Our view: Stay safe this weekend!– OnMyWay Mobile App User News

It’s a sign of the human condition that we often have to deal with more than one thing at a time — which can leave us with mixed emotions.

We’d love to be celebrating the opening of the Carolina Classic Fair this weekend — and we are, to an extent — but it arrives as people in Florida are suffering the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Ian, which made landfall Wednesday in southwest Florida. It’s one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the U.S. and has left a path of devastation in its wake. Cities have been flooded and infrastructure turned into rubble. More than a million Floridians have lost power so far. As of Thursday afternoon, seven deaths had been attributed to the hurricane.

Our hearts go out to those suffering. Many of us will take advantage of opportunities to assist, through the Red Cross or other relief agencies. We’re grateful for all the first responders who are risking their own safety to help the vulnerable and for the federal assistance promised by President Biden.

Seven hundred miles away in Forsyth County, we’ll see and feel the edge of the powerful storm. Forecasts call for 2 to 6 inches of rain between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and gusts as high as 41 miles an hour. Showers are expected to persist through Sunday.

The weather can’t help but have a detrimental effect on the weekend’s scheduled events. In fact, it’s led to the delayed opening of the Carolina Classic Fair, from Friday to Saturday morning. This is a wise move.

The fair is a bright spot on our annual calendar, highly anticipated and regularly enjoyed by hundreds of thousands from miles around.

It will continue through Oct. 8 this year, with all the features we’ve come to enjoy with child-like glee. They include the petting zoo, exhibits, musical performances, games, competitions — for food, produce, livestock, poultry, fine arts and crafts, all the creativity our community brings to bear — and those stomach-churning rides. And whatever food you’d like to have deep-fried — or can be deep-fried — you’ll find it there.

This year’s fair also features some new attractions: A Cowboy Circus — the “World’s Smallest Rodeo,” cowboy Danny Grant told the Journal — an alligator wrestling show — there’s something to write home about — and the Prehistoric Dinosaur Adventure and Mobile Museum, with a walking T-Rex, which alone is worth the price of admission.

Despite the delay, the show will go on. “Our roots as an agricultural fair have prepared us well to deal with a wide variety of weather conditions,” Cheryle Hartley, the fair director, told the Journal. “During periods of rain, guests will be encouraged to visit the many indoor attractions and exhibits.”

That’s optimistic.

We want this year’s fair — its 140th — to be a success. But safety is the primary concern.

Sadly, the Winston-Salem State University homecoming, also scheduled for this weekend, has been curtailed by the storm. All homecoming events after noon Friday have been canceled. That includes the football game against Lincoln (Pa.) and a concert with ConFunkShun and En Vogue.

“It is important for our supporters to know this decision was not made lightly,” the university said in a statement. “Given the potential severe weather impact on our state and the governor’s issuance of a state of emergency for North Carolina, law enforcement and emergency medical resources are very limited for this week. … The risk to safety is far too great to proceed with inadequate safety personnel.”

We agree. The important thing is to keep everyone safe so they can attend next year’s homecoming, which will celebrate the university’s 131st anniversary.

All of these events occur in the shadow of the COVID pandemic that caused both to be canceled two years ago and curtailed last year. Even as many of us are moving on with our lives, the danger remains real for many. Forsyth County reported an additional five COVID-related deaths yesterday.

The storm won’t last forever. Let’s stay safe so that we can see the sunny days ahead.


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