ELLEBORO—The Colfax Free Fair, held annually by the Ellenboro Elementary School, returns Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 21-25. This will be the 93rd edition of the event, which typically attracts thousands of visitors.

Organizers are especially excited because most of the typical fair elements will be back. Last year, only a limited “drive through” event was held. The fair will be held at the site of the old Ellenboro School on Cherry Mountain Street.

“This will be more like our typical fair,” said Kyla Bumgarner, Ellenboro Elementary School principal.

B and K Carnival rides will begin bringing in rides and setting up in the days prior to fair’s opening on Tuesday.

“We will have several food vendors, providing barbecue, hamburgers and hot dogs, pizza, and typical carnival food like cotton candy,” Bumgarner said.

Because of COVID-19, there will be multiple hand-sanitizing stations throughout the fair area.

“It’s an outside event, and people are free to wear masks if they choose to do so,” Bumgarner said.

The fair’s car show will be Saturday at the old Ellenboro School ball field. Registration will be 2-5 p.m. people’s choice voting will be from 3-5:30 p.m., with awards presented at 6 p.m. There is no entry fee.

This year’s event will not have competitive exhibits (canned foods, garden produce, etc.), but there will be some educational and informational displays.

Live music will be provided Friday and Saturday at the ball field rock bleachers. The Rock Gospel Quartet will perform Friday at 7 and 8 p.m. The Piney Mountain Boys, playing bluegrass music, will perform Saturday at 7 and 8 p.m.

The fair is called “free” because there is no cost to enter the fairgrounds, and no cost for parking. Participants purchase tickets to access the carnival rides.

While weather often affects the numbers of visitors to the fair, some have estimated that previous fairs have drawn a total of 15-20,000 visitors. Friday and Saturday usually have the most visitors.

“We are excited to once again offer this opportunity to the community,” Bumgarner said.

The fair will run from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 1-9 p.m. on Saturday.

The Colfax Free Fair is a major moneymaker for Ellenboro Elementary School, generating an average of $40,000 each year.