HAMLET — “Cock-a-doodle-doo,” screeched the roosters as they walked around their cages, sizing up their competition before their judging Tuesday morning at the Richmond County Agricultural Fair.
“This is essentially what we have every time,” Lions Club member and Hamlet Mayor Bill Bayless said Monday as he looked around the barn where the bunnies, donkeys, cows, peacocks, turkeys, geese, ducks and quail are housed. “We always have a variety of chickens, and most of the goats are really friendly.”
On Monday, games, rides, food stands, animals and exhibit offerings were being dropped off and assembled in preparation for the fair’s opening Tuesday afternoon. Games and rides from last year will make an appearance again this year, such ase the Rapid Slide, Ferris wheel and a fun house, to name a few.
Lions Club treasurer Jerry Thomas said he had worked to organize the fair for 40 years — and it took a lot of work.
“My favorite part is when it’s all over,” he joked.
But he thanked advertisers, club members and those who came out to support the fair for making everything come together.
“All the profits go towards scholarships for the high schools and VIPs — visually impaired people,” Thomas said.
The fair is an annual fundraiser for the Hamlet Lions Club, which uses the proceeds to provide vision screenings and eyeglasses to the community. In the past, Thomas said, the club has raised money to send people to Camp Dogwood, a recreational facility on Lake Norman that provides activities for youth and adults who are blind or visually impaired.
As with almost any planned event — especially in Richmond County — rain is in the forecast for this week.
Which doesn’t surprise Bayless.
“On fair week, we always seem to have some rain,” he said.
Last year, organizers set up portable toilets on a cement slab so people wouldn’t have to stand up to their ankles in mud. And the Inners Shows workers, the company which provides the rides, moved the Rapid Slide onto higher ground to avoid the muddy area.
Bayless said the fair had no plans to work around the rain, so organizers hope for the best.
In addition to the rides and food options, live entertainment and activities are planned for throughout the week.
At the Goat Gallery at 6 p.m. Tuesday, attendees can watch a goat milking, learn how to clip goat hooves, see a demonstration of show goat skills and watch an informal goat show.
At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, local beekeepers will give a talk on their bee knowledge, and the Hamlet Leos will sponsor Bingo at 6 p.m.
Friday will boast a LEGO competition, with registration beginning at 5:30 p.m. and building starting at 6 p.m., and the crowning of the 2018 Mud Princess.
And Saturday, Dog Day at the Fair will begin at 4 p.m.
For live entertainment, groups from the Hamlet Senior Center, including the Delusional Divas, Silverliner Line Dancers, Hamlet Senior Choir and Eastern Traditional Dancers will perform Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Fortress from Glenwood United Methodist Church will perform.
Thursday will feature a performance by Stan and Linda Jacobs from Rockingham.
On Friday, DJ Epic Angel will make an appearance, and on Saturday, Rough Justus from Maxton will perform two shows, 3 and 7 p.m.
Exhibits — including canned goods, baked goods, sewing, photography, produce, plants, flowers and crafts — and animals will be judged Tuesday morning. Awards will be on display for attendees to view when the fair opens to the public.
Reach Jasmine Hager at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]