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Pitt County fair a welcome relief from Hurricane Florence

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A boy smiles at he rides a ride at Pitt County Fair on Sept. 18, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


By Seth Thomas Gulledge
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The annual Pitt County fair may have opened a day late due to Hurricane Florence, but attendees who spent most of the last week hunkered down watching weather updates said the timing was perfect.

The 99th annual Pitt County American Legion Agricultural Fair kicked off on Wednesday afternoon, with organizers inviting all to enjoy themselves to fried foods, amusement rides, petting zoos and all the fanfare that comes with the yearly event. 

The festive atmosphere, complete with dazzling lights, shouts of excitement and lines of prizes created a sharp contrast with the experience many eastern North Carolina residents are feeling in the wake of Hurricane Florence. 

“When I think about all that’s taking place around us, 27 have lost their lives, 300,000 around the state are without power, it puts it all into perspective,” State Sen. Don Davis said in the fair’s opening remarks. “We are really, really blessed.”

Davis said his hope is that the fair can be a source of community for all the residents of eastern North Carolina, whether or not they are affected by the storm. He said for those that are, his hope is that maybe the fair can be a bright spot in an otherwise dark time. 

“At the end of the day, I hope that this county fair can pull us together,” he said. “And perhaps over the days to come it might just might be this fair that gives some family an ounce of hope, somewhere to get away for just a moment.“

Fair executive and organizer Phyllis Ross said she hopes the fair will not only give people a place to blow off some steam, but also to experience unity with their local community.

“I think it’s very important because it gives the people the opportunity for people who have been cooped up to get out and do something fun,” she said. “I’m sure many probably have cabin fever. I’m just so glad that we can do this and offer this opportunity.”

Fairgoers agreed with that getting out on sunny Wednesday afternoon was a welcome relief. Paula Kermon, who was there with her husband said they try to make it out to the fair each year, but this year it was much needed.

“You know after the weeks of tension and stress over the storm and thinking about the destruction, it’s just nice to get out in the sun and enjoy being around people,” she said. 

The fair originally was scheduled to open Tuesday, but delays due to flooded roadways in North Carolina prevented the fair from setting up in time. For the rest of the week, Fair hours are 4-10:45 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 1-11:45 p.m. Saturday and 1-7:45 p.m. Sunday.

General daily admission is $6, and free for ages 4 and younger. Wristbands (for unlimited rides) are $20 each. Parking is free. Visit pittfair.org or call 756-6916 for more information.