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ONLY ON 3: Iconic 'Fairport' ad flying off into the sunset

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- For most of the year, you would not head out to Wilmington International Airport without a boarding pass, but soon the airport will become the "Fairport." This year, though, marks the end of an era in how the Cape Fear Fair & Expo markets itself.

Crews began transforming Wilmington International Airport into the "Fairport" Wednesday. That means tents, livestock, and, of course, the thrill rides.

"We have about 40 rides," Fair Manager Skip Watkins said. "They leave the North Carolina State Fair and come right to Wilmington. Most people don't know that."

And, of course, there's a fried treat or two.

"I love the fried dough," Watkins said, "but we're also going to have the candied apples, the cotton candy. We're going to have sausages."

But there will be one thing missing from the Cape Fear Fair & Expo this year. The chicken and cow who argued in TV ads for the past 15 years over whether they were flying to the fair or the airport will not be a part of the festivities this season.

Some people love the ad.

"I thought it was catchy," one fan said. "The whole, 'Cape Fear Fair & Expo,' it makes you... I don't know. It sticks in your head."

Others hate it.

"If people are riled up about it, I think that the fact that they are riled up about it is stupid," one hater said.

Either way, you can't deny the ad became iconic in the area.

"We've enjoyed that for years," Watkins said. "In fact, that won best commercial for fairs of attendance under 100,000 back around 15 years ago, but we felt like it was time to update it a little bit."

Even as the cow and chicken fly off into the sunset. This year's fair is sure to be quite an event.

The "Fairport" ad has not been grounded completely. Though the commercial will no longer air on TV after today, it will continue on radio.

The Cape Fear Fair & Expo gets underway October 25 and runs through November 3. Click here for more information.

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