Hurricane Michael forces NC State Fair to delay its opening day

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For the first time in recent memory, and maybe the first time ever, the N.C. State Fair will delay opening day because of bad weather.

The fair was set to open at 3 p.m. Thursday, but as Hurricane Michael came ashore in Florida on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, state and local officials, working with vendors and ride operators, decided to delay the fair’s opening until Friday.

Fair manager Kent Yelverton said at a news conference on the fairgrounds Wednesday afternoon that the decision was made in order to keep safe those who operate the fair and those who come to enjoy it.

Michael is expected to be a tropical storm by the time it reaches North Carolina, bringing several inches of rain and wind gusts of 35 mph or more before it moves out to sea on Friday.

Yelverton, who has worked at the fair for 26 years, said he could not remember the fair ever closing for weather before. Typically, he said, opening day is not a huge attendance day for the fair.

After the storm passes, the weather is expected to be dry and much cooler. The fair will run through Oct. 21.