Avery County Fair new cutline

A view of the fairgrounds at Heritage Park last year. The Avery Extension Service is waiving admission price this year and hoping to raise the difference through other means.

NEWLAND — This year you can get into the Avery County Agricultural and Horticultural Fair for free.

Avery County Cooperative Extension Director Jerry Moody said the fair is dropping the admission cost to follow what other fairs have done, with the hope the community will come out in droves to support the fair through its other means of fundraising.

The fair is fundraising through other means, including raffling off a new camper. Tickets cost $100 apiece. The other hope is increased attendance will also result in an increase in purchases of ride bracelets.

“We’re trying to be innovative with our fair and try new things,” Moody said.

In the past, most of the fair’s revenue has come from the ticket sales.

The fair also runs one day less than previous years and there will be a “carload night” on Sept. 5. For the carload night, a car with up to eight people will be charged only $50 for everyone to get ride bracelets. That is only $6.25 per bracelet.

“You can ride that whole day,” Moody said.

Moody said other fairs use the same methods and they want to try and follow their suggestions, and he believes the community will support the fair enough to cover all the expenses.

“If you don’t change you never know if that’s the best way,” Moody added.

The fair averages 4,000 to 5,000 people over the course of the week, the hope being that number can increase to somewhere between 8,000 to 10,000 people while increasing the exposure of the fair.

“We have confidence that it will work, but it’s still a leap of faith,” Moody said. “We are betting on the support of the community.”

When speaking to Moody on Aug. 8, he said there were about 150 raffle tickets remaining.

The fair will include the usual fare. There will be rides, food, a beauty pageant, animal shows every night and the return of the obstacle course.

“After about putting two people in the hospital and three people getting sick, we’re going to have another obstacle course,” Moody said. “But this time we won’t do it in the middle of the day.”

The livestock shows are always popular family events, with lots of large animals on display.

In the future, the new community center to be built at Heritage Park will be used as part of the fair grounds.

The fair runs Sept. 4 to 7. For more information, call the Avery County Cooperative Extension Office at (828) 733-8270.

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