Friday afternoon at the Richmond County Agricultural Fair in Hamlet, some folks finally got their chance to visit after a long work week.
Cayce Holmes of Hamlet brought her children to the fair after days of driving by.
“We live close by, so we pass it every day,” said Holmes. “So it’s always, ‘When are we going? When are we going?’”
Her children, Cameron Holmes, 3, and Carma Rae Pressley, 6, were exiting the brightly colored train ride. Cameron Holmes said he enjoyed pretending to drive the train while Pressley looked forward to cotton candy.
“I like taking pictures of them on rides,” said Holmes.
While for some the fair only happens once a year, for others it seems to go on all their life.
Carol Fulton of Sanford passed out arm bands for kids who bought tickets to rides. Her brother Ronnie Turner owned the merry-go-round. Fulton said Turner and a second brother work construction during the week and take rides to fairs on their time off.
“My dad had a carnival when we were growing up,” said Fulton. “So we grew up in the business. My dad died when I was only 10. My mom had to sell dad’s outfit and my brothers are buying it back now. Working the fair gets in your blood. It’s really all about the kids.”
Fulton is no stranger to Richmond County’s fair.
“This is our fourth year here,” said Fulton. “We just had the Lee Regional Fair, which is way larger than this one. Tuesday night this got rained out but Thursday night was pretty good.”
In the livestock barn, 14-month-old Aubrey Brown looked at chickens from her father’s arms. Robert Brown and his wife Heidi are from Hamlet, and Friday was their first time at the fair.
“She liked the little chicks,” said Brown about Aubrey’s favorite animal in the barn. “She really smiled at that. We may go on some rides.”
“This is our first time and we liked it,” said Heidi Brown.
Hamlet Lion Jerry Thomas worked the ticket booth, but he said he has served in many roles over the years. He is past district governor for the Lions Club.
“People don’t know this but all of the money we get here goes to pay bills from the fair, then goes into a Good Works account,” said Thomas. “That account helps with scholarships we give out each year at the high school, it goes to support local sports, we get glasses for the needy and sometimes we buy medication for the needy. But all the money stays here.”
Thomas has been a Lion for 34 years. He said his wife, son and daughter are all Lions as well.
Saturday will be the last day of the Richmond County Agricultural Fair.
An information booth will be available to veterans who wish to enroll in the VA health care system, receive health information, and find out about various services available to them through the Veterans Health Administration. Representatives of the Fayetteville VA Medical Center will be at the fairgrounds on Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m.
Members the Fayetteville VAMC Rural Health Team will be on hand to discuss resources available to veterans. An eligibility and enrollment specialist will be on hand to discuss VA health benefits and accept veterans’ enrollments on site. Information on mental health and women’s health services will also be available.
Anyone who served in the U.S. military is invited to attend the event. Veterans are highly encouraged to bring a copy of their DD Form 214 (discharge paperwork) and last year’s financial information to expedite enrollment in the system.
For more information, contact Fayetteville Veterans Medical Center Public Affairs Officer, Robin DeMark, at 910-488-2120, ext. 5991.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.