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Avery County Agricultural and Horticultural Fair: Food, Fun, Festivities Continue All Week

By Jessica Isaacs | jessica@highcountrypress.com

Photos by Ken Ketchie

Head to Newland for some good ol’ fashion family fun as the Avery Agricultural and Horticultural Fair rolls into town. This five-day event brings all the nostalgia of a classic country fair, reminding us to leave the busy world behind for a few days and pencil in a little playtime.

Heritage Park, located at 661 Vale Road in Newland, will play host to the festivities Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 6-10.

“Avery A&H Fair is a family-oriented mountain fair known for friendliness and preservation of the mountain heritage that has long been a part of the High Country,” the event’s Facebook page reads.

Gates will open by 5 p.m. and rides at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Gates will open at 10 a.m. and rides at noon on Saturday, with rides closing at 5 p.m. and gates closing an hour later.

Gate fees are $5 per person (free for children ages 5 and under) and ride bracelet fees will be posted at the fair grounds.

“The Avery A&H Fair is a bonafide NCDA fair and it’s put on by a group of volunteers that come together and work together,” said Jerry Moody, Avery County’s extension director. “The extension office helps out. We provide support and other forms of resources to help them pull it off.”

The nonprofit fair raises funds that are used to provide scholarships for local students, and provides something for everyone to enjoy.

“There’s a lot of different things for a lot of different people. We have the beauty pageant for the kids, so I think a lot of the grandparents enjoy that. We also have school days, where we invite all the schools from Avery County to come and we provide them educational programs,” said Moody. “They go through five different stations where they learn about different aspects of agriculture and cultural heritage. This year, we’re doing farm safety, how the skeleton in the horse works and they’re able to walk through livestock pens and get up close with the farm animals.”

Rides, exhibits, demonstrations and competitions galore ensure there’s plenty to see and do at the fair.

“We have a lot of different exhibits. A lot of people like to come in and see what so and so grew, how big the pumpkins were this year and things of that nature. There’s a lot of different things that make a lot of different people happy,” Moody said. “It’s a chance for us to show off the agricultural community and give them the opportunity to see what’s being grown and handled in this county.”

Local folks will take the stage to provide “open mic” entertainment throughout the festivities

Farm and home competitions will give you a look at what many of the local farmers and craftsmen have been  up to this season.

“The competition is open to anybody. They can bring their stuff out and participate and, you know, we judge just about anything. We have photographs, canned foods, cut flowers, baked goods, vegetables and fruits,” said Moody. “The largest vegetables in all sorts of different categories, lots of paintings and things of that nature, woodworking, crocheting, knitting sewing — you name it.”

Farm and home entries can be delivered to Heritage Park on the following dates:

  • All entries except cut flowers and culinary perishables:
    • Friday, Sept. 2 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Saturday, Sept. 3 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Sunday, Sept. 4 from 1-6 p.m.
  • All entries including cut flowers except culinary perishables:
    • Monday, Sept. 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Culinary perishables:
    • Tuesday, Sept. 6 from 8-9 am.

All farm and home entries must be picked back up between 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11.

“We’ve been doing this fair for quite some time now, and we do it so we can raise money to offer scholarships to kids. We’ve been doing the scholarships since 1993,” said Moody. “We’re not a major money maker, but it’s an opportunity for us to do a couple of things and show off the cultural history of the county and the agricultural history. I think it’s a good fit for our county.”

If you’re looking for a way to get involved in the community, volunteering at the fair is a great way to get connected.

“It takes a lot of preparation and a lot of work to pull this thing off. We can always use volunteers, because there’s always more work to be done than we have time or people for, so anyone that wants to come out and help… that’s great,” Moody said. “We hope we can continue providing this type of entertainment and fun for the citizens of Avery County.”

For more information on the schedule of events or to volunteer your time, contact the Extension Office at 828-733-8270 or the fair coordinators at 828-387-6870.

Follow the Avery A&H Fair on Facebook for updates. See you at the fairgrounds!