SNOW HILL – Worcester County Recreation and Parks will be taking a lead role in hosting the Worcester County Fair in 2024.
After several years at Byrd Park in Snow Hill, the 2024 Worcester County Fair is expected to take place Aug. 8-11 at John Walter Smith Park. The change in date and location comes as the county’s recreation and parks team takes a leadership role in producing the annual event.
“We really want to put on fair that our citizens are proud of and are excited to attend and showcase the agriculture that Worcester County has to offer,” said Kelly Rados, the county’s director of recreation and parks.
While the idea of the county taking a more active role in the Worcester County Fair has been discussed for some time, Rados and other recreation and parks staff met with the Worcester County Fair Board last week to finalize plans. They agreed that Rados and her department would not only get more involved with the event but would take on the leadership responsibilities.
“The current fair board would then serve in more of an advisory capacity,” Rados said.
She added that fair board officials are excited about having her department’s support and assistance for the event, as it’s been in need of funding, staffing and sponsorship help for some time. The recreation and parks department already puts on several successful events, including Harbor Day at the Docks, Track or Treat and various softball tournaments.
“Our Recreation & Parks Department has experience and good track record with our Special Events and Tournaments that we currently put on,” she said. “While we know how to run events, we agree that we don’t know all the ‘ins and outs’ of running a Fair. This is where the current Fair Board would come in. We have had meetings with 4H, FFA, and extension office as well and currently have their full support. We plan to continue to include these groups and are open to other groups/organizations that want to get involved. We’ll do an overall rebranding of the event, while keeping the integrity of a county fair in place.”
She said the plan was to move the fair from its recent location to John Walter Smith Park, as that is adjacent to the Worcester County Recreation Center.
“This would give us an indoor component that the fair has not had in years past,” she said. “The fields and park will allow for a better layout, parking, and room to grow in the future.”
The fair will also move from its usual September dates to Aug. 8-11, which is the weekend after Blessing of the Combines.
“The idea is to create an ‘Agricultural Week’ in Worcester County, beginning with the Blessing of the Combines and ending with the County Fair,” Rados said. “We’ll be working closely with our tourism department on this.”
She said members of her team are already working on ideas for ways to increase interest in and attendance to the fair. She pointed out that the plan to increase the involvement of county staff also had the support of the Worcester County Commissioners.
“We have the commissioners’ support and trust in turning the fair around and making it a great event,” she said. “We will be building this into our special events budget to allow for more funding, and will increase the sponsorship opportunities as well.”
Going forward, the event will feature more vendors, food options, entertainment, family activities and educational components.
“These additions, along with increased marketing efforts, will help bring more attendance,” she said.