“Agricultural education is as important as it has ever been,” said Jai Templeton, agriculture commissioner. “County fairs provide an opportunity for communities across Tennessee to learn about the largest industry in our state while enjoying tradition and making new memories.“
About 900 people attended the fairs merit awards recognition dinner program during the 96th annual Convention of the Tennessee Association of Fairs on Jan. 18-21 in Nashville.
The Wilson County Fair was named state champion in division AAA.
The top award went to the Rhea County Fair when it was named the champion of champions fair for 2017. The Rhea County Fair was also among the 54 fairs recognized with the award of merit based on agriculture, educational value, overall operations and the promotion of local interest and community spirit.
“The fairs of Tennessee provide good, clean competition, fun, community involvement and entertainment for people of all ages,” said TAF president Lisa Robinson. “Most of these events are served by volunteers who are instrumental to the success of our agricultural fairs.”
In the regional division, the Appalachian Fair and the Tennessee Valley Fair received the award of merit. In the state division, the Tennessee State Fair received the award of merit based on overall fair operations. Other 2017 honorees included Sherry Shadden with the Appalachian Fair, who received the Judy Basse Memorial Award for outstanding fair secretary, and Eddie Burch with the Dickson County Fair, who received the Thornton Taylor Award for outstanding dedication to the fair programs in Tennessee.
In 2017, almost 3 million visitors attended county, regional and state fairs in Tennessee, which generated $12 million in gross receipts. More than 18,000 volunteers devoted valuable time, resources and efforts to fairs, which had more than 201,000 agricultural exhibits and 22,000 agricultural exhibitors that showcased livestock, farm crops and other agricultural exhibits.
The 20th annual Fair Showcase, a statewide competition held during the convention, consisted of 472 entries from 42 fairs in 36 categories. Fairs competed for prize money and awards in 39 different categories, including best fair catalog, website and educational displays, promotional videos, posters, scrapbooks, creative ideas and free-standing and table-top exhibits. To see a list of these winners, 2018 fair dates and other fair information, visit tn.gov/agriculture/farms/fairs.html.