Carolina Classic Fair Enjoys Uptick in Attendance

Final Weekend Up 16 Percent Over Five-Year Average, Crisis Control Ministry Collected 50,000 Pounds of Food, a More Than 220% Increase Over 202

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (OCTOBER 11, 2022)—The numbers are in:  229,761 guests attended the Carolina Classic Fair—a substantial 26 percent increase over 2021.  The duration of this year’s fair was nine days instead of the planned 10 day run due to a weather-related closure on the first day.  In addition to an uptick in attendees, the Carolina Classic Fair also experienced an increase in the number of competitive entries, landing at 18,919 entries for 2022.

The final three-day weekend of the fair is frequently used as a key measurement of success.  This year’s final weekend attendance was 119,258, which equates to a 16 percent increase over the five-year average of 102,730 (excludes 2020 when the fair was not held).  The 2022 final weekend attendance is second-best since 2017, trailing only 2018 when the attendance was 123,102 and up significantly over 2021, which drew 77,490 attendees during the fair’s final weekend.

“Generally, the only thing that affects attendance is weather, and we experienced a whole day of bad weather and a resulting delayed opening day this year when the remnants of Hurricane Ian moved through our area,” Carolina Classic Fair Director Cheryle Hartley said. “As soon as the inclement weather cleared on opening weekend, fans returned to the fair in large numbers. We were thrilled to see attendance and competitive entries back up to pre-pandemic levels as people from all walks of life enjoyed their annual fair experience.”

This year’s fair featured new attractions, including Scales Tails & Teeth Alligator Wrestling, Cowboy Circus, ZuZu Tanzanite African Acrobats and Pre-Historic Dinosaur Adventures. In the Grandstand, C+C Music Factory, Rob Base, Restless Road and Rend Collective took the stage.  In addition to the headliners at the  Carolina Classic Fair, other Grandstand entertainment included popular returning shows such as the Demolition Derby, Double Figure 8 Racing, 5L Rodeo and the Old Time Tractor Pull.

The popular Appalachian Mountain Brewery Beer Garden returned to the Carolina Classic this year and featured a range of beverages from the Boone brewer. In addition to the company’s Lager, Boone Creek Blonde, Low and Hazy IPA, Hop Rain Drop and Long Leaf Pale Ale beers, guests to the Beer Garden enjoyed the newly branded Carolina Classic Fair Hard Cider.

This year’s community food booths featured mainstays that benefit charities, including the Greater Faith Missionary Baptist Church, Walkertown Girls Softball Association, City Lights Ministry, Friedland Moravian, The Gracen Foundation, How Is Your Heart Project, Grands To Grown, Rising Star Baptist Church, The Butterfly Project and EUA Cheer & Dance.

Many days featured special offers and free entry for school children, veterans, seniors and special education groups. To help Crisis Control Ministry, attendees donated at least five non-perishable food items to gain free admission to the fair. With the help of Crisis Control Ministry volunteers, more than 50,000 pounds of food were donated—a more than 220% increase over 2021.

Total merchandise sales came to more than $10,000 worth of goods. “It was the second year that you could get shirts, hats and more with the new fair logo, so people were able to take home a little piece of history,” Hartley added.  “We’re already working to prepare for another blockbuster Carolina Classic Fair September 29 through October 8, 2023, which will feature the 100th anniversary of rides and attractions from our long-time partner Strates Shows.”

About the Carolina Classic Fair

Celebrating its 140th year in 2022, the Carolina Classic Fair is 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 renowned musical entertainment, delicious food, and beverages, exhibits for livestock, poultry, fine arts and crafts, a world-class carnival with numerous rides and games, and many more activities. The Carolina Classic Fair at the time of opening day will follow all state and local health and safety protocols. For more information on the Carolina Classic Fair, please visit CarolinaClassicFair.com.

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