57th Ag Fair opens with better than fair weather

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

HAMLET — Destiny Rape couldn’t keep her eyes open. And she couldn’t close them, either.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

The Hamlet resident and protective mother of Chris’ah, 6, meant that Tuesday night was Chris’ah’s first time on a swing. The Fairview Heights Elementary School first-grader made her debut at the 57th annual Richmond County Agricultural Fair in Hamlet.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

The fair runs through Saturday. Gates open at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Wristbands to ride the 18 rides by InnerShows are $18 apiece. Proceeds from the annual gala benefit the Hamlet Lions Club.

But for Rape, her focus was solely on her daughter, who exhibited a high degree of enthusiasm by way of a very large grin.

“I’m almost crying over here,” Rape said. “I’m nervous about it.”

Chris’ah survived the ordeal just fine and, after the ride was over, went on in pursuit of her next great adventure. And so opened the 57th annual Richmond County Agricultural Fair.

Ann Wheeler, education coordinator for the fair, stood in the animal barn — temporarily filled by cows, chickens, goats, rabbits, turkeys, pheasants and more — and stressed the importance of personal hygiene. She talked with others concerned about personal safety. Animals are fun, Wheeler said, but they can also carry germs.

“Animals are here to view,” Wheeler said, “not to touch. They’re really cute, really pretty but they can carry disease.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com DeLani Reep, of Hamlet, has the attention of a pygmy goat inside the animal barn at the 57th annual Richmond County Agricultural Fair.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
DeLani Reep, of Hamlet, has the attention of a pygmy goat inside the animal barn at the 57th annual Richmond County Agricultural Fair.

Rope tried to distance spectators from the animals but about 2 feet and signs were hanged through the barn to help warm adults and children alike that these were farm animals and not pets.

After the animal barn, visitors toured the arts and crafts barn, in which a variety of personal works were on display. A variety of agencies, including the Richmond County Beekeepers Association, Richmond County Emergency Services, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, North Carolina Forest Service and the Richmond County 4-H Livestock Club had booths set up in the barn.

Thirteen-year-old DeLani Reep, of Hamlet, watched her grandmother give a sewing demonstration inside the barn. Reep typically shows meat goats for 4-H but had three rabbits entered in the county fair.

Finished with the animal barn, Greg Stone and Kathy Kinard were ready for the midway, which opened at 5 p.m. Stone, 23, and Kinard, 24, both of Hamlet, said they were headed elsewhere and remembered the fair was set to open. Stone said he remembered coming to the fair as a little boy. The animals seem smaller now — except maybe for the cows — and the rides seem a bit slower.

Speed wasn’t a necessity for two younger fairgoers. Bladyn Gomez, 5, and Kathryn Roller, 3, both of Rockingham, were all set.

Members of the Second Baptist Day School choir opened their live stage performance with “Silent Witnesses,” a song to which they signed the words throughout.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Chris'ah McKenzie-Rape, 6, takes a turn on the swings by InnerShows.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Chris’ah McKenzie-Rape, 6, takes a turn on the swings by InnerShows.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Kathryn Roller, 3, of Rockingham, was content as the midway opened at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Kathryn Roller, 3, of Rockingham, was content as the midway opened at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Filed in: Farm & Ag, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors

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