Rockingham County Fair Completes A Week Unlike Any Other

That’s A Wrap
Rockingham County Fair Completes A Week Unlike Any Other
By JESSICA WETZLER
Daily News-Record  8/24/20
 
The barns are empty and food booths closed for business as the Rockingham County Fair wrapped up another successful year, despite challenges of operating during a pandemic.
“The agriculture fair we had truly went back to our roots,” said Rebecca Holloway, fair general manager. Throughout the week, the heart of Rockingham County was on full display as more than 200 4-H and FFA exhibitors competed in various livestock market shows, and with checkbooks in hand, community members showed their support by purchasing 541 animals during Friday’s livestock sale.
Even Saturday’s rainy weather couldn’t put a damper on the fair’s final event — the tractor pull.
And when all was said and done, Holloway closed another chapter in the fair’s history book, leaving many longtime fair volunteers and board members grateful for her hard work.
“Rebecca worked so hard to pull this together,” said Vice President Keith Sheets. “With all the limitations we had to work under, our main goal was to have the livestock shows and sale, and all things considered, it went really well.”
Being pleased with how the week went, Fair President Ron Williams said, “Without a doubt, the hiring of Rebecca was a tremendous accomplishment.”
“To accomplish what we accomplished is a direct result of Rebecca,” he said.
But for Holloway, it was the support from the community that helped to make the fair as successful as it was.
With their being no admission fee for the fair this year, several mini fundraisers were held to bring in some revenue, such as a T-shirt fundraiser and barbecue sale.
Holloway said 100 T-shirts were created, with each one selling for $15 or two for $25. By Saturday only a few T-shirts were left.
At each gate entrance, volunteers collected donations to go toward the fair and on Wednesday and Friday, pork and chicken barbecue were sold to hungry fair attendees.
“We knew [the fair] wouldn’t be profitable,” Holloway said. “But it was nice to have that community support.”
As far as attendance goes, Holloway said from Monday through Friday the fair saw less then 5,000 people — a sliver of the roughly 80,000 people who attended the fair last year.
While changes had to be made to accommodate for a pandemic-era fair, there were some new additions that could be seen in the future.
“The antique tractor parade was the biggest hit we had,” Holloway said, adding that fair staff would look into making it happen again next year. “And the antique tractor display we will have to keep.”
Other new features to be continued include livestreaming the livestock shows and having the option of an online sale for livestock available.
Holloway said on Saturday that she was relieved everything was able to work and thanked the volunteers who stayed to help, the food booth operators, sponsors and supporters who made the fair happen.