NC State Fair opening postponed a day because of Hurricane Michael concerns

Thursday, October 11, 2018
State Fair delayed by a day
State Fair delayed by a day because of weather concerns.

RALEIGH, N .C. (WTVD) -- State Fair officials announced Wednesday afternoon that for the first time, the opening of the State Fair will be postponed.

The fair will not open Thursday as originally planned because of concerns about Hurricane Michael, which is expected to bring heavy rain and strong wind. The Fair will instead open Friday at 10 a.m.

"We did not come to this decision lightly. In fact, to our knowledge, we've never delayed our opening day due to weather conditions. Most importantly, we must consider our vendors, exhibitors and of course fairgoers in any decision made about gate closures," State Fair manager Kent Yelverton said.

Yelverton said that one of the factors in the decision was that even if the weather isn't so bad in Raleigh, it might be bad in other places where people could be coming from to get to the Fair.

"We feel with this being the first day, it is a shorter, it is our lowest attendance day," Yelverton said. "We feel that with the weather forecast beyond the storm passing is beautiful, it's going to turn a little bit cooler so we look forward to inviting and having all those fairgoers alter their plans and come a different day.

"First by making the decision today, we feel like we make this decision easier for those that are impacted by those working here as well as those who would be visiting," he added.

Vendors were busy preparing for the storm Wednesday and for the new opening date.

"Well, we're taking down some of our signs, and some of the things that we're afraid could come loose, and we're just trying to put weatherproofing over all of our outdoor stuff," said Whitney Bennett, of Hot Chix Hotcakes and Chicken, an Apex food truck.

Bennett said the weekend is more important than opening day.

"The first day is always not the most attended, so if any day is a no go, we'd rather it be the first day than say Saturday or Sunday or say the last weekend which is usually the biggest," Bennett said. "I still think it's going to be a great fair because we're going to have great weather after the storm rolls through so people are going to get out."

Inspectors were out earlier Wednesday checking out rides. They were making sure the structure was sound, there wasn't any broken steel, there was good connectivity for the power-lines, and seat latches were working properly.

There are about a hundred rides this year.

Officials are monitoring how Michael will impact the annual event.

ABC11 was told that during Hurricane Florence, seats on the State Fair Flyer were removed. That ride connects folks from one side of the fairgrounds to the other.

If a ride comes down, it will have to be reinspected before it can open to the public.