Opening Day welcomed 16,805 attendees, largest number since 2013;
100 Years of Strates Shows Celebrated
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (OCTOBER 10, 2023)—The numbers are in: 270,190 guests attended the Carolina Classic Fair—including 16,805 attendees on Friday, September 29, the largest opening day since 2013. Overall attendance was up 18% over 2022’s Carolina Classic Fair, which had a total attendance of 229,761. In addition to an uptick in attendees, the Carolina Classic Fair also experienced an increase in the number of competitive entries, which includes everything from livestock and produce to canned food items, flowers and arts & crafts. The fair received more than 400 competitive entries versus 2022, landing at 19,325 entries for the 2023 Carolina Classic Fair.
“Generally, the major factor that affects attendance is weather, and we were so fortunate this year to enjoy a full ten days of gorgeous fall weather at the fair,” Carolina Classic Fair Director Cheryle Hartley said. “After having to cancel a day of our schedule last year due to Hurricane Ian, we were thrilled that this year was such a different story. Attendance and competitive entry numbers were both very strong this year, which we were of course very pleased to see. We had a wonderful run this year and loved seeing fairgoers both old and new come through the gates to enjoy Magic in the Fair.”
This year’s fair featured new attractions, including Show Me Swine Racing Pigs, Magic Man TJ Hill and Extreme Illusions. In the Grandstand, Dazz Band with Family Stone, Chase Matthew featuring Dylan Marlowe and Landon Parker and Shane & Shane with special guests Jeremy Rosado and Seph Schlueter took the stage. In addition to these headliners, other Grandstand entertainment included popular returning shows such as the Demolition Derby, Figure 8 Racing, 5L Rodeo and the Old Time Tractor Pull.
This year’s community food booths featured mainstays that benefit charities, including the Greater Faith Missionary Baptist Church, Walkertown Girls Softball Association, Friedland Moravian, How Is Your Heart Project, Grands to Grown, Rising Star Baptist Church, The Butterfly Project and Old Hickory Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Many days featured special offers and free entry for school children, veterans, seniors and special education groups. Deer Park Natural Spring Water sponsored School Day on Monday, October 2, with three school supplies equaling free admission. Over 10,000 school supply items were collected for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools during that drive.
To help Crisis Control Ministry, attendees donated at least five non-perishable food items to gain free admission to the fair on Wednesday, October 4. With the help of Crisis Control Ministry volunteers, more than 36,000 pounds of food were donated.
“We enjoyed celebrating the 100th anniversary of our Midway provider, Strates Shows, this year with several members of the Strates family on hand for the event marking this milestone,” Hartley added. “We’re already working to prepare for another blockbuster Carolina Classic Fair October 4 through 13, 2024, which will mark an incredible 60-year partnership between Strates Shows and the Carolina Classic Fair. Next year’s fair will be here before we know it!”
About the Carolina Classic Fair
Celebrating its 141st year in 2023, 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.