The 2023 Salem Fair wrapped up 12 days of non-stop fun on Sunday night. The 35th edition of the region’s annual rite of summer featured visitors ranging from Virginia’s Governor to Canada’s wildfire smoke.
“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this year’s fair in many ways,” Wendy Delano, Salem’s Director of Civic Facilities said. “The advance sale of tickets was up by more than 50 percent compared to last year, rain was never a factor this year, and even those four days of wildfire smoke couldn’t deter our loyal fairgoers.”
This year marked the first time in the 35-year history of the Salem Fair that a sitting governor took time to tour the midway. Glenn Youngkin visited with vendors, patrons, and concessionaries on the final Friday night of the fair.
“We appreciate the Governor taking the time to validate our tourism efforts in Virginia’s Blue Ridge by generously spending some quality time with us,” Carey Harveycutter, Salem Fair Manager said. “We also appreciate the generosity of our fairgoers, who truly outdid themselves this year.”
Strong promotional efforts from area media outlets helped spread the word that the Salem Fair is also about giving back to the community. More than 2,500 pairs of socks were donated at the gate for the Roanoke Rescue Mission and Mrs. Dorsey’s Clothes Closet, and a record 4,723 pounds of food was collected for the Salem-Roanoke County Food Pantry. That is a 1000-pound increase over 2022’s collection efforts.
In addition, NW Ace Hardware Stores will honor a yet to be named non-profit with a donation based off the advance sales of the Megapass unlimited ride tickets which were stronger than ever, especially with the online purchasing option.
The Blue-Ribbon exhibit section was back in the Salem Civic Center’s arena for the second straight year. Exhibitors entered 1,236 items in a variety of competitive categories, ranging from woodworking to quilting.
Overall, fair officials say they are extremely pleased with attendance and the projected ride and concessions revenue generated over the 12 nights of the fair. The fair closed an hour earlier at 10 p.m. this year and Salem Police leaders say they did not experience any major incidents on the fairgrounds.
The 2024 Salem Fair is set for July 3-14.