As we continue to live in unique times due to the pandemic, people are trying to reinvent their lives and activities to fit the new parameters of our way of living. The newly named Carolina Classic Fair had to do just that.
It wouldn’t seem like fall without local fairs and, as time went by, fairs were being canceled everywhere. States were opening up in phases which meant there was an opportunity to get creative to bring some of the fair season to the community and fairgoers. This year was even more important to do that since it was the debut of the newly named Carolina Classic Fair. The staff got to work, along with the steering committees to figure out how to make drive-thru food successful while incorporating aspects of the fair that would include their partners. Virtual entertainment and entries, a drive-thru ride, a drive-thru game, canned food drives and onsite music while you wait in your car were some ideas that were tossed around and developed. The most exciting one was the partnership with the onsite drive-in movie theatre that featured eight movies for family and friends to park and relax in the comfort of their vehicles. Of course, we can’t forget a favorite fair tradition; fireworks that concluded each night of the fair.
Guests still got to enjoy mouthwatering, fair favorites like:
Sirloin Tips McBrides Concessions – candy apples, cotton candy, ribbon fries, corn dogs, fresh lemonade
Chesters – gators and tators, fried gator/bacon mac & cheese
Shuckers – roasted corn, hickory tree turkey BBQ – turkey legs/crack and cheese, pork chop sandwiches, Italian and Polish sausages, funnel cakes, elephant ears, fried pie and tropical fresh fruit smoothies.
“The Carolina Classic Fair’s COVID-19-driven alternative, the drive-thru, drew more than 10,000 visitors during its four-day run and provided a welcome boost to the Salvation Army and Crisis Control Ministries heading into the holidays.
In all, more than 11,400 people attended the drive-thru,” said Cheryle Hartley, the fair director. “They purchased more than $160,000 worth of food, drinks and merchandise, contributed $2,175 in loose change to kick off the Salvation Army’s holiday kettle campaign and donated 6,475 pounds of canned food to stock the Crisis Control Ministry food pantry. We were excited at the community response to the drive-thru and happy to see the support that the attendees gave to the charities that partnered with us.”
The drive-thru success spilled over to The Drive, the drive-in movie venue operating on the fairgrounds midway. Two of the eight films shown during the four days of the drive-thru – “The Notebook” on October 2nd and “Moana” on October 3rd sold out. Those showings coincided with the evenings that offered a fireworks show.
Robert Mulhearn, fairgrounds facility manager said, “One particularly unique aspect was the fireworks, and movies were the icing on the cake, seeing hundreds of cars and families enjoy the fireworks is what it was all about. Overall, it was very successful. We tried some new things, and we expect other fairs across the country to model what the Carolina Classic Fair presented with the drive-thru.”
The Carolina Classic Fair would like to recognize and thank their full-time staff who were dedicated and worked hard throughout the four-day event. They also partnered with Crosby Scholars who provided volunteers to run food to the vehicles. Other sponsors of the Carolina Classic Fair included Crisis Control Ministry, WBFJ, Entercom Radio, Truist Bank, 1 800 RatPack and Forsyth Farm Bureau.
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