11 01 Dairy cowsThe Cumberland County Fair is back in Fayetteville, bringing with it a blend of homegrown traditions, interesting exhibits, exciting rides and fun for people of all ages. It  will open at the Crown this Friday, Aug. 30. 

The theme of the fair this year is “Moo-vin’ and Groovin’.” The dairy industry is a hot topic, and the Cumberland County Cooperative Extension  is using the event as an opportunity to teach people about dairy farms. “Our agricultural display will be focused on dairies,” said Jessica Drake, the extension agent in charge of  4-H Youth Development for Cumberland County. 

“The mission is to highlight all things dairy and maintain an emphasis on the historical importance of agriculture in Cumberland County,” said Daniel Marsh, the director of marketing for the Crown.

One of the highlights of the theme-related activities utilizes virtual reality. “We’re having virtual reality 11 02 SCAVENGER so people can enjoy visiting a farm and learning about it without leaving the fair. This is an opportunity North Carolina State provided to us,” Drake said. “We want to bridge that gap from farm to fork.” 

Additionally, there will be a milking booth, a children’s area and information on the N.C. Dairy Alliance. “The fair is a prime opportunity to be able to get a lot of people educated through a hands-on experience,” Drake explained.

The Cumberland County Fair highlights the importance of agriculture every year. In fact, it’s partnered with the North Carolina Association of Agricultural Fairs. The North Carolina Association of Agricultural Fairs awarded two scholarships this year for the fair. One went to Ashlyn Johnson of Lincoln Memorial University who will be studying veterinarian medicine and the other went to John Faatz of N.C. State 11 03 BEST OF SHOWUniversity who is studying livestock management. 

A variety of  community organizations will be represented at the fair to explain their services and what they offer throughout the community. Attendees can also count on a variety of vendors inside and outside on the midway. 

Before the fair’s opening, many people swarm in to enter their proudest creations as exhibits for the chance to win ribbons and cash prizes. Participants can enter food items such as fresh produce, canned goods and baked goods. There are floriculture, horticulture, agriculture, arts and crafts, photography, sewed items and livestock categories as well.  The winners of “Best of Show” ribbons will move on to compete in the N.C. State Fair in October. All of the items are on display. 

“Youth have the opportunity through the livestock shows to show off what they’ve accomplished and what they’ve worked hard on  all year,” Drake said. “It’s very important for youth to have that sense of accomplishment whether they win or they lose. Really, (entering anything in the fair) is a great opportunity for anyone of any age to put their accomplishments on display.” 

Other indoor attractions include a scavenger hunt, the Junior Livestock Show, the antique farm exhibit and a toddler driving school.

This year’s main attraction at the fair will be Johnny Rockett’s Cycle Circus Live, which is the largest FMX Freestyle show of its kind in the world. The show will feature a variety of acts, including FMX, BMX, The Globe of Death, Daredevil Divas, Triple Flipping Motorcycle, The Fire Girls and more.  The 11 04 RIDEhigh-tech pyrotechnics and the daring stunts make this a popular show. 

A whopping 27 rides will be offered by Big Rock Amusements on the midway this year. For people who enjoy the classic rides, there will be the Giant Wheel, a Ferris wheel that is over 80 feet tall, a Fun Slide, a grand carousel and a Tilt-a-Whirl. Visit http://bigrockamusements.com/events/35 to see the full offering of rides. 

Although part of the event falls on Labor Day weekend, the Cumberland County Fair is an exciting tradition worthy of a “stay-cation.” “It’s a staple,” said Marsh. “Many families within Cumberland County and the surrounding area choose to stay home around Labor Day, and this is an opportunity for us to provide them with quality entertainment at a reasonable price. There is no better way to not only end the summer, but to also begin our event season here at the Crown Complex.” 

Throughout the duration of the fair, there will be promotional nights. The Up & Coming Weekly coloring sheet contest is Aug. 31. 

With their student IDs, attendees can receive $2 off the cost of admission. 

Sept. 1 is “Ultimate Stay-Cation Student Night.” Students with IDs will receive $4 off admission. 

On Sept. 2, attendees who arrive between 1-5 p.m. pay ten dollars for admission and rides, and those that arrive after five pay $15 for unlimited rides and admission for “Early Bird Pay One Price Night.” 

Sept. 3-5 is “Pay One Price Night.” “Senior Day” takes place Sept. 5 and offers free admission for senior citizens until 5 p.m. and offers unlimited rides with admission.

 “Military and Emergency Services Appreciation Night” takes place Sept. 6. Admission is free with an IDcard. The last day of the fair is “Faith and Family Day.” By mentioning their church or bringing a church bulletin, attendees can receive a $2 discount.

 “It’s important to bring community together. The fair is a fun, low-stress environment where you can all just enjoy each other and learn about the community through different organizations that put booths up,” Drake said. 

The fair opens this Friday at 5 p.m. and continues through Sept. 8. It is appropriate for all ages. Visit http://www.crowncomplexnc.com/events/cumberlandcountyfair for more information. 

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