After several calls to Pender County and Brunswick County workers, who couldn’t answer this question, a call to Skip Watkins shed some light on a few possible reasons.
Watkins helps organize the Cape Fear Fair & Expo in New Hanover County, which has been around for 45 years (albeit originally under the name “New Hanover County Fair”).
His response? Fairs require a lot of organization, space, money and infrastructure. The N.C. Department of Agriculture also has a lot of requirements, rules and regulations for sanctioned fairs.
“People don’t realize what it really takes to start one,” he said. “Our facility itself, people don’t realize it but there’s $300,000 worth of water, sewer and electricity into the ground. You have to have the ability to fund the fair to start it off. But, in theory, if someone in Pender or Brunswick wanted to . . . an organization in that county could be formed and in theory they could have their own fair.”
Natalie Alford with the N.C. Department of Agriculture confirmed this. Requirements for sanctioned fairs can be viewed at www.NCAgFairs.org by clicking “Laws and Forms.”
Watkins also said most established carnival ride companies already have a full route, so it may be difficult to find a company to provide rides.
“It would be a tremendous undertaking,” he said, regarding starting a fair from scratch.
But it’s not impossible. Surprisingly, according to Alford, for the first time anyone can remember, three new fairs started this year in North Carolina, one in Fayetteville, one in Lillington and one in Madisson County.
Date posted: October 16, 2009
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