Newton, NC – Fun, games, rides and fantastic foods are coming back when the Hickory American Legion Fair opens for its annual run Wednesday, Aug. 31.
The 109th fair lasts through Labor Day, Sept. 5, just off U.S. 70 at the American Legion Fairgrounds, 1 American Legion Ave., Newton.
Thousands of people are expected to attend, said Gary Price, president of the Hickory American Legion Fair Association and a member of American Legion Post 48.
“It draws between 40 and 50 (thousand),” said Price, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War.
One of the highlights of the event will be the rides provided by longtime midway specialist James H. Drew Exposition.
“He’ll probably bring in 35 rides, something like that; kiddie rides, what I call adult rides and teenage rides,” Price said.
While the exact ride lineup has not been set, it could include the “Seattle wheel,” a ride bought from the Seattle World’s Fair, and favorites such as bumper cars, a merry-go-round and a swinging pirate ship. For children, there will be miniature train and small motorcycle rides.
After the rides, fair-goers will have built up an appetite. Available will be snacks and fair foods that range from staples such as cotton candy and candied apples to Hispanic foods to newer treats such as deep-fried Oreos and pickles.
Also coming with the fair are:
• Helicopter tours of the fairgrounds and the surrounding area.
• Contests such as the ring toss and dart throwing that offer fair-goers the chance to win prizes.
• County music by Renee Riddle and The Ramblers. On Labor Day, the bluegrass duo Little Roy and Lizzie will perform, Monday, Sept. 5.
• Fireworks at 10 p.m. daily except Sept. 5, a school night.
The Craft Barn will offer exhibitions and competitions for local farmers, gardeners and artisans. For instance, cooks will have the chance to show their canning skills with foods ranging from beets to fruit butters to pickles. Other contests will highlight skills in areas such as quilting, crocheting, knitting and sewing.
Regulations and entry forms for the competitions are available at hickoryfair.com/competition-info-forms.
A final attraction is the Commercial Exhibit Hall, which offers local businesses a place to showcase their goods and services.
“People rent these spots for items they offer for sale,” Price said. “It can be from insurance to guttering to tires.”
The hall also provides an opportunity for nonprofit and other groups to get the word out about their activities. An example is Post 48, which will set up a veterans wall, showing hundreds of photos of local veterans, and a recruiting booth, offering veterans a chance to join the American Legion.
The fair association’s board quietly pours money raised by the event back into the community, not seeking publicity for its contributions. Some of it goes to support Post 48’s operations, while part goes to organizations such as 4-H, the Shriners and the American Cancer Society.
“We give a lot of money to different scholarships,” Price also said.
The fair opens at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, Thursday, Sept. 1, and Friday, Sept. 2; at noon Saturday, Sept. 3, and Monday, Sept. 5; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4. Closing will be about 11 p.m., depending on how busy the midway is.
Admission to the fair will be $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 7 to 12. Children 6 and younger are admitted free.
Seniors and service veterans will be admitted for $5 starting at 5 p.m. Sept. 2.
Drew Exposition will sell single coupons and coupon books for its rides. Single coupons are $1.25. A 120-coupon book is $100, a savings of $50, while 55-coupon books are $50 and 21-coupon books are $20.
Rides cost more than one coupon per rider.
There also will be various one-price discounts available for rides.