LUMBERTON — Christa Hunt didn’t waste any time finding her favorite booth at the fair — J.R’s Chicken Bog.
“Coming to the fair is a kind of tradition for me and I like the food,” said Hunt, who with her husband Harold and 2-year-old daughter Rachel were among the first to pass through the gates of the 67th annual Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair when it began its nine-day run late Friday afternoon at the Robeson County Fairgrounds. “I love the collard sandwiches, but chicken bog is my favorite.”
James Emanuel of Lumberton has been treating fair visitors to his chicken bog for 15 years.
“I don’t use frozen chicken. It’s got to be fresh,” Emanuel said. “I use all Native American herbs and spices.”
For Jimmie and Cheryl Lowery, food is also one of the reasons they can never miss the annual fair. Cheryl said she always looks forward to having a collard sandwich.
“We come to the fair two times every year,” said Cheryl. “It’s always on the first day and the last.”
Fair officials were all smiles as the first crowd of fairgoers made their way through the gates on their way to the game booths, 36 rides, variety of food booths and exhibits. The weather was perfect, with clear skies and mild temperatures, and the same is in the forecast for today
“We’re off and running,” said Allen Faircloth, president of the Fair Board. “We’re looking at this year’s fair to be the greatest ever.”
This is the 67th year that the fair has been held. Many years it has been regarded as one of the best county fairs in the state.
Last year, 92,000 visitors — 21,000 on the last day — attended in the nine-day event. Faircloth said Friday that he hopes at least 100,000 people attend.
“The city one year made us stop bringing cars onto the grounds,” Faircloth said. “There were too many. That was really something.”
General admission tickets for the fair, that continues through Oct. 12, are $6 and children 3 and under get in for free. But there are free tickets available almost everywhere.
The fair, officials say, is family-oriented, and offers something for everybody. They also say the key to its success is community involvement.
“It takes the whole community to have the fair,” Faircloth said.
According to Faircloth, the fair is not just an event to provide a good time. Each year $10,000 in fair proceeds are distributed in support of local community projects.
To purchase tickets or view the full fair schedule, go to www.robesoncountyfair.com.