Five County Fair moves forward as Hurricane Ian approaches

Published 5:02 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2022

FARMVILLE – What impact will Hurricane Ian have on the Five County Fair? On Wednesday, the storm made landfall in Florida, bringing 155 mph winds and heavy rain. As the remnants of the storm are expected to reach Prince Edward County and the surrounding area Friday night, several events have been rescheduled or just canceled.

The Five County Fair, however, isn’t one of those. Residents had reached out to The Herald throughout the week, asking what plans were for the event, which has been going on since Tuesday. Even though Hurricane Ian will be more of a rain storm by the time he makes his way up from Florida, there was concern the storm could affect the fair as most of it is outside. 

According to Auburn Estes, general manager of the fair, there are no current plans to cancel or shut down. There are unfortunately no rain dates as the carnival and other vendors are scheduled to move on to a new location, so the fair will do its best to remain open for as many people to enjoy it while it’s here.

“We’ll do our best and weather through,” he said.

Plans for this year’s Five County Fair 

According to Estes, usually, the wind isn’t much of a problem. The issue is just the heavy rain. With the exhibits and other activities taking place inside tents and other coverings, the fair can still push through the storm as long as folks are willing to get a little wet. 

“Weather is something you can’t control,” he said.  “I’ve been through storms like this many years. Many years ago in my first nine years, seven times we had a hurricane come.”

Now if the weather does get too bad, the fair will close if needed. Folks can look for the announcement on The Herald’s Facebook page and website if the decision occurs. But for now, residents of the five counties can pack their umbrellas, raincoats and boots to enjoy a weekend at the fair. 

What about the rides?

That doesn’t mean everything at the fair will be operational. If you bought a ticket for any of the rides at the Five County Fair, you have to go tonight for it to be honored. Because of Hurricane Ian, fair officials said they’re shutting rides down after Thursday’s events.

“With much sadness, tonight will be the last night of rides at the Five County Fair due to predicted weather tomorrow and Saturday,” fair officials said in a statement.

To be clear, all other indoor events will proceed as scheduled for Friday and Saturday, unless other problems arise. Fair officials said if anyone bought tickets online for Friday or Saturday, they can show up tonight and the tickets will be honored.

This will be updated as the storm gets closer. As it stands, tonight’s edition of the fair opened at 3 p.m., with the Midway starting at 4 p.m. Friday’s edition of the fair opens at 5 p.m., with the Midway starting up at 6 p.m. There will be a dairy show at 6 p.m. in the Varner Building and magic shows on the grounds. Plus, there are livestock shows, exhibits, carnival rides and carnival food. The cost to attend is $8 for adults and $3 for children. 

A successful opening

Every year, the fair welcomes residents of Appomattox, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland and Prince Edward counties. And nothing changed this time around either. 

Despite the looming bad weather, the Five County Fair has had a successful start this week with a great turnout. According to Estes, the cattle show on the night of Sept. 27 had the best turnout the fair had seen in years.  

“We’re prepared to have a super year if the weather cooperates,” said Estes. 

The fair is scheduled to run through Saturday, Oct. 1 at 209 Fairgrounds Road in Farmville. There will be games and rides for all ages, professional wrestling from The Bruiser Wrestling Federation, multiple magic shows and a number of livestock shows and exhibits. Fairgoers can also catch the Five County Fair Beauty Pageants. 

Editor’s note: A number of events throughout the region are being rescheduled or canceled due to the storm. You can read about them by clicking here