Customers, vendors react to large crowds for fair food at State Fairgrounds in Raleigh

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Despite the North Carolina State Fair being canceled this year, large crowds could still be spotted at the fairgrounds this weekend.

A fair food event is taking place there daily from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. through October 25.

Fair officials said they don’t have a way to estimate exactly how many people have come to the event so far, but CBS 17 spotted hundreds on Sunday.

“There was a lot more than we were expecting,” said Eric Wood who lives in Raleigh.

The event goes for 11 days. More than 20 vendors are there selling fair food staples, from funnel cake to turkey legs.

The event is supposed to be take-out only with no gathering allowed.

“We waited in a really long line,” said Michelle Vanvklayder, who lives in Raleigh.

Social distancing and face coverings are required. Most people CBS 17 saw were wearing masks but not everyone.

“It’s definitely mixed,” said Vanvklayder. “All the vendors were wearing masks, but there was a mixed crowd of people wearing masks versus not wearing masks.”

Jodey Conklin is one of the vendors. As a business relying on fairs and festivals, this year’s been tough, Conklin said.

“Unfortunately, with this whole pandemic we were slowed down in March and we were basically taken out of business due to all the fairs and festivals closing down across the country,” said Conklin.

He said he felt safe being at this event.

“We do and I mean we’ve been doing it since May and everyone in our family’s been tested a couple times and we have no issues,” said Conklin.

They have social distancing markers and sanitizer in place.

“Everyone’s done a great job with it,” said Conklin.

Under Phase three, large outdoor facilities with a capacity of more than 10,000 guests can reopen at 7% of their seating capacity.

A fair spokesperson said they don’t see reaching a capacity at the fairgrounds where social distancing can’t be maintained.

However, CBS 17 spotted instances showing otherwise.

Some attendees said all you can do is keep your distance and follow the rules.

“It’s a tough time, but you can’t stop living either but you got to be safe. You really got to be safe,” said Kenneth Everett, who lives in Zebulon.

The fair released the following statement:

“It’s been a beautiful weekend. It would have been the best State Fair weather. With that, there are many people ready to get out of the house and move around. The State Fairgrounds has provided extra space for social distancing between food booths, we have placed additional handwashing stations in the area and vendors are providing hand sanitizer near their points of sale. This is a take home event and we continue to encourage attendees to take their food home with them after it is purchased, wear their masks and maintain adequate distancing from others.”

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