The N.C. State Fair is the premier family event in North Carolina. Approximately 60,000 children attended last year, of whom about 10,000 were under the age of 6.
With nearly 1 million patrons and countless small children coming through the gates each year, safety is of the utmost importance. That’s why the Department of Agriculture coordinates with both local and state law enforcement. On the busiest days, there are nearly 100 state troopers monitoring the perimeter while guiding traffic and patrons around the fair.
Inside the gates, there are as many as 200 officers, some in uniform and some undercover, protecting families while they enjoy the rides, food and games. These law enforcement officers are responsible for patrolling the roughly 100 acres that comprise the fairgrounds. That breaks down to about two officers covering an area less than the size of a football field.
The N.C. State Fair has been a family-oriented event for more than a century. It showcases the best of North Carolina. It’s an event where you can take your loved ones and have fun in the comfort of a safe, wholesome, family-friendly environment.
The N.C. Bureau would not be a leading sponsor of the State Fair each year without the Department of Agriculture’s obvious commitment to protecting families and our Farm Bureau members. The N.C. Farm Bureau strongly supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms, and I respect the desire to protect one’s family from harm. But given the circumstances – thousands of children each day, big crowds and a strong, established police presence – we support Commissioner Steve Troxler and Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision not to allow patrons to carry weapons at the State Fair.
This is a common sense public safety issue that affects the experience of 1 million fairgoers. Let’s allow the State Fair to continue its rich tradition of providing families from all corners of our state a fun, safe, affordable and memorable experience. When making plans to attend the 2014 State Fair, trust our law enforcement officers to protect you and take your family, not your gun.
Larry B. Wooten
President, NC Farm Bureau