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Queen Charlotte Spring Fair Upgrades Entertainment for Biannual Event in Fast Growing Metro Area
Amusements of America fields the midway
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It's not surprising when it comes to fairs that both the largest and fastest growing city in North Carolina holds two queens. 

The Queen Charlotte Fair are twin annual events, held in spring and autumn, restoring a fair tradition in one of the most populous and cutting edge metropolitan areas in the south. “It's a very good fair with very strong community support,” said Morris Vivona of Amusements of America, who has played both biannual events for several years.

Fastest Growing

The “Queen” in the Queen Charlotte Fair is derived by the city's nickname as the Queen City, likely originating with the founding by European settlers – mainly of Scottish descent, who named the city Charlotte, in honor of German princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who had become the Queen Consort of Great Britain in 1761. Charlotte is in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

Today, the area is rapidly growing in population, income and employment, making it a prime location for a fair. Located in what is commonly referred to as the Piedmont, Charlotte currently is the most populous city in North Carolina, and the county seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population was 859,035, making it the 17th-most populous city in the United States. The Charlotte metropolitan area's population ranks 23rd in the U.S., and had a 2016 population of 2,474,314, and is considered part of a sixteen-county market region or combined statistical area with a 2016 census-estimated population of 2,632,249.

Even though the fair food, nostalgic midway and other familiar fair motifs redolent with nostalgia, Americana and family entertainment, the fair still benefits from the Charlotte boom, which has been ranked country's fastest-growing metro area, with 888,000 new residents within the past decade, according to U.S. Census data. It is the second-fastest growing city in the southeastern United States, just behind Jacksonville, Florida, and the country's third-fastest-growing major city.

The population is growing mainly due to skilled professionals attracted to growing job opportunities and raising families in what is relatively a less expensive housing market. 

Charlotte has become a major U.S. financial center – having the most banking assets after New York City— it has seven Fortune 500 companies in its metropolitan area –Bank of America, Lowe's, Honeywell, Duke Energy, Nucor (steel producer), Sonic Automotive and Sealed Air. It is also the major center in the U.S. motorsports industry, housing multiple offices of NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord. 

Approximately 75 percent of the NASCAR industry's race teams, employees and drivers are based nearby. Forbes has included Charlotte on its list of Best Places for Business and Careers

“The population has changed,” said Vivona. “The economy has improved in this area and they seem to have more disposable income this year. It's a very much a city fair, even though it's in a separate property, kind of a landlord situation.”


City Fair 

The Queen Charlotte Spring Fair – like its fall counterpart – is hosted by Route 29 Pavilion, near Charlotte Motor Speedway, just across the city border in Concord, N.C. considered one of the leading outdoor entertainment pavilions in Cabarrus County, 

The venue accommodates up to 25,000 visitors, depending on the configuration. Its convenient location is not only easily accessible by highway, but also creates a synergy with racing and NASCAR enthusiasts from the nearby speedway. 

“It's a very nice facility,” said Vivona. “The promoter and the property owner are great to work with, it couldn't have gone smoother.”

The Queen Charlotte Fair spans three weeks, and the 2019 edition “was phenomenal, for the opening two weeks. The first two weeks it was a wonderful fair, but we caught some weather on the third week,” he said. “We had five days of rain the last week of the fair. 

The midway provided by Amusements of America was a very solid footprint of about 25 individual pieces. Leading rides for the company at the Charlotte event included the Rock N Roll, Giant Wheel, Chaos, and Super Shocker. 

Amusements of America also booked some of the entertainment for the fair. “We brought new, fresh entertainment,” he said. “Previously, the entertainment had gotten very stale. We wanted something that got the crowd more involved. It was a huge improvement. We had people cheering the acts.”

For the 2019 spring edition, Vivona booked the Belmont Festival of Magic, featuring “big TV style magic and lots of audience participation” ; BMX Madness – the family-friendly,gravity-defying bike show, known  for its “skill, courage and radness” ; the Wall of Death Show, which showcases 1920's vintage Indian Scouts, Antique Harley Davidson motorcycles, and a four wheeled racing Go-Kart that utilizes a Wooden Silodrome; and the ever popular dance extravaganza – MJ Footworkz – starring Kevin “Last Man Standing” Hayes, a genuine tar heel –  He was born in Winston-Salem, N.C. And has one become one of the most sought after choreographers in the “Dirty South.” 

“Quality entertainment really helps the midway,” said Vivona. “People come for those acts alone, and they stay longer to see the acts. The entertainment we had and the turnout we had for this fair really makes it one of the best county fairs in eastern North Carolina.”
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