Cleveland County Fair 2018 - Salute to Veterans

September 27 - October 07


Honoring those who served, and still serve
our country, our community, and our way of life

September 27 - October 07


Honoring those who served, and still serve
our country, our community, and our way of life

Please Note: Animals are not allowed inside the fairgrounds. Service animals are of course welcome.

An information booth will be located near the Dorton Exhibit Hall (area 5 and 6 on fairgrounds map) and will be maintained during opening hours of the fair. First aid stations, ambulance services and restrooms are conveniently located on the fairgrounds.


Children ages 5 years old and under, senior citizens 65 years and older and individuals in a wheelchair and the person pushing the wheelchair will be admitted free.

All children attending public schools will receive one free ticket, which may be used on any of the designated school days.


Free parking is available across the road from our main gate at Cleveland Community College and other parking lots owned/operated by the fair on Kemper Road. Handicapped parking is also available across the road from the main gate.


Patrons are requested to report any discourtesies from any Cleveland County Fair employee to our management located in the fair of-fice (area 5 on fairgrounds map). Also, we welcome any constructive criticism or helpful suggestions toward bettering any part of our fair. If for any reason there is a misunderstanding concerning admission to the gates, passes, etc., please pay the gateman/ticket seller the regular admission requested and bring your receipt directly to the manager’s office (area 5 on the fairgrounds map). This will save you time and avoid any unnecessary blocking of the traffic gates as well.


All competitive exhibits and displays will be released between 3 and 7 p.m. Monday after the closing of the fair. Any article(s) not picked up within two weeks after the closing of the fair will be considered aban-doned and will be disposed of by the fair management.

All exhibits are under the direct supervision of the directors in charge and are on exhibition as part of the fair’s attractions. It is agreed by the exhibitors in making their entries that they will comply with the rules and regulations of the Cleveland County Fair or forfeit any premiums.


Premium checks may be picked up by exhibitors during noted times:

6 - 9pm, Fri Oct 6, Sat Oct 7, Sun Oct 8
3 - 7pm Mon Oct 9

Exhibits must remain on display until Monday after closing of the fair to avoid forfeiting premium checks.

The following rules and regulations become a part of the contract of each exhibitor, licensee, concessionaire and every other person having contractual relations with the fair.

The management of the Cleveland County Fair reserves the right to rule on all questions not covered by these rules.

In the event of conflict between the general rules and special rules governing any department, special rules will take precedence.

Disregard of any rules or misrepresentation by exhibitor or concessionaire forfeits all premiums, rights and privileges without recourse.

The management will use diligence to insure the safety of livestock and articles entered for exhibit or display after their arrival on the fairgrounds. Under no circumstances, however, will the fair or its management be responsible for any loss, injury, theft or damage by fire, lightning, wind or any other agency, to such livestock or articles on exhibition or display.

Promiscuous advertising is strictly prohibited. Exhibitors may advertise and distribute from their places of exhibit ONLY. Posting of signs on buildings or concessions is prohibited.

No peddling, hawking or selling of any kind will be allowed in the buildings or on the grounds except by special license obtained from the fair manager.

Drunkenness, quarreling or the use of profane or obscene language will not be permitted on the grounds.

The fair will use every possible means to protect property, BUT WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR CARS OR PARTS OF CARS OR ARTICLES LEFT IN CARS.

No begging will be permitted on the fairgrounds.

No article or animal will be entitled to space until proper entry is made. After an article has been entered for a premium, it cannot be removed until the time designated for release of that department. If any person removes an article or animal prior to that time, they forfeit all claims to premiums even if same shall have been awarded. n Each department will be under the special charge of its director. The directors will oversee the arrangements of all articles offered for exhibition in their departments, have control of space assigned to them and deliver the articles on presentation of receipt at the close of the fair.

Articles entered under wrong classes may be reclassified at the discretion of the judges and the directors.


Competition is open to counties indicated in rules govern-ing each department. Cleveland County is defined as all residents and those individuals living outside the county who participate in educational programs of N.C. Extension, schools and colleges in Cleveland County.

Entries in livestock departments must be made online or on the following form (Cleveland County Fair — Entry Form for Live-stock and Horses) and must be in full compliance with the printed instructions on the form. The forms can be obtained from our annual Cleveland County Fair Book

Exhibitors should study the premium list carefully and when decision has been made as to which class to enter, they should fill out the entry blank with the class number, premium list number and name as they appear in the premium book. Entries may be made online, mailed or delivered in person to the Cleveland County Fair office at 1751 E Marion St., Shelby, NC 28152. No faxed copies will be accepted.

All livestock on exhibition must be cared for by the exhibitor.

All stalls and pens will have a cedar bedding base provided by the Cleveland County Fair.

All articles and livestock must be delivered to the grounds. No charge for transportation, express or drayage will be paid by the fair.

Online entries can be accessed at www.ClevelandCountyFair. com under the 2017 Events Tab-Online Entrie


The same article cannot compete for more than one premium except sweepstakes.

All entries must be numbered and recorded in the books of the proper department and class. Corresponding tags will be is-sued, which must be attached to the exhibit before it can be placed on exhibition.

No person will be allowed to see the entries or have access to the entry book until after the awards have been made.

Exhibitors must see to the delivery of any articles or livestock on the grounds and to the proper care of the latter, as no charge for transportation or drayage will be paid by the fair.

All exhibits (except as noted under Entries) must be installed by Tuesday (before the Thursday Fair opening) to receive atten-tion from the awarding judges.
Exhibitors may have the use of halls and grounds for any rea-sonable number of days before opening day. This allows sufficient time without any delays for the arranging and placing of their exhibits.

Exhibitors should familiarize themselves with the premium list and regulations.

The original entry card must in all cases be attached to the exhibit, except in the case of animals when the cards can be con-spicuously displayed on the stall or pen.

Entries made in wrong classes may be reclassified at the request of the judges, provided the reclassification is approved by the direc-tor of the department.

Where there is only one entry in a class, the judge will deter-mine the proper placing for premium, unless otherwise stated in the department rules.


Directors are not permitted to employ any help without written permission from the management. An invoice for all supplies or ma-terials must be obtained at the time of delivery by the department head and approved by them.

Directors will receive all property entered for exhibition and see that tags are securely attached. They will arrange such property in a suitable and attractive manner.

Directors will also see that the property is not removed before time specified under release. They will ensure that tags are matched on property upon removal as a means of preventing fraud and mistakes.


Competition is open to Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln and Ruther-ford counties unless otherwise noted in department headings.


The judges, when ready for duty, shall be furnished a list of all entries in their respective departments and books in which their placements of all exhibits are to be recorded.

Judges are especially instructed not to award premiums to any animal or articles because of its presence. It must be individually worthy. It is not the policy of this fair to encourage indifferent pro-duction of any kind or to distribute premiums equally among ex-hibitors. No premiums shall be awarded to any animal or article that does not possess high intrinsic merit.

The director in charge shall be with the judges when making the examinations in their respective department. When profes-sional workers have assisted clubs, groups or individuals in prepar-ing exhibits for any department, the professional worker shall not accompany the judges while they are judging the exhibits of these clubs, groups or individuals. As the awards are made, the director will attach the ribbon indicating the award.

The decision of the judges will be considered final. No ap-peal will be considered except in the case of protest in writing, with strong evidence of fraud or violation of the rules of the fair, which must be filed with the management of the fair before the premiums have been presented.

Reports must be signed by each judge in his own handwriting. However, judges cannot award premiums to articles not in the regular premium list.

With the agreement of the director, the judges may have wrong entries re-classed.

Judges may award premiums to single exhibits where specifically worthy when authorized by management through the director.

Carolina CAT - Proud Supporters of the Cleveland County Fair

95 Years and Counting...
History of the Cleveland County Fair

Click here to download this history (pdf)

It was in 1923 that the Shelby Kiwanis Club first began to dream of a county-wide fair.

They initiated a remarkable fundraising effort that raised $15,000 (about $200,000 in today's money) to establish the Cleveland County Fair, and the first ever fair was held that year, with approximately 70,000 people flocking to see.

The fair immediately established itself as the largest agricultural county fair in North Carolina, and continues to provide the excitement of rides and races, but also has continued the unwavering commitment to bringing the best agricultural practices to Cleveland County.

As Cleveland County Fair legend Dr. JS "Doc" Dorton stated at the very start...

"The purpose of the fair is to provide an opportunity for citizens to display the fruits of their labors, to meet and compare notes on crops, livestock, farm machinery, home development and improvement"

Doc Dorton was among the first officers of the fair, went on to become fair manager for 38 years and the Cleveland County fair remains true to its heritage today.

The formula for a successful fair included the bringing together of farm and city life to showcase agriculture and industry with exhibits and education. Throughout the years, the ingredients have changed, but the formula for a successful fair remains the same.



Shelby Kiwanis Club formed the Cleveland County Fair committee with O. Max Gardner - President.

January 8th


Dr. J.S. Dorton named Cleveland County Fair Manager.



First Cleveland County Fair featuring Miller Shows on the Midway.



Cleveland County Fair exhibit hall burns.

April 7th


"Fat Lady" Betty Singleton Holdridge dies at the fair and is buried in Sunset cemetery.



First rodeo at the Cleveland County Fair.

June 18th


J. Sib Dorton, Jr. became second Cleveland County Fair manager.



Elbridge J. Withers became third Cleveland County Fair manager.



Log cabin brought to fairgrounds.



Cleveland County Fair becomes ten day fair.



Waterwheel moved from Peeler's Mill in Casar to the Cleveland County Fair.



Sam Goforth becomes the fourth Cleveland County Fair manager.



Cleveland County Fair celebrates 50th Anniversary.



Reithoffer Shows features midway entertainment.



Joe Goforth becomes the fifth Cleveland County Fair manager.



Six new ticket booths built at the main entrance.



New exhibit hall and performing arts stage built along with a new board room.



Horse show arena built.



Largest attendance numbers recorded at 184,353.



Three buildings were named for previous fair managers.



* Dorton Hall was named for Dr. J.S. Dorton and his son J. Sib Dorton



* Weathers Arena was named for Elbridge J. Weathers



* Goforth Building was named for Sam P. Goforth and Joe A. Goforth



Cemetery land acquired which allowed carnival expansion.



Midway was paved.

September 28th


Wedding for Phillip Smith and Michelle Greene was held at the performing arts stage.



New grandstand was built and 7.7 acres of land was purchased on Kemper Road.



Roof added to grandstand.



Cleveland County Fair wins Best Fair Award by the Association of Agricultural Fairs.



50 x 60 amphitheater was constructed adjacent to the Weather's Arena.



Joe Goforth resigns after serving as fair manager for 28 years.



Bill Edmondson was named the sixth Cleveland County Fair manager.



Cleveland County Fair purchases the former Poston Trailer Park for additional parking.



Fuchia Allen was named the seventh Cleveland County Fair manager.

December 12th


Former fair manager Joe Goforth passed away at the age of 84.

April 1st


Fuchia Allen resigns as manger of the Cleveland County Fair.

August 2nd


Calvin Hastings is named the eighth Cleveland County Fair manager.

Dec 1 - 3


First ever Christmas at the Fair



Christmas Flea & Farmers Market Opened - Tuesdays

April 1st - 3rd


First ever Spring Into the Fair Home and Garden Show event is held at the fairgrounds

August 11th


American Legion World Series - Ronnie Dunn Concert

March 3rd & 4th


First ever Cleveland County Bridal Fair.

April 21st


Racing returns to the fairgrounds. (Legend Cars)



The Cleveland County Fair becomes an 11 day fair.


Contact us

We'd love to hear from you!


1751 East Marion Street
Shelby NC 28152

Phone number

(704) 487-0651