WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The first in-person Carolina Classic Fair is in the books. The rides are coming down after the fair came to a close Sunday night.
Organizers said while it wasn't the attendance they hoped for, everyone still had a great time.
"We were all glad to be back, we were glad to be putting people back to work, we were glad families brought their grandkids and grandparents, and were back to having a good time," Carolina Classic Fair Spokesperson Siobhan Olsen said. "It felt a lot more like normal."
Olsen said this year attendance was down by about 37% bringing in about 182,000 people.
"The biggest thing that affects attendance at the fair is weather and we had an entire week of rain," Olsen said.
Generally, the only thing that affects attendance is weather,” said Fair Director, Cheryle Hartley. “We had a heavy dose of rain this past week, so our overall attendance was down 37 percent from 2019. Interestingly, the four weekend days of the fair, when the weather was good, we were only 17 percent down, year-over-year, so weather was a major factor. We were just glad to put people back to work and to see families getting back together to enjoy the fair after a two year hiatus.”
She said the lower numbers are a burden and a blessing. With fewer people attending, it was easier for others to comply with safety protocols.
"Maybe that was a benefit for social distancing, there was more space everyone could move, and honestly being a little down isn't so bad, and next year we hope everyone will come out in force," Olsen said.
There were no issues when it came to mask-wearing and around 250 people attending got their COVID-19 vaccine.
That's not the only first the new beer garden was a smashing success.
"We sold about 6,000 beers which is amazing, so I think beer will definitely be back at the fair in the future," Olsen said.