RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Thousands of people have been heading to the North Carolina State Fair since it opened last week, but the impact from Hurricane Matthew on the state is still evident.
Officials have been pleasantly surprised with attendance through the first five days of the fair.
Attendance at the fair’s first two days was a little low compared to 2015, but Sunday’s attendance was up.
- Oct. 13 – 40,449 (50,327 in 2015, a record)
- Oct. 14 – 78,364 (90,954 in 2015)
- Oct. 15 – 119,117 (126,666 in 2015)
- Oct. 16 – 109,429 (97,906 in 2015)
- Oct. 17 – 75,243 (63,989 in 2015)
However at the Century Farm Reuinion Tuesday, flooding was the biggest talk amongst farmers.
Hundreds who own hundred-year-old farms packed into Dorton Arena for an event dedicated to their hard work.
While some weren’t able to make the trip due to devastating flooding from Hurricane Matthew, those that were there spoke about the impact.
Amos McLamb of Clean Run Farms said for farmers the last couple weeks have been hell.
“Hell! Farmers could not get to their hogs. They couldn’t get to their chicken farms or turkey farms. Roads were washed out. There were over 40 roads washed out in Sampson County,” McLamb said.
McLamb grows long leaf pine trees and raises red angus cattle at the Sampson County farm.
The winds and rain from Matthew ravaged his farms.
“I’ve lost a tremendous number of long leaf pines, so that’s going to cut my pine straw production way down. So I won’t be able to recoup that lost income, ever,” he said.
His cattle farm is two miles from his home, but because so many roads were washed out, McLamb had to drive a 15 mile detour to get there – multiple times a day.
He suffered a loss there too.
“One cow had laid down to deliver a calf, and a tree fell on her and killed her. That was kind of sad,” McLamb said.
On top of that, McLamb said tons of hay was swept away and he’s delayed planting another crop.
Word about this kind of devastation has spread across the fairgrounds.
In the “Got To Be NC Agriculture” tent, one vendor is doing what they can to help out.
“We started selling little sample bottles for $2 and that $2 was going towards the Red Cross,” said Stephanie Anderson of Luther’s Legacy BBQ sauce. “And we sold out of those before the second day was over.”
Anderson said $1 from every bottle will be going to the Red Cross.
Here’s another way you can help flood victims here at the fair.
Thursday is Hunger Relief Day.
Every year, the fair partners with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina to collect canned goods on the second Thursday of the fair.
Organizers are stressing the importance of contributions now more than ever.