For more than 25 years, the State Fair has been a ministry for N.C. Campers on Mission. While most visitors are enjoying the rides, exhibits and their favorite fair foods, Betty and Bill Wilson of Greensboro and their cadre of volunteers are serving meals, offering haircuts and listening to the workers that call the fairgrounds home during the run of the fair.
The N.C. State Fair is the largest mission project tackled each year for N.C. Campers on Mission. Not including local exhibitors and vendors, about 500 travleworkers converge on the fairgrounds to work concessions and carnival rides.
The ministry collects supplies year round through area churches and the Raleigh Baptist Association, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, canned soup, deodorant, peanut butter and grape jam. The Wilsons’ estimate that Campers on Mission serves about 900 meals every day of the fair. “Last year we served about 10,000 bowls of soup,” said Bill Wilson. “This year we are running about that average.”
The mission also offers haircuts, a clothes closet and a friendly place for fair workers to go. “In addition to meals, we do a lot of listening and talking,” Wilson added.
Campers on Mission also hosts a variety of entertainment daily at 12:30, 1:45, 3 and 4:15 p.m. plus church services on Sunday mornings at 8:30 and 11 a.m. Stop by the 156-year old chapel in Heritage Circle to see a schedule of performances. Church services are open to all fairgoers.
N.C. Campers on Mission has about 200 members. In addition to their fair ministry, they volunteer at Baptist Children’s Homes, street festivals and building projects.