The Macon County Fair will be held at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center, Sept. 11- 15 for the 60th year. This year's theme will be the Diamond Jubilee.
The fair has marked many Maconian's lives over the years, making an impact on those who look forward to it each fall. From the livestock barns to the cultural exhibits located inside, the fair has exceeded expectations year in and year out for people who come to the fairgrounds looking to see what could be the last North Carolina fair that is entirely agriculturally based.
“I can't confirm whether it is the only agriculturally based fair but I can say that it is at least one of the few left,” said Alan Durden, director of the Cooperative Extension in Macon County. “Ours revolves completely around agriculture and crafts.”
Other fairs throughout North Carolina often include a midway area where visitors may play games. They are typically used as a way to make a profit for the operation.
“The great thing about our fair and the people who visit it is that you never hear anybody complain about us not having a midway,” said Durden. “People just come out and enjoy themselves by looking at the exhibits, the livestock, and socializing with the other people that have come out to see what's going on.”
According to Durden this year's fair will begin with an opening ceremony at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
“Here, there is usually someone honored. Attendees can learn about the history of the fair and other bits of information. It's a really informative ceremony and people get a lot out of coming to it,” he said.
Once again there will be livestock shows—cattle, sheep, goats, hogs and poultry. People can enter arts and crafts into the fair for judging, along with homegrown fruits and vegetables.
“People—kids and adults alike—just love entering things that they have made or grown into the fair to be judged. It helps them feel like they are a part of everything that is going on,” said Durden. “You can see their faces light up when they are looking at something that they have made. Whatever you do, crafts, paintings, photographs, etc, there will be a place for it in the fair.
If you can fruits or vegetables, you can bring it out and have it judged. People used to can and they'd enter it into the fair as a way to see what their neighbors were doing and to get tips. ”
A familiar face, David Dillard who served on the fair board for ten years will be missed this year.
He passed away six months ago from a terminal illness. He was passionate about the role the fair played in the community said his sister Annie Estes.
“Children were his number one priority,” said Estes. “As long as the kids could learn about farm animals then he was happy.”
Just two years ago, Dillard was presented with an award commemorating his hard work and dedication to the fair over the years. Like the way he impacted the Cowee Community, where he was from, he also impacted the Macon County Fair.
“If there was any sort of need that he could help address then he would, be it financial or with his guidance,” she said. “He was also very involved with the Wayne Proffitt Memorial Scholarship.”
Estes and Dillard shared the same birthday which also happened to fall in the middle of the fair every fall so that makes it all feel even more special to her.
“The fair is a way that I remember him. I won't be able to go to it this year because I miss him so much it will just be too sad, but hopefully next year I can go and be happy because I'll be thinking of him,” said Estes.
On September 28 at South Macon Elementary School there will be a car show and games to benefit the David Dillard Memorial Scholarship fund.
Anybody who may be interested in entering an exhibit in the fair still has time to do so. All exhibits must be entered by 9 p.m. on Tuesday and the fair will officially open next Wednesday at 1 p.m with the opening ceremony.