Archived Arts & Entertainment

The fair is here! Haywood County Fair showcases smorgasboard of horse pulls, ice cream eating, giant pumpkins and more

Summer is slowly turning to fall, school doors are opening for another year, and another hallmark of the season is just around the corner: the Haywood County Fair.

Aug. 23 to 29, the Haywood County Fairgrounds will come alive with events, contests and vendors, as well as the rides and fairway foods that are requisite at every county fair.

A new feature this year will be a draft-horse and mule pulling contest scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. Horse and mule teams will attempt to pull a dead sled with 500 pound weights added after each successful pull. Teams may enter in one of four classes: light horses, light mules, heavy horses and heavy mules.


Saturday also will give the county’s youngest performers a chance to shine at the new youth talent competition, held at 3 p.m. For youngsters more grammatically inclined, a spelling bee could be the venue to show off their skills. For the artists, there’s Saturday’s pumpkin-decorating contest and if you prefer eating food over painting it, an ice cream-eating contest is also on the ballot.

Throughout the week, the fairway and fair facilities will be full of attractions such as local craft vendors, farmers touting their prize vegetables and a petting zoo for the younger crowd. Standard fair fare will be available for hungry patrons, but if funnel cakes aren’t cutting it, a fish fry on Friday afternoon, barbecue lunch by the Haywood County’s Future Farmers of America and a local farm lunch on Sunday morning will offer more substantial dining options. They do cost extra, however, and the luncheon requires tickets. Oh, and don’t forget the cakewalk and cake judging on Saturday morning.

Related Items

The fair isn’t forgetting its musical heritage, either. In addition to the youth talent show, a hoedown is scheduled for Friday evening, with entertainment peppered throughout the rest of the week. Sunday afternoon, the Smoky Mountain Jubilee will cap off the week’s festivities. Local favorites Balsam Range and other Appalachian acts will perform and the evening will be emceed by former State Sen. Joe Sam Queen.

A fair, of course, isn’t a fair without animals. And in the livestock competition arena, dairy and beef cattle, sheep and goats, horses and even pigs will parade their skills and conformation. Kids with canine friends can show them off at Saturday’s dog show. There will be a game of kid-and-canine musical chairs, a chance to do some tricks for treats and an agility demonstration by trained dogs.

Horses also will prove their pulling skills in a series of horse pulls, along with the more mechanical truck pulls and tractor pulls. The tractor event will give fairgoers a unique opportunity to see some old-fashioned tractors in action. Only pre-1960 models will be allowed to compete in the antique contest.

The fairgrounds will be open on Tuesday for competitors to drop off exhibits, but will be closed for judging until 5 p.m. Wednesday. Gates will open at 9 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Sunday’s festivities will start at 11 a.m. Exhibits can be picked up Monday. Fair admission is $2 per person, or $6 per car.

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.