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Fair off to a great start
Weather helps break record opening day
Fair WEB 1
Caroline Blair, left, and Peyton Jones enjoy a ride together Thursday during the opening day of the Cumming Country Fair & Festival. The annual event runs through Oct. 14. - photo by Autumn Vetter

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For complete information about the Cumming Country Fair & Festival, visit

As predicted, sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted the first guests to this year’s Cumming Country Fair & Festival.

The pleasant weather lead to record attendance for Thursday’s opening, said Donna Cruse, fairgrounds administrative assistant.

She said Thursday’s attendance reached 12,270, topping the previous record of 12,150 for an opening night.

“With the weather we had, it was awesome,” Cruse said. “It looks great for [this] week too. It’s going to be cooler, but hey, that’s fair weather.”

Rides and food seemed to beckon many of the first fair-goers.

“We’re here with mom, who’s a vendor,” said Brian Dove who brought his 4-year-old son, Baxter. “She’s here working today, but other than that, you can’t do without a turkey leg.

“And the ribbon fries were pretty good too. It’s definitely food first, but we’ll get around to some rides too.”

The James H. Drew Exposition returned to the fair this year, bringing more than 40 rides for children and adults, as well as numerous carnival games.

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said one of his favorites is the midway’s large Ferris wheel, which this year has a new location.

Typically set up near the fairgrounds’ office, this year it’s on a hilltop next to the covered arena.

“The last time we had it up there, when you rode it, from the top seat you could see Lake Lanier,” he said.

The colorful sky buckets that stretch the length of the grounds are also a favorite of the mayor, who visits the fair every night of its run to greet old and new friends.

“After dark, I like to get on the sky lift and look at everything,” he said.

Besides the rides, the food is one of the most popular attractions for many.

That’s good for members of the Forsyth County Lions Club, which has had a food booth at the festival since it began 18 years ago.

Tony DiCarlo, events chairman, said a large portion of the club’s yearly $20,000 budget is raised during the festival.

“It’s our largest fundraiser of the year,” he said.

DiCarlo noted that the group sells about 130 hamburgers, nearly 200 hot dogs and about 10 pounds of barbecue each night of the festival.

“It’s a lot of food,” he said.

The fair opens at 12:30 p.m. today. Admission is free for senior citizens age 55 and up. There will also be a two-for-one ride offer from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

On Monday, students under 18 will receive free admission. There is also a $15 unlimited ride special.

Confederate Railroad and the Kentucky Headhunters will be in concert at 7 and 8:30 p.m., respectively, Tuesday night.

Marvel Avengers characters Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk will perform at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and returning favorite, The Charlie Daniels Band, takes the stage at 8 p.m. Thursday.

The week concludes with a couple of big events: Football Friday Night, where anyone with a ticket stub from any Forsyth County high school football game gets free admission after 9 p.m.; and the American Bullriders Tour at 8 p.m. Oct. 13 and 6 p.m. Oct. 14.