BY DEBBIE PAGE
debbiepage.iredellfreenews@gmail.com

Thrills and fair food will abound as the 86th Iredell County Agricultural Fair opens on Friday, September 2, with the official ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled at 7 p.m. The fair runs through Saturday, September 10, with nine full days of rides, entertainment, exhibits, and competitions.

The Iredell County Cooperative Extension Service and the Kiwanis Club of Statesville partner to host the fair to promote local agriculture, improve youth participation in agricultural-related activities, and educate the public about the impact of agriculture in their community and daily lives.

Last year the fair attracted a record 54,000 people, which Fair Manager Jim Head hopes will be exceeded this year. Vendor spaces have been full for several weeks, so attendees will have a wide variety of food, treats and products from which to choose.

The Kiwanis Club uses the profits from the fair to sponsor local organizations or service projects. Past recipients include the Boy and Girl Scouts, Relay for Life, United Way, Special Olympics, 4-H programs, Boys & Girls Clubs, My Sister’s House, and Hospice of Iredell County.

Kiwanis also gives out thousands of dollars in scholarships to the county’s high school seniors. Area youth also get involved with agriculture through 4-H, FFA, and other clubs involved in the fair.

Thousands of dollars in fair proceeds flow back out into the community. The Kiwanis Club distributed $76,000 to nonprofits and for student scholarships from 2021 fair proceeds.

CELEBRATING AGRICULTURE

Supporting and learning about county agriculture is also important since Iredell is a state agricultural production leader. Agriculture-related business had a $652 million economic impact on the county, according to Nancy Keith, Iredell County Extension director.

“We try to do a good job showcasing everything that’s out there,” said Keith.

Farmers, gardeners, cooks and craftspeople will show off their crops, products, arts, crafts, and creations in extensive exhibits for fair attendees to enjoy.

“Everything originates from the farm, whether it’s food or fiber,” said Keith, who noted that though the number of farms in Iredell County has decreased, the farm sizes, livestock numbers, and production has increased.

Keith encourages residents to visit those family farms that sell directly to the public to get great fresh, local produce and products and to learn more about where their food comes from.

She also celebrated the diversity of agriculture products the county produces, including corn, silage, wheat, rapeseed, cotton, barley, hay, tobacco, forestry, and landscape nurseries.

Keith said the county is No. 1 in the state in dairy cattle and all cattle production, fifth in beef cattle, fifth in layers (chickens), first in corn silage, and fifth in hay production.

She noted that the county is losing a lot of farmland to development. “We have to be more efficient to produce more food.”

Shrinkage of farmland is a national problem as well.

“By 2030, which is not far away, we are going to have to produce about 50 percent more food on less land. By 2050, we are going to have to be able to produce 70 percent more.”

New technology, scientific research, improved crops, and computer-programmed equipment will help farmers to do more with less personnel, added Keith.

A shortage of farmers will also be an issue. “The average age of a farmer is 59 to 60 years old,” said Keith, who hopes the fair and other agriculture awareness events will draw young people’s interest in farming and agri-business careers.

ADMISSION

General Admission is $5, with children 6 and under free. Gates open at 5 p.m. except on Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day, when they will open at 3 p.m. The fair closes at 11 p.m.

No one will be readmitted after leaving the fairgrounds without the purchase of another ticket.

New this year is a free admission day for everyone on Thursday, September 8.

Special deals on rides are also available. Fairgoers can purchase an unlimited rides wristband for $20 each day.

Parking is $2 per car in Kiwanis-operated lots on the fairgrounds property.

COMPETITIONS

The fair gives local farmers and 4-H Club youths opportunities to show off the county’s booming agriculture industry. Crafters, artists, seamstresses, gardeners, and homemakers can also show off their talents in various competition categories.

The Cooperative Extension staff are in charge of the livestock shows, educational exhibits, and the entries in canning, cooking, clothing, flowers, plants, vegetables, and other areas.

Animal and agricultural-related competitions are open again this year to participants from the counties surrounding Iredell, including Mecklenburg, Alexander, Catawba, Lincoln, Davie, Wilkes, Rowan, Cabarrus, and Yadkin.

Over $60,000 in premiums are being offered for a wide variety of competitions in field and garden crops, farm display, garden clubs, flowers and plants, family and consumer science categories, clothing, furnishings, arts and crafts, 4-H and youth exhibits, livestock, rabbits and poultry.

Club displays installment starts Friday, August 26, and should be complete by Monday, August 29, at 5 p.m., before the opening of the fair. Departments will accept entries Tuesday, August 30, and Wednesday, August 31, from 4 to 8 p.m. Poultry Department entries are accepted Thursday, September 1, from 4 to 7 p.m.

Online application forms are available for printing at http://www.statesvillekiwanis.org/Page/16629.

More information on entry rules, the premium book, and Best of Show guidelines is available at http://www.statesvillekiwanis.org/Page/16630.

Prizes are awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in all competition categories, with cattle prizes going through 5th place. The prize money comes from gate proceeds.

The 2021 Agricultural Fair “Best in Show Competition” at the North Carolina State Fair features the best arts and crafts entries from local agricultural fairs across the North Carolina. Iredell judges will select one youth and one adult entry from their blue ribbon entries to enter the state competition. These two entries will receive a $100 prize.

The N.C. State Fair, which runs through October 13-23 in Raleigh, will display all counties’ “Best of Show” entries. After judging, one youth and one adult entry will earn the state’s $500 Grand Prize Award.

RIDES

B & K Carnival offers a variety of exciting rides, including the Roundup, Yoyo, Barrel of Fun, Circus Train, Orient Express, Racing Cars, Bumper Cars, Scrambler, Hurricane, Super Slide, Tiny Tractors, Car Motorcycle Jump, Eli Ferris Wheel, Hawg Heaven Fun House, Merry-Go-Round, Astroliner, Funny Farm Fun House, Radical Run, Sea Ray and Sky Jump.

To check them out, visit B & K Carnival online at https://www.bandkcarnival.com/activities.

DAILY ENTERTAINMENT

The Circus Shane Show and Moto Motion Free Style Tour will be performing each day.

Shane Hansen has been performing since he was 3 years old with circuses, fairs, halftime shows, TV, cruise ships, movies and more.

His wife and three daughters also join the rock-n-roll circus show, which features juggling, trampoline, magic, a spinning cube, loop-to-loop, and fire feats as well as a 65-foot high dive and pyrotechnics. Audience members also get to join in on the fun.

For more information, visit https://circusshane.com.

The Moto Motion Free Style Tour is a one-of-a-kind performance production team featuring lively stunt shows performed on trials bikes, alongside acrobatic athletes. Mixing extreme stunts into entertaining shows, they produce the only freestyle trials stunt show in the country.

The show features lightweight, agile dirt bikes performing wheelies, nose wheelies, riding on huge obstacles, crowd interaction, and incredible backflips on their custom portable ramp system.

For more information, visit https://www.motomotionentertainment.com.

DAILY SPECIAL EVENTS

On the opening weekend, fans will get their thrills at the Go Kart Racing competition at 7 p.m. at the outdoor arena on Friday and Saturday nights. On Sunday, September 5, visitors can enjoy the Dairy Cattle Show (indoor arena) at 7 p.m.

On Monday night, Go Kart racers will again take the track at 7 p.m. at the outdoor arena. Tuesday will feature a Beef Cattle Show at 6 p.m. along with the Mini Outlaws Racers competing at 7 p.m.

Mini Outlaw Racing will return on Wednesday at 7 p.m. On Thursday, fair-goers can enjoy the Sheep & Goat Show at 6 p.m., followed on Friday, September 9, with the Dairy Judging Contest at 3:30 p.m. and the Dairy Cattle Show at 7 p.m.

The fair’s final Saturday on September 11 will feature the 5th Annual Special Abilities Junior Dairy Show at 3 p.m. at the Indoor Arena. This show is for participants (youth through adults) with special needs to have the opportunity to work alongside of an exhibitor and show a dairy calf.

The crowd-pleasing Demolition Derby finale is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m.

For racing or demolition derby competition information and prizes, contact Jeremy Burnett at 704-701-1665 or email at JBurnett@minioutlawseries.com.

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

Call the fair office at 704-508-2126.

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