The Salem Fair’s 12-day run at the Taliaferro Complex wrapped-up Sunday night with a vibrant sunset, dry skies and a sigh of relief.
“When you consider everything that goes into the planning of an event this large, you always have to be thankful for the good times and celebrate the successes,” says Carey Harveycutter, Salem Fair Manager. “The rain definitely was not our friend this year, but we still saw plenty of smiling faces on the midway.”
This year marked the first time in the 34-year history of the Salem Fair that rain significantly impacted both Saturday nights on the schedule. Lightning delays on the first weekend and a soaker hose style rain on the final Saturday were less than ideal. In all, the final week saw a significant threat of precipitation every day after July 4.
“It was disappointing, but fair fans are resilient and loyal,” says Wendy Delano, Salem’s Director of Civic Facilities. “When the gates opened for the final day of the fair, folks were standing in the rain anxious to get on the rides, and we had a tremendous crowd as the day progressed and the skies cleared.”
Overall, fair officials say they are pleased with attendance and the ride and concessions revenue when you consider the weather impact, the lingering effects of the pandemic and the recent spike in the daily cost of living for all families. Salem Police leaders also say they did not experience any major incidents on the fairgrounds this year.
“I have been in the entertainment industry for what seems like my entire life, and it will take us several years to figure out what the new normal is going to be,” says Harveycutter. “However, the Deggeller Attractions family and all of us who have done this for many years agree that a rainy fair is still much better than no fair at all.”
Thanks to the generosity of fairgoers and the promotional efforts of area media members, several local non-profits benefitted from the Salem Fair in 2022. A record 3,715 pounds of food was donated to the Salem-Roanoke County Food Pantry and the Roanoke Rescue Mission and Mrs. Dorsey’s Clothes Closet received 2,400 pairs of socks from patrons. 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.
The Blue-Ribbon exhibit section moved from the Salem Civic Center’s Community Room to the arena floor and the change in venue was an instant hit with fairgoers. Exhibitors entered 1148 items in a variety of competitive categories, ranging from cake decorating to photography.