The Salem Fair has officially opened for its 30th year, and organizers say it could be another record-breaking season.
The fair has been a summertime favorite for families across Southwest and Central Virginia.
“It’s the first day of the fair, it’s a lovely experience, and I try to bring them every year,” said Kindra Nichols.
It’s a tradition that comes full circle for many families. For Nichols, it’s a flashback to her childhood. Now she attends with her kids.
“I’m here to have fun,” said her daughter Kristiana Jennings.
It’s also a tradition for the Keller family.
“We entered some of the plants, herbs and desserts,” said Priscilla Keller.
Keller and her family have been competing in the exhibits for years.
“Three of my children entered exhibits, and I did, too, so we always like to see how we did,” said Rachel Keller, Priscilla’s mom.
According to organizers, Wednesday was a strong opening day, with crowds lined up waiting to get in.
Last year, a record 350,000 people turned out, according to officials, and this year’s total attendance could meet or break that record.
“We had long lines when we opened the gates at 4:00,” said Carey Harveycutter, Salem tourism director. “We went parking into our field [at] about 5:15, which is a very good sign.”
With some visitors from out of state, the fair brings a $12-13 million impact to the city each year, Harveycutter said.
“The carnival has 300 employees they bring with them,” he explained. “They go to shopping at Kroger, get fuel at the Sheetz, they replace tires.”
The Salem Fair continues through July 9.
Wednesday was WFXR Day at the fair. WFXR News is a proud media sponsor of the Salem Fair.