LUMBERTON — People who enter the Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair’s midway will be struck by every color imaginable.
The lights and colors from the rides and striped tent tops can be seen all the way from Martin Luther King Jr. Drive by people passing by the fairgrounds. At night the flashing LED lights from the rides offer a colorful light show for everyone, even the people who may never get on a ride, but still want to sit and just watch.
“The LED lights on the rides actually offer a lot of benefits for us,” said Matt McDonagh, owner of Big Rock Amusements. “Environmentally they last much longer than fluorescent tubes. They use less electricity, therefore cost less to run. Artistically we can program patterns and eye-catching sequences that attract folks to the midway. Also it adds to the brightness of the midway. Our goal is to offer fair-goers the cleanest and brightest midway we can, and this allows us to do that.”
The lights from the rides are an automatic attraction for photographers. In the local artist area in the Al Parnell Home Exhibit Building, there are several photographs from this year’s fair midway for sale. At Voecks Studios can be seen the colorful prints among a variety of flow paintings.
“It was just too beautiful to resist,” said one artist.
Photography is just one of the many art forms available as part of this new attraction at the fair. Flow paintings, pottery, jewelry, wood burning, and more are being demonstrated by local artists.
Patty Speights has been working from the fair every day, throwing clay and creating vases, bowls, dishes and more.
“I will take these home as they dry and fire them in my studio there,” Speights said.
Speights, who offers painting and ceramics classes to the public, said it is a lot of work to pick up and set up at the fair, but she enjoys it.
“I get to meet lots of new folks, teach them about what I do,” she said. “It really is a lot of fun.”
Over the course of the fair more than nine local artists will be set up to demonstrate their work and to mingle with fair-goers passing through the building.
Local artists are just one of the attractions featured during the fair’s final days. Rockit the Robot will be roaming the grounds nightly and attracting big crowds. Also, Close Encounters of the Exotic Kind, a lion and tiger Show, is free to fair-goers. There are two entertainment acts that are fun and educational, especially for youth: the butterfly exhibit, at which patrons can feed butterflies, and Barnyard Cackle, an animated chicken show with singing comedian chickens.
“We kicked it up a notch with our entertainment offerings this year,” said Allen Faircloth, Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair president. “There is more entertainment than ever before. Our local artist area has really taken off, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the feedback we have gotten from our patrons. We hope to make this an even bigger attraction next year.”
Area residents have until Saturday at midnight to check out what the fair has to offer, from the artists booths to the midway. There is something at the fair for everyone.
Shea Ann DeJarnette is the 4-H Youth Development agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at 910-671-3276, by email at Shea_Ann_DeJarnette@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.