Winston-Salem, NC, October 8, 2018 — The 136TH year of the Dixie Classic Fair came to a close after 10 days of strong attendance between September 28 and October 7. The event lived up to its billing as “Your Beacon to Fun,” drawing 325,856 people in search of their favorite foods, rides and entertainment, an 8.58 percent increase over 2017.
“We did not experience a drop of rain this year, so 25,750 more people than last year made their way to the fairgrounds,” said Fair Director, David Sparks. “Strates Shows featured five new rides; Attractions included the Majestik Spectacular Motorcycle Stunt Show; Jerry Springer; concerts; rodeos; demolition derbies; many new foods; livestock, agricultural, craft and specialty food competitions; and even an engagement proposal in the livestock barn. We sold thousands more advanced tickets this year versus last year, so we opened the gates on the first day knowing it was going to be a great fair.”
Every day featured a way for families to save money on entry tickets and rides. New this year was the Dixie Classic Fair App that was downloaded by 4,140 fairgoers to look up information 92,638 times. For the first time, Beacon Technology delivered 285 money-saving coupons to cell phones as people browsed the fair, providing $10,585 savings on fair food, ride tickets and other prizes.
One of the busiest days was Crisis Control’s Food Day on Wednesday, October 3, when attendees brought 5 cans of food or unperishable items per person for free entry to the fair. “71,312 food items were donated on that day alone,” commented Sparks, “which will provide food for more than 2,500 people in Forsyth County over the next six months.”
The event’s opening and closing weekends featured the always-popular Demolition Derby, Figure 8 Racing, and a classic Rodeo. America’s Got Talent competitor Noah Guthrie, “Best Up-and-Comer” at CMA Fest MAMADEAR, Winston-Salem’s own Wafer Thin, and Christian music bands, Josh Wilson, 7eventh Time Down, Rhett Walker Band and OBB graced the Grandstand stage. Micro Champion Wrestling thrilled crowds with their pro wrestling moves and just the right touch of comedy. The Outlaw Truck & Tractor Pulling Association (OTTPA) showed off their high-octane intensity to a packed grandstand. Gospel Fest, sponsored by The Chronicle, featured the best gospel music on both Sundays of the fair.
The fair had 29,463 competitive entries in everything from baking and flower arranging to agriculture and livestock judging. In the 24th Annual Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition, judges evaluated 569 total wines from commercial and amateur winemakers with Laurel Gray Vineyard in Hamptonville, NC, taking “Best in Show” for their Cabernet Sauvignon (2014). This year marked the first year that fairgoers could buy and enjoy a glass of wine from those wineries participating in the daily tastings.
Another highlight of the 10 days was the celebration that fair employees and vendors staged for retiring Fair Director, David Sparks. Fair Director for 25 years and Assistant Fair Director for five years prior to becoming Fair Director. Under Sparks’ leadership, the fair grew into the second largest agricultural fair in North Carolina. Sparks managed more than $10.2 million in capital improvements to the buildings and infrastructure over the last 25 years. In 2003, he obtained Certified Fair Executive Status from the International Association of Agricultural Fairs, which allowed the fair to significantly grow facility bookings and attendance.
Fair dates for 2019 are October 4 through October 13.
Owned and operated by the City of Winston-Salem after being donated to the City by the Winston-Salem Foundation in 1969, the 10-day annual Fair features nationally known musical entertainment, delicious food and beverages, exhibits for livestock, poultry, fine arts and crafts, a world-class carnival with numerous rides and games among many more activities. For more information on the Dixie Classic Fair, visit www.DCFair.com.
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