 fair were eleven thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven dollars –only one hundred fourteen dollars less than in 1961; the second best year.
A large display of indust rial products made in the county was exhibited by the Robeson County Indust rial Development Commission and this proved to be one of the feature attractions in the exhibit hall. A weaving machine was set up by Alamac Knitting Mills to show how various designs could be produced. An outdoor farm machinery exhibit was lighted and all dealers in the area participated at no charge. A three thousand dollar payment was made on the indebtedness reducing the amount owed to twenty-three thousand dollars at the end of 1963. Reithoffer Shows was signedagain at the conclusion of the fair for 1964 season. Baker Wilson and Bob Williams were Fair managers –the last year for both men.
17th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL
Luther Britt, Jr. was elected Jaycee President. Reighoffer Shows returned, generating the largest ride gross in the hist ory of the fair. Gate receipts totaled ten thousand four hundred dollars surpassing the 1960 record by one thousand six hundred dollars. Total gross was fifteen thousand and eighty-six dollars surpassing 1960 by eighty-two dollars. The largest net profit of two thousand six hundred and nine dollars was enjoyed after paying the note that was due at First Union National Bank down to nineteen thousand six hundred dollars. The Indust rial Exhibit was continued and well received and the Hell Drivers came again for a one night st and. A small addition was built to the Jaycee Hut to house articles for st orage at a cost of about one thousand dollars. Carlton Fipps and Morris Bennett were Fair Managers.
18th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL and JAYCEE FAIR
Horace st acy, Jr. was elected President of the Lumberton Jaycees. The name of the county fair was changed to reflect the involvement of the Lumberton Jaycees. Although Reighoffer Shows had been contracted at the Durham Fair meeting, a new show, Megerle-
Pfile, was sent to play the fair. They had excellent equipment and provided a good fair which grossed thirteen thousand five hundred and seventy-two dollars after a complete rain out onFriday night. If it hadn’t been for the Friday night rain which st arted at 5:30 pm the ride gross most likely would have been the largest ever.
Farm machinery was exhibited in the new Jaycee Horse Show ring and the swine barn was filled with 4-H and other swine. After paying down the fair indebtedness to sixteen thousand six hundred and fifty dollars, a profit of two thousand one hundred dollars was shown. The parking proceeds and the concession st and profits totaling about one thousand six hundred dollars was earned for the Jaycee Convention Club. This fair was marked by one bad experience. A woman st epped into a hole on the fairgrounds and injured her back. Suit was brought against the Fair Corporation and it was finally settled for three thousand two hundred and fifty dollars which was paid by our insurance company. Morris Bennett and Carlton Fipps again served as Fair Managers.
19th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL and JAYCEE FAIR
September 19 -24, 1966
Ernest Brown was elected President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Luther Britt was Chairman of the Fair, Carl Dixon st ephens served as Treasurer, and Morris Bennett and Carlton Fipps were Fair Managers. Goodman Shows, Inc. provided the carnival, featuring 20 rides and 10 shows. Admission was 75 cents for adults and 25 cents for children. Fireworks were provided every night
Cakes entered in the fair were considered donated, and were sold by the slice by the Jaycees at their concession st and. In the fair handbook Home Federal Savings and Loan, located on 6thand Chest nut st reet in Lumberton, advertised 4 ½ % loans.
Children's day with free bicycles and other prizes were provided on Tuesday and
Wednesday. Jack Kochman World Champion Hell Drivers performed to a full house on Wednesday night. No other special attractions were provided.
20st ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL and JAYCEE FAIR
Roger Sessoms was elected President of the Lumberton Jaycees.
Editor -No further information available about the fair.
21st ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL and JAYCEE FAIR
September 16 –21, 1968
James Powers, Jr. was elected President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Obbie Lee was Fair Chairman, Carl Dixon st ephens was Treasurer, and Kenneth Sasser was Assist ant Treasurer. Morris Bennett and Jim Byrd were Fair Managers
Happy-Land Shows provided the carnival, with 20 rides and 10 shows. Admission was 75 cents for adults and 25 cents for children. Fire works were provided every night.The
fair book featured a full page advertisement urging everyone to vote for Jim Gardener for Governor, and a half page advertisement for Bob Scott for Governor. Cablevison of Lumberton advertised that it offered 12 channels.
Children were admitted free until 6:00 pm, with free bicycles and other prizes, on Tuesday and Friday nights. Jack Kochman's World Champion Hell Drivers performed on Friday night.
23rd ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL and JAYCEE FAIR
September 15 –20, 1969
Wilbur Britt was elected President of the Lumberton Jaycees. st an Glover was Chairman of the Fair and Roger Sessoms was Secretary/Treasurer. Morris Bennett and Jim Byrd were Fair Managers once again. Alfred Smith was Cust odian and Assist ant General Manager.
Royce Green's Fun Fair Shows provided the carnival with 20 exciting rides and 10 feature shows. Admission was increased to $1 for adults, but children's admission remained at 25 cents. Fire works were provided every night. In the fair book the Holiday Inn advertised two locations in Lumberton, and Roses was located in downtown Lumberton.
Hog shows were becoming a major attraction at the fair because there were such a large number of hog producers in this county. Under the leadership of Jaycee John Richardson, Livest ock Extension Agent, the first ever Hog Carcass Show was held on Monday night and the following morning the hogs were sent to slaughter. Arrangements were made with Swine Specialist s from the North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service to come to Scottish Packing Company in Lumberton to gather carcass data in order to determine the carcass with the highest quality. Factors considered were the least amount of back fat, the loin with the largest area of lean meat, the percent of lean meat in the carcass, and the length of the carcass. The grand champion carcass was placed on display at the Winn Dixie st ore in Biggs Park Shopping Center during the week of the fair.
Children were allowed in free until 6:00 pm on Tuesday and Friday nights, and a pony was one of the prizes provided for the youth. A Horse Show with Pepsi Race, Barrel Race, Pole Bending, Pick-Up Class, and Potato Race was provided on Tuesday night. Jack Kochman's World Champion Hell Drivers performed on Wednesday night.
24th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL andJAYCEE FAIR
September 21-26, 1970
st an Glover was elected Jaycee President. Royce Green's Fun Fair Shows provided the carnival. The financial report to the North Carolina Agricultural Fairs indicated total receipts of $19,919.15 and total expenses of$15,874.33 for a net profit of $4,044.82.
Editor –no further information available.
25th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL and JAYCEE FAIR
October 18-23, 1971
Coble D. Wilson, Jr. was president of the Lumberton Jaycees. Harrell Mabe was Chairmanof the Fair and Roger Sessoms was Secretary/Treasurer. Henry Shore was Legal
Advisor, and Morris Bennett and Jamie Adams were Fair Managers. Alfred Smith was Cust odian and Assist ant General Manager
Editor's note: there is little information available about Alfred Smith's long time involvement with the fair –I need additional information.
Vivona Shows, Amusements of America, returned to the Jaycee Fairgrounds, featuring 20 exciting rides and 10 feature shows. Admission for adults remained at $1, but children's admission increased to 50 cents. Fire works were provided every night
One of the classes in the home exhibits was chinquapin nuts, with $1.50 first place premium offered. Robeson Technical Inst itute had a st . Pauls address and a Lumberton phone number. The Lumberton Tobacco Markets with six warehouses sponsored a full page centerfold advertisement, and Bob Thompson was sales supervisor.
The Hog Carcass Show was again held on Monday night. The carcass data was obtained on Wednesday by Scottish Packing Company. This year the grand champion carcass was displayed at Bo's Supermarket, and all hogs that were shown on Monday night were sold at the meat market in this st ore during the week of the fair.
Children were allowed in free until 6:00 pm on Tuesday and Friday nights. A Gospel Singing Contest was provided on Tuesday night. Old County Fair contest s were conducted in the Livest ock arena, including balloon blowing, soda cracker eating, Pepsi drinking, pie eating, grease pole climbing, and greased pig chase. The winner of each event received a prize of $5.
Senior Citizens Day was Tuesday and all senior citizens were provided free admission. One of the contest s conducted during the Senior Citizens day was the loudest dressed man. A $2 first prize was provided.
The All American Hell Drivers, managed by Clayton H. (Jake) Plumst ead, performed on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
26th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL and JAYCEE FAIR
September 25 –30, 1972
Bill Phillips was President of the Lumberton Jaycees. John Richardson and Coble D. Wilson, Jr. were Co-Chairmen of the fair. Jerry Giles was Secretary/Treasurer. Mackie McIntyre and Fred Rogers were Legal Advisors. Morris Bennett and Jamie Adams were Fair Managers. AlfredSmith was Cust odian and Assist ant General Manager
Admission for adults increased to $1.50, but children's admission remained at
50 cents. Fireworks were provided every night. A sweepst akes prize of $25 was advertised for the person winning the most blue ribbons in the home exhibits area.
Royal Crown Bottling Company which was located on East 2nd st reet in Lumberton had an advertisement in the fair book.
The Hog Carcass Show was again held on Monday night. The carcass data was obtained on Wednesday by Scottish Packing Company. This year the grand champion carcass was displayed at Bo's Supermarket, and all hogs that were shown on Monday night were sold at the meat market in this st ore during the week of the fair.
Children were allowed in free until 6:00 pm on Tuesday and Friday night, and a boys and girls bicycle was given to the lucky winner each night. Old County Fair contest s were held in the Livest ock arena which included balloon blowing, soda cracker eating, Pepsi drinking, pie eating, grease pole climbing, and greased pig chase.
American Must ang Hell Drivers performed on Wednesday night, driving Ford cars.
Senior Citizens Day was held on Thursday with one contest being the best kitchen band. Gospel Sing was also held on Thursday night, featuring The Thrasher Brothers.
Jaycee James "J. P." Powers ran unsuccessfully for st ate Jaycee president.
27th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL and JAYCEE FAIR
September 24-29, 1973
Jerry Barnes was president of the Lumberton Jaycees. Coble D. Wilson, Jr. and John Richardson were Co-Chairmen of the fair. Felton Sealey served as Secretary/Treasurer, and Fred Rogers was Legal Advisor. Morris Bennett was Fair Manager. Alfred Smith was Cust odian and Assist ant General Manager
Admission for adults remained at $1.50, and admission for children remained at 50 cents. Amusements of America provided the Carnival. Fireworks were provided every night.
One of the classes in the vegetable exhibits was "Bullnose Sweet Potatoes." An advertisement by Southern National Bank in the fair book st ated that "the average middle aged couple getting married today, will borrow $155,000 in a lifetime."
Again this year the Hog Carcass Show was held on Monday night. The carcass data was obtained on Wednesday by Scottish Packing Company. As was done the previous several years, the grand champion carcass was displayed at Bo's Supermarket, and all hogs that were shown on Monday night were sold at the meat market in this st ore.
Children were allowed in free until 6:00 onTuesday and Friday night with tickets dist ributed in all the schools. Jack Kochman's Hell Drivers performed on Tuesday night and again on Thursday night. The Old County Fair events were held in the Livest ock arena, including balloon blowing, soda cracker eating, Pepsi drinking, pie eating, grease pole climbing, and greased pig chase.
Senior Citizens Day was held on Thursday with one contest being the man with the biggest foot. All Seniors were provided free admission. In addition, Gospel Singing featuring The Florida Boys was provided on Thursday.
28th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL and AGRICULTURAL FAIR
September 23 –28, 1974
Larry Pope was President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Mrs. Linda Barnes was President of the Lumberton Jaycettes. John Richardson and Coble D. Wilson, Jr. were Co-Chairmen of the Fair. Felton Sealey was Secretary/Treasurer and Horace st acy was Legal Advisor. Morris Bennett was Fair Manager and Jamie Adams was Assist ant Manager. The Fair Executive Committee included Charles Ivey, Jerry Barnes, Everett Davis, and Tony Thompson
This year the name of the fair was changed to the Robeson County Farmers Fest ival and Agricultural Fair. Admission remained at $1.50 for adults and 50 cents for children.
Amusements of America again provided the carnival. In the fair book the hand made clothing exhibits included 34 different divisions.
Again this year the Hog Carcass Show was held on Monday night. Following slaughter, the carcass data was obtained on Wednesday. The grand champion carcass was displayed at Bo's Supermarket, and all hogs shown during the show were sold there. Following the hog show that evening, Old Country Fair events were held which included corn shucking, corn shelling, hog calling, and husband calling contest s
Children were allowed in free until 6:00 on both Tuesday and Friday nights with coupons dist ributed in the schools. Gospel singing was held on Thursday night featuring The Countrymen & Teresa and the Cardsmen. Also on Thursday night a special contest was
conducted for adults only, the Beech-Nut Tobacco Spitting contest .
Jack Kochman's Hell Drivers performed on both Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Senior Citizens Day was held on Thursday. One of the contest conducted for seniors was an apple peeling contest .
By 1974 the Lumberton Jaycees realized that the West Lumberton fairground had reached its limit as a site for a growing county fair. Plans were begun to find a suitable site for a new fairgrounds and new buildings. After months ofsearching a suitable location was found on Highway 41, about 1 mile south of Lumberton. The process of planning and financing began. The old fairgrounds on East 5thst reet in Lumberton were sold to the City of Lumberton. The ball field that also served as a parking lot during the fair was donated to the Lumberton Recreational Department, and is now know as Jaycee Field. The proceeds from the sale were used to purchase 31.35 acres of land from Carolina Hardwood, Inc. from Whiteville, North Carolina. Mr. H. E. Blanchard was shown as the manager for this company and signed the deed.
With a major loan from Southern National Bank, it was now possible to begin const ruction of two large pre-fabricated metal buildings and erect fencing around the midway area. One building was a large Exhibit Hall containing a meeting room, rest rooms, president's office, board room, and recreation room. This building was 120' X 150' for a total of 18,000 square feet. The other building was a large Livest ock Building with an arena, bleachers, rest rooms, offices in the front, and animal pens in the rear. This building was
80' X 150' for a total area of 12,000 square feet. The buildings were const ructed by Rooks Engineering and Const ruction Company from Whiteville. It took over 18 months to complete this const ruction. In early May of 1975 the first Inst allation Banquet of the Lumberton Jaycees was held in their new clubhouse on their new fairgrounds.
The Robeson County Fairgrounds served as the home of the Lumberton Jaycees. The Jaycee Fair was simply one of the many projects conducted each year by the Jaycees, but it was by far the largest and most profitable project conducted. The Lumberton Jaycees were also involved in community projects related to mental health, crime prevention, youth activities, and many other projects to help build the community and the individual members.
29th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FARMERS FESTIVAL and JAYCEE FAIR
September 22 –27, 1975
John Richardson was President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Jerri Bennett was President of the Lumberton Jaycettes. Coble D. Wilson, Jr. and Larry Pope were Co-Chairmen of the Fair, Felton Sealey served as Secretary/Treasurer and the Fair Executive Committee included Charles Ivey, Jerry Barnes, Everett Davis, and Tony Tompson. Morris Bennett was the Fair Manager.
In the fall of 1975 the first Fair was held at the new Robeson County Fairgrounds and true to hist ory it rained for 4 days. The Jaycees found themselves relying on their emergency reserves to carry them through the year until time for the 1976 Fair.
Admission remained at $1.50 for adults and 50 cents for children. The carnival was again provided by Amusements of America.
Huckleberries were list ed as a possible entry in the canned foods division. The typical premium amount for home exhibits was $2 for 1st place winners, and $1 for 2nd place winners.
The Hog Carcass show was again held on Monday night. Also on Monday night was the 4-H chicken sale, along with contest s for corn shucking,husband calling, hog calling, and corn shelling.
Children were allowed in free until 6:00 with coupon on Tuesday and Friday nights.
Jack Kochman's Hell Drivers performed on Tuesday night, and again on Thursday night.
Wednesday was Pepsi Day providing free admission with coupons, Old Country Fair events, and 2 shows in the grandst and featured Nashville recoding st ar Jim Nesbitt. Senior Citizens Day was held on Thursday.
Jaycee Everett Davis was manager of Lumberton Implement Company, an International Harvest er farm equipment dealership in Lumberton. Because of the excessive rains he loaned used tractors for use at the fairgrounds. Parking committee members would watch arriving fairgoers as they came into the parking lot. When they could travel no further and became st uck, the tractor drivers hooked chains to the cars and pulled them as close to the ticket gates as possible. They also watched as fairgoers tried to leave the fairgrounds. They again hooked chains to the cars and pulled them out to the paved highway.
Note: When did the clock tower arrive on the fairgrounds? Need some hist ory and details, possibly some related st ories.
30th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 10 -18, 1976
Eric Prevatte was President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Kathy Lovin was President of the Lumberton Jaycettes. Coble D. Wilson, Jr. and Larry Pope were Co-chairmen of the Fair.
Earl Lutz was Treasurer, Bill Hurley was Assist ant Treasurer, and Kenny Morgret was Secretary. The Fair Executive Committee included Everett Davis, Jerry Barnes, Danny Thigpen, and Richard Prevatte. Morris Bennett served as Fair Manager.
This year the name of the fair was changed to the Robeson County Agricultural and Indust rial Fair. For the first time in the hist ory of the fair, it was expanded to nine big days. Admission remained at $1.50 for adults and 50 cents for children. The Carnival was again provided by Amusements of America.
The gates opened on Friday night at 6:00. A square dance exhibition was provided in the livest ock building.
The gates opened at 1:00 on Saturday. An antique car display was provided, and Jack Kochman's Hell Drivers entertained the crowd that night in the grandst and area. The gates opened at 1:00 on Sunday, andthe Hell Drivers provided an unusual daytime performance that afternoon. The gates closed at 6:00 on Sunday night.
The traditional hog show was conducted in Monday night, along with the 4-H chicken sale. Volunteer fire departments competed in waterfight competition across the hell drivers track from the grandst and. This competition involved volunteer fire fighters from across the county competing by two teams facing off to spray a st eady st ream of water toward a barrel suspended on a heavy cable between two poles. The object was to see which team could be the first to move the barrel to the opposite end of the cable.
Children were allowed in free with coupons until 6:00 on Tuesday and Friday nights. Tuesday was Pepsi Discount coupon day.
The Golden Knights Sky Diving team performed on Wednesday at 6:00 pm to signal the opening of the fair. Jaycee Everett Davis chaired the first championship Tractor Pull ever conducted in southeast ern North Carolina. For the first time an admission fee of $1 was charged at the back gate for the grandst and event to help offset the cost of the prize money that had to be paid out to the winning pullers. Pulling tractors from across the st ate showed up to compete, and many local farmers brought their tractorst o the fairgrounds to enter in the st ock classes. Many more tractors than expected showed up for competition. The ticket gates to the fairgrounds closed at 10:00, and the carnival closed down and shut off its lights at
11:00. The tractor pull was finally over at 3:00 am, and even then there were over 1,000 people st ill in the grandst ands for the final pull.
It became apparent that handicapped youth and adults found it extremely difficult to attend the fair during normal hours because of the difficulty of moving them through the crowds, and the additional time needed to help them on and off the carnival rides. For the first time this year the fair collaborated with the carnival to offer a special time with free admission for handicapped children from across the county to attend the county fair on Thursday. The fair was open for this audience only from 12:00 until 2:00, and the carnival operated its rides at no cost for these youth. In addition, some vendors opened their food booths and provided freeor drast ically discounted foods for these youth.
Thursday was also Senior Day. The gates were open for seniors at 3:00 with free admission. This was the first year for the Diaper Derby, a contest were very young children not yet walking were coached by their parents to crawl down a ten foot carpeted track. The first child to reach the other end was the winner. This proved to be a crowd favorite since many children either began to cry and refused to crawl, or became much more interest ed in what was going on around them and simply sat st ill watching inst ead of crawling, no matter how much the parents called or threatened. The first Diaper Derby was won by Brad Bullard, son of Jaycee Hubert Bullard. Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs provided 2 shows that night on the grandst and st age.
A Gospel Sing was the featured entertainment on Friday night, and a Kids Dog Show was provided on Saturday afternoon.
31st ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 2 –10, 1977
Everett Daviswas president of the Lumberton Jaycees. Debra Peterson was President of the Lumberton Jaycettes. The membership roles of the Lumberton Jaycees showed 129 active members, plenty of manpower to handle a project as large as the county fair.
Coble D. Wilson, Jr. and Larry Pope were Co-Chairmen of the fair. Earl Lutz was Treasurer and Kenny Morgret was Secretary. The Executive Committee included Everett Davis, Scott Burriola, Ed Johnson, Jerry Barnes, Hubert Bullard, Al Parnell, and Morris Bullock. Morris Bennett was Fair Manager.
The fair was a nine day event again this year. The carnival was again provided by Amusements of America.
The gates opened that first Friday at 5:00 pm,, and school children were allowed in free until 7:00 pm. A square dance exhibition was provided in the livest ock building, and a huge Antique Display and Heritage Village was developed adjacent to the livest ock building.
On Saturday a car st uffing contest was held, but the number of people that were able to get into one car was not recorded. Tractor Pulling returned as a featured form of entertainment for those going to the fair, but this year on the weekend. Learning from the previous year when the first tractor pull was conducted on one night and went into the wee hours of the morning, this year the pull was split over two day. The pull began on Saturday night at 6:00 in the grandst and area, with admission charged to the grandst ands. The tractor pull continued on Sunday afternoon, again with an admission charge. ADiaper Derby and Tricycle Derby was held on Sunday afternoon.
Monday was Labor Day holiday. The gates opened at 1:00 in anticipation of large crowds coming early because of the holiday. Hardly anyone came at all until late afternoon, the times they usually come to the fair. That night the traditional hog show, a Gospel sing, and the volunteer fire department water fights were held.
Children were again allowed in free until 7:00 pm with school tickets on Tuesday and Friday nights. Tuesday was PepsiDay, providing free admission with a coupon received at st ores when buying Pepsi products. Sky Divers performed at the opening of the fair. The first Battle of Bands was conducted this year with performances at 6:30 and 9:00, but those competing and the winners were not recorded.
The special Handicapped Day continued this year with the fairgrounds open and free rides for handicapped children from 11:00 –1:00. Jack Kochman's Hell Drivers performed in the grandst and area on Thursday night. Senor Citizens day was held on Friday.
The Robeson County Fair is a member of the North Carolina Association of County Fairs and fair board members usually attend the st ate conference of this association each year to attend workshops; to learn from members of other county fairs; and to secure contracts with carnivals, entertainment, and various supplies. In order to recognize the county fairs in the st ate that do the best job of planning and conducting agricultural fairs, the association developed the "Image Award." The Robeson County Fair won this award the first time it was presented.
32nd ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 18 –23, 1978
Morris Bennett was President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Vicky Hast y was President of the Lumberton Jaycettes. Earl Lutz was Treasurer and Kenny Morgret was Secretary. The Executive Committee included Morris Bullock, Buck Carter, Jerry Nunnery, Jerry Barnes, Hubert Bullard, and Al Parnell. A Fair Advisory Committee was developed and JohnRichardson and Everett Davis were appointed to this committee.
Admission increased to $2 for adults and 75 cents for children. The fair returned to the traditional 6 days, Monday through Saturday.
The fair book was dedicated in memory of Luther J. Britt, Jr., st ate Senator who was recognized for winning Outst anding st ate Vice-President, National Director, and st ate President in 3 consecutive years.
For the first time this year a Flower Show was presented at the county fair by the Lumberton Council ofGarden Clubs. The theme for the show was "Fall Events," and was chaired by Mrs. W. R. Burleson. Features for the entire week included Disney animals, a heritage village, an art show, military displays, and an Old McDonald Farm petting zoo.
The traditional hog show and 4-H poultry sale were again held on Monday night.
Children were allowed in free with school tickets until 6:00 pm on Tuesday night, and which free admission was provided with Pepsi Day coupons. Sky Divers performed again, and the
Battle of Bands continued with performances at 6:30 and 9:00. A pork cook-off was conducted.
Handicapped day was held again from 11:00 until 1:00, before the gates opened to the public. Jack Kochman's Hell Drivers performed that night. The Diaper Derby was sponsored this year by the Kendall Company. Senior Citizens Day was held on Thursday.
With a knack of doing things right, the Robeson County Fair once again won the Image Award at the st ate convention of the North Carolina Association of County Fairs.
33rd ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 24 –29, 1979
Hubert Bullard was elected President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Hubert Bullard, Coble Wilson, Jr., and Buddy Jones served as Tri-Chairmen of the Robeson County Fair. st eve Puckett was Treasurer and Kenny Morgret was Secretary. The Executive Committee consist ed of Jerry Nunnery, Donald Martin, Danny Andrews, Al Parnell, and Everett Davis. The Fair Advisory Committee included John Richardson, Larry Pope, Jerry Barnes,and Morris Bennett.
The fair book was dedicated in honor of W. C. "Bill" Williford, retired County Extension Chairman. The carnival was provided by Fun City Amusements. Admission remained at $2 for adults and 75 cents for children.
Featured entertainment during the week included cost umed Disney animals, the Heritage Village, an art show, a display of military equipment, and old McDonald Farm petting zoo. Finding out it was too expensive to rent one, Jaycee Morris Bennett const ructed an elaborate clown dunking machine which was operated by Jaycee members during the week as a fund raiser. The Lumberton Council of Garden Clubs again provided a Flower show which was Co-Chaired by Mrs. Mickey Grimsley and Mrs. Pat Jessup. The theme was "I Like Calling North Carolina Home."
The gates opened on Monday night at 5:00 with the traditional hog show, corn shucking, hog calling, husband calling, corn shelling, and 4-H chicken sale. School children were again allowed in free until 6:00 on Tuesday and Friday nights.
Tuesday was Pepsi Day providing free admission with a coupon. Sky Divers performed again, and the Battle of the Bands was held once again. Wednesday featured Handicapped Day from 11:00 until 1:00, and Jack Kochman's World Famous Hell Drivers. The Diaper Derby was held that night, sponsored by Kendall Co. Senior Citizen Day, a big gospel sing sponsored by Wst S, volunteer fire department competition, and Slim Mims and his Bluegrass Band were the featured events on Thursday. A square danceexhibition was provided in the livest ock building on Friday night. On Saturday night a car was given away every hour to the lucky winners –actually, used cars donated by a local car dealers.
34th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 19 –27, 1980
Morris Bullock was elected President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Coble Wilson, Jr. and Hubert Bullard were Co-Chairs of the Robeson County Fair. st eve Puckett was Treasurer and Kenny Morgret was Secretary. The Fair Executive Committee included Jerry Nunnery, Danny Andrews, Buck Carter, Donald Martin, Al Parnell, Randy Conner, and Danny Rogers. The Fair Advisory Committee of aged-out Jaycee members, Exhaust ed Roost ers, included John Richardson, Jerry Barnes, Larry Pope, Morris Bennett, and Everett Davis.
The county fair returned to a 9 day event. The primary purpose for this was to extend the fair over a two weekend period as a form of weather insurance. September and October is prime hurricane time in southeast ern North Carolina.There is always a st rong possibility that a hurricane may happen during the time for the fair, but usually the rain and winds from hurricanes last only three to four days. If a hurricane happened some of the fair may be rained out, but it would be extremely unlikely that the entire fair would be rained out.
This year the Fair Handbook was dedicated to William Alfred Smith, who at that time had been involved with the county fair for 34 years. Admission remained $2 for adults and 75 cents for children.For the first time in many years, parking was free. For many years in the past , no one is sure how many, there was a 25 cents fee to park at the county fair. Since the Jaycees operated the various components of the fair, they funded many of their community projects with the money they collected in the parking lot.
The Lumberton Council of Garden Clubs again presented a st andard Flower Show
with theme "Yest erday –Today –Tomorrow." Co-chairs were Mrs. W. O. Lee, Jr., and Mrs. David Weinst ein. The Jaycees also operated their Dunking Booth again this year.
Since the fair opened on Friday night, this was designated school children's day, with children in free until 6:00. Another school children's day was provided on Tuesday. McDonalds Day was a special promotion for Saturday. Those attending the fair could purchase a wrist band for $2, with a coupon they received when dining at McDonalds, allowing unlimited rides except super spectacular rides from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm. The Demo Derby was held onSaturday night.
A Gospel Sing was held on Sunday. In addition, rather than let them spoil, all the cakes exhibited at the fair were auctioned off to the highest bidder. The traditional hog show was held on Monday night, along with the Old Country Fair contest s. Sky Divers, the Battle of the Bands, and a Disco Dance contest was provided for Tuesday night.
Handicapped children's day was held again on Wednesday, and Jack Kochman's Hell Drivers performed that night in the grandst and area. The 4th Annual Diaper Derby was held, sponsored by Kendall Company. Fireworks were featured on Wednesday night
The Hell Drivers performed again on Thursday night. Thursday was also Senior Citizens day with all seniors allowed free admission to the fair. A square dance exhibition was provided in the Livest ock Building on Friday night, and the McDonald's ride discount was repeated on Saturday.
35th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 21 -26, 1981
Mike Perry was President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Kathy Lovin was President of the Lumberton Jaycettes and Patti Wilson was Jaycette Fair Chairman. Coble Wilson, Jr., Hubert Bullard, and Morris Bullock were managers of the Robeson County Fair. Dixon Britt was the Secretary and st eve Puckett was the Treasurer.
Burned out from the year before, the members voted to return to a 6 day fair. Admission remained at $2 for adults and 75 cents for children. Parking again was free.
The Lumberton Council of Garden Clubs presented a st andard flower show with theme "I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing". Co-Chairs were Mrs. Jim Driscoll and Mrs. Donald Hiscott.
The traditional Hog Show was held on Monday night, as was the Chain Saw Cutting Contest . The Golden Knights Skydiving Team performed onTuesday night. Pepsi Day discount coupons were honored and children were allowed in free until 6:00 with school discount tickets. The 5th Annual Diaper Derby; Old Country Fair events including balloon blowing, soda cracker eating, Pepsi drinking, pie eating; the Battle of the Bands; and fireworks rounded out the events for Tuesday night.
Handicapped Day was again held on Wednesday from 11:00 –1:30. Jack Kochman’s World Famous Hell Drivers and a Gospel Sing was the featured entertainment for the evening. Thursday night featured Senior Citizens day, the Fantast ic Shakers performing in the grandst ands area, and fireworks. College st udents were admitted for half price with st udent ID.
Children were allowed in free until 6:00 again on Friday. A Square Dance exhibition was held in the Livest ock building, and the Army Jazz Band performed. Midnight Madness was held from 12:00 midnight until 3:00 am with mud wrest ing and wet t-shirt contest .
Cheerleading Competition was held on Saturday afternoon. The Fire Department Demolition Derby was held in the grandst and area that night, while the Soul Band performed on the mini st age. McDonalds Day coupons were honored until 6:00, providing unlimited rides except the super spectaculars for only $2.
36th ANNUALROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 27 –OCTOBER 2, 1982
Al Parnell was President of the Lumberton Jaycees.
Editor note –no further information available concerning the fair.
37th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
OCTOBER 3 –8, 1983
Buddy Jones was President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Mike Moore was Internal Vice-President, Toy Lovin was External Vice President, and Donnie Hicks was Ways & Means Vice President. Jeff Morton served as Secretary and Bruce Jobe served as Treasurer. Tommy East er served on the st ate level as st ate Jaycee Director.
Hubert Bullard was Fair General Chairman. The Fair Executive Committee consist ed of Morris Bullock, Al Parnell, Hubert Bullard, Danny Andrews, Buddy Jones, Toy Lovin, Mike Moore, Dixon Britt, Donnie Hicks, Bruce Jobe, Kenny Morgret, and James Britt. The Fair Advisory Committee included John Richardson, Larry Pope, Jerry Barnes, Morris Bennett, Everett Davis, and Coble D. Wilson, Jr.
Fun City Shows provided the carnival, and was billed as the "Largest Portable Park in the World.
The traditional Hog Show was held again on Monday night. Senior Citizens Day was held on Thursday with all seniors receiving free admission and prizes for the woman with the longest hair, the most unusual bonnet, the oldest dress, the loudest dressed man, the oldest hat for man, the best harmonica player, the most unusual quilt, the man with biggest foot, the woman with smallest foot, the couple married the longest , the oldest person attending, the best kitchen band, the oldest doll, and an apple peeling contest .
The 7th Annual Diaper Derby was held on Tuesday night, and was sponsored by Kendall Company.
When the delegation from the Robeson County Fair attended the st ate fair conventionthat winter they celebrated by receiving the Image Award for the third time.
38th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
OCTOBER 1 –6, 1984
Mike Moore was President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Donnie Hicks was Internal Vice President, Bruce Jobe was External Vice President, and Kenny Morgret was Ways & Means Vice President. Ronald Cooper served as Secretary and Hawley Hegler served as Treasurer. Dixon Britt was st ate Jaycee Director. Teresa Cooper was President of the Lumberton Jaycettes and Kathy Carmichal and Susan Adams were Chairpersons of the Jaycette Fair Committee.
Hubert Bullard was General Fair Chairman. The Fair Committee consist ed of Mike Moore, Al Parnell, Buddy Jones, James Britt, Morris Bullock, Kenny Morgret, John Richardson, Everett Davis, Bruce Jobe, Danny Andrews, Dixon Britt, Larry Pope, Morris Bennett, Coble Wilson, Jr., Jerry Barnes, Donnie Hicks, Toy Lovin, and Hawley Hagler.
Coble D. Wilson, Jr. was the Mayor of Lumberton
The carnival was provided by Fun City Shows. Fair admission was increased to $2.50 for adults but remained at $1 for children. There was no charge for parking.
A special pay one price of $4 for admission and unlimited rides was charged for Monday night. Exhibits were received on Monday before the fair opened, perishable goods on Tuesday morning at 8:00. Judging was done beginning at 9:30 on Tuesday morning.
The Market Hog Show, Chain Saw Cutting Contest , and the preliminaries of the Battle of the Bands was the entertainment for Monday night. A Levi Garrett Tobacco Spitting
Contest was conducted as well.
School Children Day was held on Tuesday with school children in free until 6:30 pm. Gospel singing on Tuesday night featured The Singing Journeymen.
The Diaper Derby was held andthe Hell drivers performed on Wednesday night. Fireworks were featured on both Tuesday and Wednesday night
Senior Citizens Day was held on Thursday. Razzy Bailey, Bobby McLamb, and the Pilgrims in Concert entertained to a very, very small crowd in thegrandst ands.
Ladies Mud Wrest ling was scheduled for Friday night at 10:00 and again at 12:00 midnight. Midnight madness opened the carnival from 11:00 until 3:00 am with unlimited rides and all entertainment for only $3 admission. A wet t-shirt contest was featured entertainment at 1:00 am.
The fair opened to the public at 10:30 on Saturday. JROTC Fancy Drill competition was held at 11:00 am. Sky Divers entertained the crowds at 1:00, and Cheerleading competition was held at 3:00.
39th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 30 –OCTOBER 5, 1985
Bruce Jobe was President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Hawley Hegler served as Internal Vice President, Ronald Cooper as External Vice President, and James Britt as Ways & Means Vice President. Duane st ubbs was the Secretary, and Hal Johnson was the Treasurer. Jack Johnson served as st ate Director of the North Carolina Jaycees. Jaycee Coble D. Wilson, Jr. was st ill serving as the Mayor of Lumberton.
The Fair Committee consist ed of Hawley Hegler, Al Parnell, Hubert Bullard, Bruce Jobe, Buddy Britt, Jack Johnson, Kenny Morgret, Buddy Jones, Dixon Britt, James Britt, Donnie Hicks, Morris Bullock, Danny Andrews, John Richardson, Everett Davis, Coble Wilson, Jr., Larry Pope, and VernonMcHam. (there was no indication in the fair book of who were fair officers for this year) Alfred Smith continued as Cust odian and Assist ant General Manager
The name of the Jaycettes changed to the Jaycee Women. Susan Johnson served as Jaycee Women President; and the Jaycee Women Fair Committee included Susan Adams, Peggy Prevatte, and Debbie Britt.
The traditional hog show was held on Monday night, as was the first Fair Queen Pageant. The young lady selected as Fair Queen was to represent the fair "with grace and dignity" and was expected to represent the Robeson County fair in the North Carolina Association of Agricultural Fair’s st ate pageant in January. Only single girls could enter. Admission to the fair pageant was $1. A special Pay-One-Priceof $4 for admission and unlimited rides was offered for Monday night only.
Tuesday featured Pepsi Day which provided 50 cents admission with a Pepsi coupon. The gates opened at 3:00 pm on Tuesday for School Children's Day, with all school children admitted free until 6:30 pm with school tickets.
The preliminaries of the Battle of the Bands was held on Monday night, and the finals were held on Wednesday night. The 9th Annual Diaper Derby was held on Wednesday night.
The outdoor drama st rike At TheWind was presented at the Adolph Dial Amphitheater near Pembroke during the summer months for the first time this year. As a special feature for those attending the fair, the cast of st rike at the Wind performed two mini-shows on Wednesday, Thursday, andFriday nights.
Entertainment this year was heavily oriented toward gospel. Bobby McLamb and the Pilgrims provided a gospel concert on Wednesday night. Gospel Night on Thursday night featured Day Spring Vocal Band and another gospel concert was providedon Friday night
featuring the Mighty Echos. Senior Citizens Day was held on Thursday.
The special entertainment on Friday night was Ladies Mud Wrest ling beginning at 10:00 pm. In addition, Midnight Madness was held, also beginning at 10:00 pm, with $4 admission and unlimited rides until 3:00 am.
McDonalds Day on Saturday provided admission and unlimited rides from 1:00 till 6:00 pm for only $3. The Cheerleading contest was held on Saturday afternoon with West Robeson Senior High School winning first place honors. The Herriott Trained Animal Circus performed all week.
40th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 29 –OCTOBER 4, 1986
Jack Johnson was now the President of the Lumberton Jaycees. Ronald Cooper served as Management Development Vice President, Buddy Britt as Community Development Vice President, and Hal Johnson as Individual Development Vice President. James Jacobs was the Secretary and John Adams was the Treasurer. Buddy Jones served as st ate Director of theNorth Carolina Jaycees. Jaycee Coble D. Wilson, Jr. was st ill serving as the Mayor of Lumberton.
Al Parnell was Chairman of the Robeson County Fair, and Hubert Bullard was Vice-Chairman. The Fair Board consist ed of Danny Andrews, Buddy Britt, Bruce Jobe,
Charles Ivey, Everett Davis, Jack Johnson, Dixon Britt, Mike Moore, Buddy Jones, Kenny Morgret, Donnie Hicks, Coble D. Wilson, Jr., Larry Pope, Morris Bullock, and Morris Bennett.
Fun City Shows, the Worlds Largest Portable Park, provided the carnival for the county fair. Melmar's Magic Circus provided three free shows each day, and Robinson's Racing Pigs performed six times each day
Monday night featured a special Pay-One-Price of $5 for gate admission and unlimited rides. Converse Appreciation Day was held on Monday, with all Converse employees and family in free. The traditional Hog Show, 4-H Poultry Sale, and the preliminaries for the Battle of the Bands was the featured entertainment.
A small cinder block st age had been const ructed between the buildings during the summer, and quickly became known as the "mini st age" or the "mini grandst and." The Back st reet County Band was the first featured entertainment on the Mini-Grandst and on Monday Night.
All the home exhibits and booths werejudged on Tuesday morning beginning at 9:30. Pepsi Day was held on Tuesday with 50 cents admission with a Pepsi coupon. The gates opened at 3:00 pm featuring School Children's day with all school children in free with coupon until 6:00 pm. The Chain Saw Cutting Contest was held this night.
Handicapped Children's Day was held from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm on Wednesday, with the gates opening to the public at 5:00. The 10thannual Diaper Derby was sponsored by the employees of Kendall Company. The Finals of the Battle of the Bands was held on the mini grandst and, while the Hell Drivers and American Crusher Truck performed in the grandst and area.
Senior Citizens Day was held on Thursday, with seniors in free. The FFA Tractor Driving contest was held on the track. Gospel singing was provided on the mini-grandst and.
School children were allowed in free until 6:00 with school tickets again on Friday night. A square dance exhibition was held in the livest ock building, and Solar Illusion Band performed on the mini-grandst and. Midnight Madness began at 10:00 with $5 gate admission and unlimited rides last ing until 3:00 am. Featured entertainment was Ladies Mud Wrest ing at 10:00, and then Ladies Mud Wrest ing and wet t-shirt contest ants at midnight.
Thegates opened at 12:30 on Saturday featuring McDonald's Day which provided
admission and unlimited rides until 6:00 pm for only $3. The High School Cheerleaders Contest was held at 3:00, this year on the mini-grandst and. The Solar Illusion Band performedon the mini-grandst and at 7:00, followed by a Teen Dance in the livest ock arena at 8:00. The Demolition Derby was held in the Grandst and area.
41st ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 28 –OCTOBER 3, 1987
Al Parnell continued as President of the fair, while Hubert Bullard served as Vice President. Dixon Britt, Jr. was Treasurer, Bruce Jobe was the Secretary. Morris Bennett st ill served as Fair Manager. The fair Advisory Board consist ed of Marie Gibson, Danny Kinlaw, Lycurous Lowery, Mutt McNeill, and Linda Lovern.
Home exhibits were accepted at the fairgrounds on Monday, while perishable exhibits were accepted on Tuesday morning. Judging was held during the day on Tuesday, and ribbons were placed prior to opening thegates to the public at 4:00 that afternoon. The Open Art Show and the Commerford Petting Zoo were available for fair visitors throughout the week. The Globe of Death performed three times each night, and Magician Harry Albacker provided three shows eachnight.
The preliminaries of the Battle of the Bands was held on Monday night, finals on Tuesday night. The Fall Hog Show and the Hog Carcass Show was also held this night.
Handicapped Children's Day was held Tuesday morning before the fair opened to the public, providing free admission and rides for all handicapped children in the county. The finals of the Battle of the Bands was held that night on the mini st age, while the Chain Saw Cutting competition took place in the grandst ands.
Senior Citizens Day was held on Wednesday with all senior citizens in free. The 11th Annual Diaper Derby was held that night on the mini st age.
Holiday st unt World provided thrill ride demonst rations on the track on Wednesday and Thursday night. The Gospel Sing as well as Skateboard and Bicycle Freest yling Exhibition was the featured entertainment on Thursday night.
Foxxy 99 JAM was provided on Friday night.
The track and grandst and area was very busy on Saturday. The FFA Tractor and Truck Driving competition washeld on that morning, a Horse Show was held that afternoon, and the Demolition Derby was held that night. The Cheer leading Contest was held that afternoon at the mini-grandst and.
42nd ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
OCTOBER 10 –15, 1988
The same officers again provided leadership for the county fair. Al Parnell served as President, Hubert Bullard as Vice President, Dixon Britt, Jr. as Treasurer, Bruce Jobe as Secretary, and Morris Bennett as Fair Manager. Marie Gibson, Lycurous Lowery, and Linda Lovern were moved to the Board of Directors.
This year home exhibits were accepted over the weekend prior to the fair and perishable goods were accepted beginning at 8:00 Monday morning. Judging began at 9:00 and was completed by early afternoon. All ribbons were placed on each entry, and the exhibits were ready for viewing when the fair officially opened at 4:00 Monday afternoon.
An Open Art Show, the World Champion Bike Exhibition, Commerford Petting Zoo, Magician Harry Albacker,and Free Open Air Circus were provided as entertainment throughout the week.
The Fall Hog Show and Carcass Show was held on Monday night, as was the preliminaries of the Battle of the Bands. The finals for the Battle of the Bands was held on Tuesday Night.
Senior Citizens Day was Wednesday with free admission and special activities for seniors prior to the fair opening to the public. That night featured WKML Night at the Fair with a talent show with $500 first place prize. The 12th Annual Diaper Derby was also held this night.
Thursday night featured Gospel singing, followed by Pembroke st ate University Band in Concert
Friday was children's day with $1off the regular admission price. The FFA Tractor and Truck Driving Contest s were held Saturdaymorning on the track, and the Cheer leading Competition was held that afternoon at the mini-grandst and. The first Robeson County Skate Board Competition was also held that afternoon. The Demolition Derby was held that night.
43rd ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTYAGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
OCTOBER 2 –7, 1989
The leadership for the fair changed this year. Al Parnell st ill served as President, but now Dixon Britt served as Vice President, Marie Gibson as Treasurer, and Hubert Bullard as Secretary. The management of the fair was split. Morris Bennett became General Manager to manage the carnival and concessions, while Buddy Jones became Grounds Manager in order to look after all the utilities on the fairgrounds and take care of grounds cleanup.
Home exhibits were again accepted during the weekend prior to the fair, and perishable goods were accepted beginning at 8:00 Monday morning. Judging began at 9:00 and was completed by early afternoon.
Featured entertainment throughout the week included the BMX Bike st unt Team, the Globe of Death, R. J. Reynolds Caravan, Bill Ragsdale Medicine Show, Lazy Acres Racket Maker, Grandpa Cratchet, and the petting zoo.
The Regional Feeder Pig Show was held on Monday, while the Market Hog and Carcass show was held this year on Tuesday.
Handicapped day was conducted again this year on Tuesday morning prior to opening the fair to the public, providing free admission and rides to handicapped children in the county. The Old Dock Cloggers provided two performances this night on the st age, and the Chain Saw Cutting Contest was held in the grandst and area.
WKML Talent Show preliminaries were held on Tuesday night and the finals were held on Wednesday night. A $500 prize was provided for the 1st place winner. Wednesday was also Senior Citizens day and Pepsi Day at the Fair. The 12th Annual Diaper Derby was held.
Gospel Singing was provided on Thursday night featuring The Kingsmen. Foxy 99 was the featured entertainment for Friday.
Saturday featured McDonalds Day at the Fair with discounted admission and rides, the FFA Tractor and Truck Driving Contest s, an Air Ultralight show, Cheerleading Competition, and the Southeast ern Bench Press Championship.
44th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
OCTOBER 1–7, 1990
7 day fair
Fair dates October 1 -7
Won the Image Award
Editor Note –no further information available
45th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 30 –OCTOBER 6, 1991
Hubert Bullard was elected President of the fair. Dixon Britt, Jr. served as Vice-President, Marie Gibson as Treasurer, and Allen Faircloth as Secretary. Buddy Jones served as Grounds Manager.
Again this year, the fair was a 7 day event. Exhibits were accepted on Saturday and Sunday, perishables onMonday morning, and judging was conducted at 9:00 on Monday morning.
New 96 Talent Contest was featured with preliminaries on Tuesday and Wednesday, finals on Thursday. The Old County Fair was held on Tuesday. Senior Adult day and the Diaper Derby were held on Wednesday. Thursday was 4-H Night at the Fair, and the Cheer leading contest , FFA Tractor and Truck Driving was held on Saturday.
46th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
no fair handbook available
As the fair continued to grow there was an increased need for more property for parking. This year the Board of Directors purchased 11.6 acres of land from Robert "Red" Freeman. This property is located directly north of the original fairgrounds, and includes a 50' easement to allow access to those owning the property directly behind the fairgrounds.
47th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
no fair handbook available
Editor note –no further information available
Alfred Smith was well knowaround Lumberton, partially because of his presence on his scooter, but primarily because of his love for the county fair. He became an integral part of the Lumberton Jaycees as they operated the Robeson County Fair on West 5thst reet in Lumberton, and until his death in (?) he remained active with the new fair when it relocated in 1975 to its present site on Highway 41 South.
When Alfred Smith passed away in the early 1990's the Board of Directors of the Robeson County Fair est ablished the Alfred SmithFriend of the Fair Award. The purpose of this award is to recognize and publicly thank special volunteers that have contributed to the success of the county fair.
A large plaque was developed, with an engraved picture of Alfred with his pipe, with the inscription "Presented In Recognition Of Outst anding Dedication and Service By The Robeson County Fair Committee. The first recipient was Alfred Smith.
48th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
OCTOBER 3 –8, 1994
Hubert Bullard served as President, Donnie Hicks as Vice President, Marie Gibson as Treasurer, and Allen Faircloth as Secretary. Buddy Jones was the Fair Manager.
Again a six day fair, but now offering a Pay-One-Price (POP) of $8.00 for admission to the fair and unlimitedcarnival rides. For the first time this year advance tickets were sold for
$5.50 providing a savings of $2.50. Tickets were sold at all Sun-Do convenience st ores and many other locations around the county. A commission of 50 cents was provided to thest ore selling the tickets, and the remaining amount was split with the carnival receiving 60% and the fair receiving 40%. Very few advance tickets were sold this first year.
In order to draw attention to the fruit and vegetable entries in the Home Exhibits area of the fair, for the first time this year a $500 reward was offered for the largest pumpkin over 500 lbs. Unfortunately, there were no entires this year.
The Hollywood st unt World Hell Drivers performed on Tuesday night, the Demolition Derby onheld on Wednesday night, and Gospel Night was held on Thursday night featuring the Lumber River Quartet. There was an Antique Tractor Pull on the track on the last day of the fair.
The Alfred Smith Friend of the Fair Award was presented to Becky Parnell, wife of Fair Board member Al Parnell, for her many years of work in the home exhibit area. She began months in advance getting all supplies prepared for the home exhibit area, and often assist ed with decorations and const ruction in the home exhibit areas. All the exhibit work was done at first by hand, but as computers became available, she developed the syst ems used to enter items on the computer and then print checks for the winners. She as a key person in this area of the fair, and often handled the exhibit entries until Al arrived from school
49th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
OCTOBER 2 -7, 1995
The same officers served again this year. A Pay-One-Price admission was provided again, but this year the price increased to $9. The Advance Ticket price increased to $6.50, st ill providing a savings of $2.50. The same commission was paid to the st ores selling the tickets, and the split with the carnival remained the same.
This was a year of lots of "first s" at the county fair. The 1st Annual National Chicken Bog Cookoff was developed and coordinated by Everett Davis. Purdue Farms, a major Poultry production and processing company in the county agreed to sponsor the contest . Prizes of $1,000 for 1st place, $300 for 2nd place, and $200 for 3rd place attracted over 38 contest ants. Luckily, advance regist ration was required so there was time to secure several additional tents in order to accommodate all the chicken bog cookers. As soon as the judging was over and prizes had been presented, fairgoers were allowed to purchase a plate for $3 and were allowed to sample the 3 chicken bogs of their choice. For $3 they received the plate, bread, a Pepsi, utensils, and napkins. Of course, everyone wanted to sample the bogs of the top contest ants, but there were so many people eager to sample the bogs that every pot of chicken bog was completely emptied. All money received from the sales of the plates was donated to the FFA program of the Robeson County schools on behalf of Purdue Farms.
Everett Davis also organized and coordinated the first Taxidermy Exhibit to be featured at the county fair. Local taxidermist Rayon Locklear and Martin Davis assist ed in promoting the event which was sponsored by McIntyre Marine and Sporting Goods of Lumberton. No prize money was provided for the mounts, only ribbons. However, the exhibit area in the large exhibit hall was completely full of mounted deer, fish, raccoons, ducks, snakes, and many other fish and animals. Over 240 exhibits wereentered. A big rack competition was included that did provide prize money for the first three places, only for locally harvest ed deer. Boone and Crockett st andards were used to score the mounts, and a volunteer from the Dixie Deer Classic Show at the st ate fairgrounds was secured to do the scoring. This was an impressive exhibit, and was the talk of all those visiting the fair. Most fairgoers were amazed at the number of exhibits and many of them had never had the chance to see some of these specimens up close. Others could not st and to look at the exhibit.
James Cochran, local Extension Livest ock agent and fair board member, organized and conducted the first ever Roost er Crowing contest which was to be held in the livest ock arena on Friday night. Asponsor was secured and first place of $100 was offered for the roost er that would crow the most times in five minutes. Unknown to Cochran, a colleague from work had purchased a toy, battery-operated, roost er that would st rut and crow const antly. Another colleague recruited a friend to enter the toy roost er in the contest and coached him on how entertain the audience while agitating Cochran as much as possible. The fake roost er owner placed the toy roost er in a pet carrying case, covered it with a towelso no one could see inside, and brought it to the fairgrounds about two hours prior to the contest . He approached Cochran as he was trying to arrange the competition area, and began to ask quest ions const antly, often repeating the same quest ions over andover. Cochran urged him to take his roost er from the carrying case and place it in the cages that were provided for the roost ers of the contest ants. The owner refused to do so, st ating that he must leave his roost er in the carrying case with the towel over it, so when the towel was removed the roost er would think it was daybreak and begin crowing. For almost two hours the owner continued to aggravate and annoy Cochran to the point that Cochran was almost ready to loose his temper. Word had spread throughout the fair committee that a trick was being played on Cochran, so they all began to gather around the arena when it was time for the contest to st art. An "official" counter was assigned to each contest ant, and Cochran explained the rules to the counters and contest ants. When he gave the signal to st art all contest ants except the one with the toy roost er quickly removed their roost ers from the cages and began to try to coax them into crowing. The owner of the toy roost er patiently brushed the shavings from the floor in front of the pet carrier, slowly removed the towel from top of the cage, carefully folded the towel and gently placed it on the floor. He then slowly opened the door of the pet carrier, removed the toy roost er, turned it over and turned the switch on, and gently placed it on the floor. The toy roost er immediately began to st rut and crow. Cochran went berserk. He yelled to the owner of the toy roost er telling he was disqualified since it was not a live roost er. Just as prompted, the owner reached in his back pocket and removed a fair handbook which contained all the rules of the contest . He pointed out to Cochran that nowhere in the rules did it say that it must be a live roost er, so he wanted his $100. He then began to agitate Cochran into giving him his prize money. Cochran was more perplexed than ever, and seemed to be confused as to how to handle the situation. He reached for the microphone and began to announce to the audience that this contest ant was disqualified, when the contest ant jerked the microphone from his hands and announced to the audience that he would not have entered his roost er if he had not been urged to do so by, and he named Cochran's colleague from work. At that point Cochran realized that everyone had worked together to play a trick on him with the toy roost er. Everyone had a great laugh, but it took Cochran several hours to settle down.
The $500 reward for the largest pumpkin over 400 pounds was offered again this year, and again this year there wereno entries. Grandpa Crachet puppet show provided entertainment for the young and old alike with three performances each night. Kachunga Alligator Wrest ling amazed the crowds with three shows each night as they wrest led with live alligators and provided an educational show about these endangered and threatened reptiles.
The Hollywood st unt World Hell Drivers performed in the grandst and area on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Carla and the Redemptions, The Locklear Brothers, and New Covenant were the featured entertainers for Gospel Night.
Universal Packing participated in the first Family Day event held at the fairgrounds. For a discounted price all employees and family members of Universal Packing were allowed admission to the fair and unlimited rides. Universal Packing was provided their own area
under the big tent to serve lunch to their employees and to conduct games and have drawings for attractive prizes. All Universal employees and their family members wore special tee shirts to the fair to signify they were part of the Universal group. This was a tremendous success for the company and for the fair.
Bill st arns was presented the Alfred Smith Friend of the Fair award for his many years of service to the fair by providing Pepsi products, arranging for signs and advertising, and serving as a contact with our major sponsor, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Lumberton.
Following the 1995 fair the Board of Directors began to get very serious about how they wanted their fair and fair property to grow in the future. Although they had developed an impressive fairgrounds south of Lumberton with lots of volunteers and lots of hard work, they knew that no one on the fair committee had the skills needed to develop a practical and realist ic "Long Range Plan." A Long Range Planning Committee was appointed with Everett Davis serving as chairman. After several meetings, the committee recommended to the board that Anderson Engineering of Lumberton be hired to work with the Long Range Planning Committee and theRobeson County Fair Board of Directors to develop a long range plan. After a presentation from Larry Anderson, owner and engineer with this company, the board agree to a base amount of $8,000 for this plan. This plan was developed over the next twelve months, and served as the road map for future development and management of the fairground property for the future. Although several adjust ments and modifications were made to this plan, over the next ten years almost 90% of the major goals of the plan had been completed.
50th ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 30 –OCTOBER 5, 1996
Hubert Bullard served as President and Everett Davis served as Vice –President. Marie Gibson served as Treasurer, and Allen Faircloth served as Secretary. Buddy Jones was the Fair Manager.
As a special celebration for the 50thanniversary of the fair, the Special Forces parachute team jumped into the grounds with an American Flag. One of the skydivers drifted toward the hell drivers track to make a landing, not realizing that a cable that was used for firefighters competition was st rung between two large poles. Not being able to warn the sky diver, he drifted into the cable, and fell to the ground. Fortunately he was only slightly injured, with the breath knocked out of him. Local rescue squads rushed to his aide, and made sure he was all right.
Gate admission was now $3, but admission the first night was $1 to celebrate the gate admission during the early days of the fair.
Featured entertainment during the week included the World Famous Budweiser Clydesdales, Billy "Crash" Craddock, Beetle Mania, Fireman Chuck Magic and Puppet show and the Sunbeam Farms petting zoo. Gospel night featured The Apple City Boys.
Again this year a reward of $500 was offered for the largest pumpkin over 500 lbs. There were st ill no entires this year.
Mrs. Annie Ruth Humphrey was presented the Alfred Smith Friend of the Fair Award for many years of participation and support in the home exhibits area of the fair. Mrs. Humphrey entered more items in the county fair than any other exhibitor for many years. Most years she won the Sweepst akes Award for the largest number for blue ribbons.
When the delegation attended the st ate convention of the North Carolina Association of County Fairs they were excited to learn that they had won the Image Award as the best county agricultural fair in the st ate.
51st ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
SEPTEMBER 29 –OCTOBER 4, 1997
Hubert Bullard was elected President of the Fair Cooperation and Everett Davis was elected Vice-President. Marie Gibson was elected Treasurer and Allen Faircloth was elected Secretary. Buddy Jones was Fair Manager. Gate admission remained at $4.
Featured entertainment included the Hollywood Hell Drivers on Wednesday night
and an Elvis impersonator competition on Thursday night. The Demo Derby was held on Saturday night, and the GT Bicycle Air Show performed throughout the week. A reward of $500 was again offered for the largest pumpkin over 500 pounds, but again this year there were no entires.
Total paid attendance this year was 31,498.
This year the Alfred Smith Friend of the Fair Award was presented in memory of Mr. Prest on Carter who passedaway the previous year. The Carter family accepted the award, which was presented for the many years he participated in the county fair and the many years he supported the Lumberton Jaycees. He set the early st andards for outside vendors on the fairgrounds. Whenever he was asked he provided refreshments for Jaycee events, and often provided refreshments for needy groups that were part of Jaycees projects.
As part of their long-range planning process, the Board of Directors decided to enlarge the parking lot on the property they purchased from Red Freeman in 1992. Since a major ditch ran through this property, a ruling had to be obtained from the United st ates Corps of Engineers. The Corps ruled that the property did not contain any wetlands, and could be modified however the cooperation desired. Timber from a small st and of trees on this property was sold to Hope Mills Timber Company for a grand total of $500. Floyd Grading was hired to enlarge and level the north parking lot all the way to the edge of the exist ing ditch.
52nd ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL FAIR
OCTOBER 5 –10, 1998
Al Parnell was elected to serve as President. Dixon Britt was Vice-President, Marie Gibson was Treasurer, and Allen Faircloth was Secretary. Buddy Jones was Fair Manager.
Gate Admission remained at $4.
Featured entertainment this year included Alan Sands for the 3rd st raight year, Grandpa Cratchett, Gospel Night featuring the Comptons.
A Junior Fair Board was est ablished with Erin Nealy as President and Jennifer Gasque as Vice-President.
Total paid attendance was 33,538.
This year the Alfred Smith Friend of the Fair Award was presented to Robert McCormick, a long time employee of Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Lumberton. Robert's primary responsibility with Pepsi was preparing and hand lettering signs and banners. Over the years Robert provided hundreds of banners to promote fair events and to recognize sponsors. Many of his hand lettered signs remained on the fairgrounds for years.
In the past all aspects of the fair had been handled completely by volunteers. Jaycee members at first , and later the fair board members, held work days to get ready for the fair, conducted all projects and performed all maintenance during the week of the fair, maintained the fairgrounds throughout the year, and managed the day-to-day business of the
cooperation. But now, the Robeson County Agricultural Fair had grown so large and so complex it became unreasonable to expect volunteers to continue to provide for all needs of the cooperation.
This year the Board of Directors made the decision to hire Ms. Judy Auten to serve as part-time bookkeeper and secretary. Her responsibilities included recording all minutes of official meetings, preparing and mailing meeting announcements and correspondence for board members, receiving all monies, and writing all checks to pay the bills of the cooperation. The elected Secretary was st ill responsible for seeing that the minutes were properly handled, and the Treasurer was st ill responsible for signing all checks and making sure the financial records of the cooperation were complete and accurate.
This same year the Board of Directors hired Howard McDuffie to handle all maintenance for the fairgrounds during the week of the fair. For many years Howard had handled routine maintenance and arranged for commercial repairs for more detailed maintenance after he arrived at the fairgrounds from his regular job. But the needs for maintenance had grown so large that Howard's decision this year was to take a week off from work so he could be at the fairgrounds whenever needed, especially during the day in order to get repairs done before the gates opened to the public. In order to take time off, Howard's employer requiredthat he pay his replacement out of his pocket or to take annual leave. The fair agreed to pay Howard enough that he could pay his replacement without having to take annual leave.
53rd ANNUAL ROBESON COUNTY FAIR
OCTOBER 4 –9, 1999
The name of the fair was officially changed to The Robeson County Fair.
Signed contract with Crown Amusements on October 8, 1999 to provide the 2000 carnival
Total paid attendance was 32,185.
No fair handbook available.
Ted Caliendo was presented the Alfred Smith Friendof the Fair Award. Ted was a faithful volunteer for many years, assist ing with taking in and arranging home exhibits. When the exhibits were prepared, he then assist ed the judges until they completed their responsibilities, and then proceeded to organize all the exhibits and make sure all ribbons were properly placed. He then diverted his efforts to other areas of the fair, volunteering to help many on the fair board with their events and activities. If help was needed, all one had to do was just call for Ted.
September 28-October 6, 2018
In January the fair was presenented with the Media Award by the North Carolina Assoicaiton of Agriculutral Fairs.
Fair board member Everett Davis informed the members that Mr. Moses would like to become the fair historian where he would write about the fair in the coming years with the winners, pictures, etc.
In April 2018, during its monthly meeting, the board unanimously nominated and voted to honor the late Mike Tyson, owner and operator of Tyson’s Corner restaurant with the Alfred Smith Friend of the Fair Award. His family was in attendance at the fair board meeting and presented the award to his wife, Glenda Tyson and family.
The September meeting went on as planned but there was no mention of the coming of Hurricane Florence which was set to hit the Cape Fear Region in the middle of September. The official dates set by the National Weather Service for the area was September 12-15, 2018.
As the last of September arrived, the North Carolina Commissioner of Labor’s office presented a plaque to President Allen Faircloth on behalf of the Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair board for the fair’s commitment to safety over the last 11 years. Big Rock Amusements was the carnival for the fair this year.
The 2018 fair book was published with the book being dedicated posthumously in memory of Mike Tyson and Lorraine Stallings.
Thanks to Hurricaine Florence the fair opening two days later from its scheduled September 27-October 6, 2018, President Faircloth announced that even though overall attendance was down this year, he stated considering the hurricane damage in the area, overall, it had been a good fair. Fairgoers stated that the fair was what Robeson County really needed to heal and was thankful in lieu of all the storm devastation that had just taken place during Hurricane Florence weeks earlier, that the fair went on, not as scheduled but as planned.
Several Robeson County winners of art exhibits at the North Carolina State Fair were recognized at the November meeting.
President Faircloth presented retiring Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth W. Sealey for his many years of friendship and assistance to the fair.
September 27-October 5, 2019
The dates were set for the 73rd Annual Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair to start off 2019. They were set to begin on the late afternoon of Friday, September 27 through the locking of the gates on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at midnight with plenty of excitement in store for those nine big days.
The Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair got off to a positive start in 2019 when it was announced that the fair had received another Media Award from the North Carolina Association of Agricultural Fairs.
Currently, the Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair provides a unique asset for Robeson County. It is the largest educational and entertainment event in the county and such provides opportunities for those unable to travel to places like Disney World, Carowinds, Busch Gardens, or even Myrtle Beach. The goal of the Board of Directors is to provide an affordable event, but prices have increased slightly this year (from 7 to 8 dollars) due to the rising cost of insurance, security, gasoline, and labor. General gate admission is only $8.00, about the same as the cost of a movie ticket. The price includes parking, admission onto the fairgrounds, all the entertainment, and admission to all special events. The only additional expenses you may have is for carnival rides and games, or the fair foods you want to enjoy on the fairgrounds. Unlimited ride wristbands can be purchased on the carnival midway for $25.00. The best way to save money is to purchase an advance ticked for $25.00. This advance ticket is a $50.00 value since it includes an assortment of coupons for fair foods. The location of for these tickets include most SunDo stores, all three (3) State Employee Credit Unions in the county, Robeson County Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Government, Lumberton City Office, SE Regional Medical Center, Doves BP, Dobbs on W Fifth Street, many of the major industries in the county, and numerous locations throughout the county.
However, the planning turned sort of bittersweet when the fairboard learned of the passing of one of its own, Morris Jay Bennett Sr. on April 12, 2019.
The 2019 Fair book was dedicated in memory of Mr. Bennett.
One of the most popular and new entertainment events at this year’s fair was Johnny Rocket’s Cycle Circus, along with the always popular Alan Sands “Comedy Hypnotist Show that held shows daily throughout the days of the fair.
This year’s fair also featured the 9/11 NEVER FORGET Mobile Exhibit that was a tribute to all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, including, of course, the 343 members of the FDNY who made the ultimate sacrifice. The exhibit included artifacts and items found at the different sites of the devastation from New York City, Washington DC and the crash site in Pennsylvania, newspaper clippings, and photos.
In the latter part of November, 2019, the Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair kicked off the Empty Stocking Fund that sponsored by The Robesonian newspaper in Lumberton, with a check in the amount of $500.00. The fund provides Christmas to needy children in Robeson County. The check will provide Christmas for ten children. The Empty Stocking Fund, which began in the later 1970’s, kicked off with this gift from the fair.
October 2-10, 2020
The Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair held its anual retreat, Friday-Sunday, February 21-23, 2020. A great deal of thought and planning when into that meeting for this year's fair along with a long range plan. All returned home, Feb. 23, but unfortunately, the board did not know what was in store for the rest of 2020.
In March, the United States and the world was hit with one of the worst pandemics in recent history, the COVID-19 virus. COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Older adults and people who have severe underlying conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. The medical field were telling people to wash their hands, use hand sanitizer and stay at least 6-feet part when going out and about or not going out at all due to the COVID protocol.
From then on, several fair board meetings were held and the fair board continued to prepare for the 2020 fair. But soon news looked more dismal and fairs around the state were looking at either rescheduling or cancelling altogether because of the outbreak. Fair board meetings were then being held by the use of Zoom. With the fair only months away, it was decided after much discussion by the full board, the 2020 fair would be cancelled.
Even though the 2020 fair was cancelled, there was still a lot going for the children in 4-H, virtually. According to board member Shea Ann DeJarnette, around 90 youth took part in our fair’s virtual livestock and poultry shows. And thanks to our sponsors, Cape Fear Farm Credit and the City of Lumberton Parks and Recreation Department, we were able to offer premiums to all the youth who participated and placed in the shows.
With the pandemic still ranging in the county, the surrounding area and the State of North Carolina, the fairgrounds, located at 3750 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Lumberton, was the site of the distribution of several Free Food Boxes in October, November and December. Cars and pickup trucks were line up around the fairgrounds with high hopes of receiving one of these free boxes that included produce, meat, and dairy products.Those in line, due to the COVID-19 protocol, were asked to remain in their vehicles with their trunks open where volunteers placed the box in their trunk.
One could say the highlight of 2020 came on October 24th when the first sitting president, President Donald J. Trump, spoke at a rally at the fairgrounds with hundreds in attendance with some waiting in line for hours just to get a glimpse of the 45th President of the United States.
Zoom meeting continued the rest of the year with talks of the 2021 fair on the agenda.
October 1-9, 2021
The fair board started meeting in person and via zoom for those who felt more comfortable taking part in meetings virtually. Planning for the 2021 fair was underway with Big Rock Amusements once again providing our carnival rides, Johnny Rockit, Allen Sands, and a host of entertainment lined up for a record breaking 75th year. The board was looking forward to a huge event with all anticipation of record breaking crowds on the midway.
The state had started to lift mass gathering bans due to the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraged folks to continue to wear masks. A vacinne was availble in late 2020 for the virus and folks were encouraged to get innoculated. The Robeson County Public Schools had made arraingements to start back to face to face teaching with strict COVID protocols in place to hlp limit the spread of the virus. For the safety of the public Senior Citizens day activites were cancelled but Seniors still could get in free that day. A determination could still not be made on special needs day waiting on the school system to see if they felt they could safely transport youth to the grounds that day.
However by the time the September meeting rolled around the Robeson County Health Department had just released the latest numbers showing 800 people testing postivie in one week (greater than a 15% positivity rate-with the goal being under 5%, 28 people passing away in the same time frame, and only 32% of the population had received the prelimenary first shot of the vaccine (it is a two shot vaccine with a booster follow up 6 month later). Two mobile morgues were brought to the hospiatl to assist with storing the increasing number of bodies due to increased deaths related to COVID. During the September meeting the board had a heated debate on holding the fair. The vote passed by a 2/3rds margin for the fair to close but to continue to support the 4-H animal shows which would be held with stringent 4-H COVID requirements from the state 4-H office and would not be open to the public. The board also voted to close the grounds until 2022 out of concern for the public health and safety.
Within a week of cancelling the meeting Friend of the Fair, Peggy Prevatte, passed away from COVID. Her husband Allen Prevatte is a long time board member and has run home exhibits building with the help of his wife Peggy.
Robeson County 4-H held its animal shows on various dates at an alternte location due to the fair grounds being closed. More than 100 youth compeated through a variety of dates to show rabits, chickens, turkeys, lambs, heifers and steers, as well as goats. Thanks to the sponsors of the shows premiums were awarded to youth through the fair. The fair also gave ribbons to show participants. To cut costs the hog show and poultry judging contests were cancelled and no tropheies were distributed.
The fair also partnered with a national nonprofit to offer vaccines and food boxes from the fairgrounds on the first Saturday in December.