The rainy weather, that has been the trademark this summer in Southwest Virginia, couldn’t stop the Salem Fair from having another record year. The fair wrapped-up its 12-day run at the Taliaferro Complex last night and Fair Manager, Carey Harveycutter, says that attendance for this year’s event was up by nearly five percent. Harveycutter and Deggeller Attractions officials estimate that around 350,000 visitors toured the 14-acre midway from June 29 - July 10.
“This was a challenging two weeks, but a very rewarding time.” says Harveycutter. “Ticket sales for rides rose this year and our food vendors did very well despite the rain that fell on a couple of critical dates.”
Wet weather on July 2, July 4 and the final Friday night of the fair slowed down the normal steady stream of patrons, but not by much. The midway was forced to close early on just one evening, and on Independence Day, fireworks at the fair were launched right on schedule.
“Any fair or carnival is at the mercy of the weather, and that’s why it’s so important to have a professional partner like Deggeller Attractions that provides consistency year after year,” says Harveycutter. “We’ve been doing this 29 years, so the kids who first came to the fair are now bringing their own children to enjoy the rides and shows. They have a certain level of expectation and we always to try to meet or exceed it.”
Creative arts and horticulture exhibits were again extremely popular in 2016. More than 4000 entries were received in the 500 categories of competition that ranged from cake decorating to photography.
“Every year we are amazed by the wide variety of entries and I think the most rewarding thing is the high number of entries from children, who are helping to keep this tradition alive,” says Melissa de Pineda, Blue Ribbon Exhibit Coordinator for the Salem Fair.
In 2017, the Salem Fair will celebrate its 30th year.