I can’t explain what it is about the county fair that gets me as wide- eyed as any child.
It could be the big rides, the smells of all sorts of foods that I only get once a year, the sounds of families laughing, or the sight of children smiling. It could be the way the fairgrounds light up at night so you can see for miles. It could be the combination of all of it, but no matter what it is, the most exciting nine days of the year are about to hit Robeson County in the form of the Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair.
To many, it’s just the fair or county fair. However, the name is important to understand the true meaning behind this annual event. The Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair is an event that attracts folks from all over the state, especially our neighboring counties, so regional is an important part of the name. The No. 1 economic indicator in Robeson County is agriculture. Where better to highlight agriculture than at a regional fair? There are all sorts of ways that is done.
In the home exhibits area, you will find all sorts of homegrown items entered for competition, where the best not only gets a blue ribbon but a cash prize. There are also entries from those who use that homegrown goodness to create mouth-watering delicacies. You will see displayed canned items ranging from tomatoes to pickles, home-baked cakes and brownies, even amateur wines. New this year is a bread competition sponsored by King Arthur Flour Company.
In the back of that building, after seeing all the great things our neighbors have made, you can visit the Robeson County Beekeepers, learn about bees, and maybe even get some locally made honey. The Master Gardeners are also nearby and happy to answer your backyard garden questions, whether it is vegetable production, flowers, lawn care or composting, these folks will help you make your green thumb even greener. Don’t forget to check out the Future Farmers of America and 4-H booths, which will show you the creativity of our local youth interested in all sorts of things including agriculture.
When you leave the home exhibits building, you will notice hay bails around the fairgrounds decorated by our Junior Fair Board members. There are also agricultural displays, such as the tractors. Don’t forget the livestock shows and farm animals. The 4-H and Future Farmers of America members have competitions almost every day, and there are even some adult shows thrown in. With the average age of a farmer in this county near 60, it is important for youths to have a chance to experience agriculture and see if this is a career for them.
Of course, for many people the attractions to the fair are the incredible rides and the fair food. No matter what it is, come on out to the Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair Oct. 4 through Oct. 12, and check it all out. If you find yourself walking the midway enjoying a collard sandwich, make sure to stop by and thank a farmer. I guarantee there is always one around.
For information, contact Shea Ann DeJarnette, Extension 4-H Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.