10 familyAs summer winds down and the kids head back to school, many families start thinking about the fall … cooler weather, football games and, of course, the Cumberland County Fair!

The Cumberland County Fair has been a constant in the lives of many families in Cumberland County for several generations. Held at the Crown Coliseum Complex, this year’s theme is “Agriculture, Food and Rides! Oh My!” While many people visit the fair for the rides and the yummy fair food, it’s important to note that the Cumberland County Fair is rooted in the agricultural heritage of Cumberland County.

That being said, one of the big draws to the fair annually, is the agricultural competitions that see kids of all ages vying for Blue Ribbons and accolades. According to organizers of the fair, there will be livestock shows and exhibits every day. If it’s been a while since you were in FFA (Future Farmers of America for those of you not in the know) or FHA (Future Home Makers of America), it’s not too late to pull your old blue corduroy jacket out of the closet or pull out your favorite recipe for pickles of jams and join in the fun.

Of course, the fair is more than that. There are fun events like the interactive petting farm. Some of these animals are cute and cuddly and some are slippery and slimy. If you like to live dangerously, you can also check out the toddler driving school, which, if done correctly, could morph into a demolition derby! If that isn’t something that gets you excited, let’s be honest: Who doesn’t want to see the mayhem created by toddlers driving while hyped up on cotton candy?

If toddlers crashing around isn’t your idea of fun — there is still more. Cumberland County citizens of all ages submit various works of art for the annual arts and crafts show. Beautiful baskets, paintings and pottery are just some of the works of arts you will see on display - and yes, the artist can win a ribbon! If you have a talent you would like to share, it is not too late to enter it into the show.

The Cumberland County Fair is also known for great music, and this year promises to entertain. Music is on tap throughout the fair’s run, and includes a variety of musical genres.

Reflections II band is a Fayetteville-based band that plays a variety of music that leaves their fans asking for more. Playing mostly cover tunes, one of the band’s fans noted, “Great guys … awesome talent, great set list. Top shelf entertainment.” You might want to do what one fan suggested — get on your dancing shoes and boogy on down at the fair.

•The Throwback Collaboration Band plays the best of rhythm and blues, dance and old school music.

•If you are a little bit country, the Steel County Express has something for you. The band plays modern country and some rock and roll.

Rivermist, also a Fayetteville-based band, started its musical journey in 2014. Rivermist is a variety, party band that plays a little something for everyone. They have a great local following and a number of kudos such as several Up & Coming Weekly Best of Fayetteville awards.

Another kind of talent will be on display at the Fair, and it includes some of the most beautiful people in the county. The Cumberland County Fair Pageant is Sept. 4. There are 10 pageant categories for contestants from birth to ages 20 and up.

Of course, we saved the best for last: Rides, lots and lots of rides! Bumper cars, ferris wheels, scramblers, etc. Anything that spins, turns, goes upside down and back up again will on be center stage at the fair. so, grab your sweetie and lock into the ferris wheel and check out the view from the top — or get on a rollercoaster, and let your stomach drop.

With all of the amazing things to do, you won’t want to miss it! So, review the schedule with daily specials listed below.

Admission is $8 per person (adults and children ages 3 and up). Single ride tickets are $1.25; unlimited ride wristbands are $25. Residents can purchase tickets in advance at CapeFearTix.com, Fort Bragg Leisure Travel Services and in person at the Crown Complex Box Office. The fair schedule and special ticket prices are listed below:

Sept. 3: Gates open at 5 p.m. Free admission for healthcare professionals. Children ages 3 - 12 get in for $5. Admission is $8 for all other individuals ages 13 and older.

Sept. 4: Gates open at 1 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and children 3 years of age and older.

Sept. 5: Gates open at 1 p.m. Day of Giving. Free admission with six non-perishable food items. One free ticket for every six items donated. Admission is $8 for adults and children 3 years of age and older.

Sept. 6: Gates open at 1 p.m. Pay One Price Night $15 admission and rides are unlimited.

Sept. 7- 9: Gates open at 5 p.m. Pay One Price Night $15 admission and rides are unlimited.

Sept. 10: Gates open at 5 p.m. Free admission for school personnel with valid ID. Admission is $8 for all other individuals ages 13 and older.

Sept. 11: Gates open at 1 p.m. Free admission for military and first responders with valid ID. Admission is $8 for all other individuals ages 13 and older.

Sept. 12: Gates open at 1 p.m. Admission is $8 for all individuals ages 13 and older

For all indoor events at the fair, masks must be worn.

For more information about the Cumberland County Fair, including entertainment and exhibits, go to cumberlandcountyfair.org.

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