The 12-day run from the Salem Fair to the Taliaferro Complex ended Sunday evening with a vibrant sunset, dry skies and a sigh of relief.
“When you consider everything that goes into planning an event of this magnitude, you should always be grateful for the good times and celebrate the successes,” says Carey Harveycutter, director of Salem Fair. “The rain was definitely not our friend this year, but we still saw a lot of smiling faces halfway through.”
This year marked the first time in the Salem Fair’s 34-year history that rain had a significant impact on both Saturday nights of the schedule. Lightning delays the first weekend and dripping hose-type rain the last Saturday weren’t ideal. In total, the past week has seen a significant threat of rainfall each day after July 4th.
“It was disappointing, but Fair Play fans are resilient and loyal,” said Wendy Delano, Salem Civic Facilities Manager. “When the gates opened for the last day of the fair, people stood in the rain, eager to get on the rides, and we had huge crowds as the day progressed and the skies cleared up. .”
Overall, fair officials say they are happy with attendance and revenue from rides and concessions given the weather impact, the lingering effects of the pandemic and the recent spike in the daily cost of living for all families. Salem police chiefs also say they have not experienced any major incidents at the fairgrounds this year.
“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for what seems like my entire life, and it will take us many years to figure out what the new normal will be,” says Harveycutter. “However, the Deggeller Attractions family and all of us who have been doing this for many years agree that a rainy fair is always much better than no fair at all.”
Thanks to the generosity of visitors and the promotional efforts of members of the area media, several local non-profit organizations benefited from the Salem Fair in 2022. A record 3,715 pounds of food were donated at the Salem-Roanoke County Food Pantry and Roanoke Rescue Mission and Ms. Dorsey’s clothes closet received 2,400 pairs of socks from customers. Additionally, NW Ace Hardware Stores will honor an as-yet-unnamed nonprofit with a donation based on advance sales of Megapass Unlimited Ride tickets.
The Blue-Ribbon exhibit section moved from the Salem Civic Center Community Hall to the arena floor and the change of location was an instant hit with visitors. Exhibitors presented 1,148 items in a variety of competitive categories, ranging from cake decorating to photography.