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Winston-Salem fair finishes with attendance drop, but good weather boosts numbers on weekends

Winston-Salem fair finishes with attendance drop, but good weather boosts numbers on weekends

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Carolina Classic Fair

Fair patrons are reflected in puddles as they wait in line for rides, Tuesday at the Carolina Classic Fair.

Attendance at the Carolina Classic Fair finished Sunday with a 37% drop compared with 2019, but fair organizers said good weather during the fair’s weekend days limited the size of the drop.

Staging the event for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, fair officials said they were happy with the way the fair turned out.

“Generally, the only thing that affects attendance is the weather,” said Cheryle Hartley, the fair director. “We had a heavy dose of rain this past week, so our overall attendance was down 37 percent from 2019. Interestingly, the four weekend days of the fair, when the weather was good, we were only 17 percent down, year-over-year, so weather was a major factor.

The fair ran from Oct 1 to Oct 10 and thus had two weekends of events for fairgoers. Although fair organizers put in a number of COVID-19 safety measures, they said they knew attendance was likely to suffer. The fair required people to wear masks everywhere inside, although some fairgoers said that they saw many people ignoring the requirement to mask.

Attendance was 182,048. The number of competitive entries for livestock, food, flowers and other categories was also down: 15,786 entries for 2021, down from 28,017 in 2019, the last time the fair was held before the coronavirus forced the cancellation of the 2020 fair.

“We were just glad to put people back to work and to see families getting back together to enjoy a fair after a two-year hiatus,” Hartley said.




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