Tennessee State Fair chairman speaks to Rotary

Jacob Smith • Updated Aug 16, 2017 at 12:00 PM

John Rose, chairman of the Tennessee State Fair Association, spoke to the Lebanon Noon Rotary Club on Tuesday. 

The Tennessee State Fair Association promotes the education of agriculture, horticulture, the creative arts, performing arts and related areas to the public through the annual Tennessee State Fair. 

Rose is the chairman for the Tennessee State Fair Association, as well as the Tennessee Technological University Foundation and the Tennessee Future Farmer’s of America Foundation. Rose also served as Tennessee’s agriculture commissioner from 2002-2003. 

Rose originally became involved with the state fair in 2009 when the then mayor told him they’d be closing down the Nashville Fairground to redevelop the site. When Rose responded he thought that was a shame, a Farm Bureau member contacted him. 

The man wanted him to come to a meeting that involved saving the state fair. Rose agreed and, to his surprise, was nominated committee chairman. 

“I was kind of embarrassed,” said Rose. “I didn’t come [to the meeting] to get a job, but here I’ve got one.”

Despite his misgivings, Rose agreed to serve as chairman for at least a year. 

“As I went deeper and deeper down this path, I found myself increasingly starting to care,” said Rose.  “Eventually, I bought it.”

Rose concluded with a discussion on his role as chairman and how members of the community could support the state fair in different ways. 

“We started with very few volunteers back in 2010, and today we have more than 400 volunteers,” said Rose. “I would encourage you to get involved in the Tennessee state fair, and there are a lot of ways to do that.”

Rose encouraged anyone interested in helping out with the Tennessee State Fair to visit tnstatefair.org.

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