ALBEMARLE — The 83rd Stanly County Fair was held last week at the fairgrounds and featured midway rides, agricultural displays, competitions and plenty of fair food. While the midway got off to a late start with a last-minute change in ride vendors, 8,000 people turned out to make the fair possible and have some family fun.
“Participation from the community was absolutely amazing,” said Cal Massingale, commander of American Legion Post 76 and fair manager.
The fair included a cheerleading competition, a Lego contest, barrel racing, and a visit from Carolina Panthers mascot Sir Purr and the team’s Top Cats cheerleaders. The fun and games were a big draw for the long-standing fair, but Massingale said the emphasis of the fair was farming.
“We are taking the fair back to agriculture,” he said. “We are supporting agriculture in North Carolina. We had a barn full of animals of all types.”
Future Farmers of America, home schoolers and 4-H groups from across Stanly County and the surrounding area participated in various fair events and activities. Each night of the fair featured entertainment from gospel groups to Oakboro’s Valhalla Band.
The 2017 cheer competition featured 11 teams from Stanly, Anson, Montgomery, Cabarrus and Union counties. Cox Mill High School in Cabarrus County took home the trophies in both the Varsity and JV categories. In addition to the first-place trophy, the squads earned $400 and $200 cash awards, respectively. Albemarle High was the people’s choice award winner which earned the squad a trophy and a $100 prize. In the Varsity category, Central Cabarrus placed second, Anson High, third, and Parkwood (Union County) was fourth. In the JV category, Central Cabarrus placed second with Parkwood in third.
More than 200 riders entered barrel racing events, hailing from across N.C. as well as South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee. They competed for more than $2,000 in prize money.
Traditional competitions included sewing, food canning, flower arrangements, baked goods, cake decorating, vegetable growing and livestock.
In addition to highlighting Stanly County’s agriculture industry, another goal of the fair was to raise funds to support the continued efforts of the American Legion, which supports American Legion baseball, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and veterans support services throughout Stanly County. The group anticipates that several thousand dollars will be available to fund the Legion’s philanthropic efforts and to reinvest in the fair’s resources for future generations of fun.
The event had good weather, but was hampered initially by the failure of the contracted ride vendor to deliver the fair’s midway rides.
“Recreational Equipment of Mecklenburg Co. and FunTime Amusements out of Danville, Va., came in the day before we opened and offered a contract to bring in rides, inflatables and games to get everything up and were able to start the rides on Thursday night,” said Massingale.
The fair leader said the ride situation was out of the Legion’s control, but that they would focus on “continuous improvement throughout the entire process that will insure an even better fair next year.”
The American Legion’s next big event is the Post 76 Open Horse Show on Oct. 28.