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'The money is not worth your life'| NC State Fair vendor takes big hit after cancellation but says it’s OK

For the first time in 20 years, Felicia Turrentine-Daniel of Chef's D'Lites, along with other vendors will not sell food at the state fair this year.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Fried foods, thrill rides, and loud music will have to wait until next year. The 2020 North Carolina State Fair is canceled. This is the latest in a long line of events to be canceled because of COVID-19. N.C. State Fair officials described their disappointment on Facebook. They said there's no way to keep everyone safe and socially distanced at the fair.

The state fair, full of rides and comfort food attracts hundreds of thousands of people to Raleigh every October. All those visitors bring thousands of dollars to vendors.

Felicia Turrentine-Daniel has been a vendor at the N.C. State Fair for the last 20 years. The Greensboro chef's booth called, Chef's D'Lites, attracts repeat customers, even some from out of state.

“For us, since we’re known for our deep fried everything, the biggest seller that we’re known for is our deep-fried mac and cheese," Turrentine-Daniel said. "But, every year we bring in something new. So, we’re known for what’s our new thing. Last year it was "The Chickenator."

Here's a look at "The Chickenator" she featured on The Good Morning Show last October:

Turrentine-Daniel said she's losing between $35,000-$40,000 from the cancellation. Despite knowing she won't get the money she was banking on, she believes safety and saving lives is more important. 

"I would rather be safe and alive and be able to celebrate the event another day versus sickly or not here anymore and then the event is completely gone," Turrentine-Daniel said. "The money is not worth your life.”

The North Carolina State Fair has happened almost every year since 1853. From 1861-1868, the N.C. State Fair was canceled due to the Civil War and Reconstruction. 

Credit: NCDNCR
NC State Fair: October 1853 | October 2016

In 1918, the fair was canceled due to World War I. In 1926 and 1927, there was no fair due to reorganization after the North Carolina Agricultural Society, the fair’s operating board at the time, was disbanded. The most recent cancellation was due to World War II from 1942-1945. It's gone on every year since then. 

Turrentine-Daniel says aside from the money, she's most disappointed to not see other vendors she's spent the last 20 years with. 

"For us, because where you are in the fairgrounds is your spot, you get your spot and that’s your spot for life. Everyone around us is fair family. We call ourselves the weird dysfunctional fair family,"Turrentine-Daniel said. 

The N.C. State Fair is already scheduled for next year: Oct. 14 through 24.. The Central Carolina Fair in Greensboro and The Carolina Classic Fair in Winston-Salem are also both canceled.

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