NASHVILLE– The best fairs in Tennessee are being honored for their success in sharing agriculture with citizens statewide, and six Upper Cumberland fairs were among the best. White and Putnam counties were named State Champions in their divisions, Smith and Macon counties were named as most improved in their divisions and Warren and Fentress counties received Premier Awards.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) and Tennessee Association of Fairs recently presented awards to the top county, regional, and state agricultural fairs for the 2019 season. Approximately 850 people attended the Fairs Merit Awards event during the 98th Tennessee Association of Fairs Convention held Jan. 16-18, in Murfreesboro.
A total of 53 fairs received the Award of Merit based on agriculture, educational value, overall operations and the promotion of local interest and community spirit. The Sevier County Fair received the highest honor when it was named the Champion of Champions Fair for 2019. The Champion of Champions is selected from the 2018 division winners.
“For more than 160 years, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture has been promoting agriculture through fairs across our state,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher D.V.M. said. “Our abundant food and fiber originates from our farms and forests, and you cannot put a true value on the beauty of our landscape and the quality of life that we all enjoy. Fairs highlight those assets and our rural heritage.”
“Agricultural fairs provide good, clean competition, entertainment for all ages, community support and promote our youth,” Tennessee Association of Fairs President Phil Booher said. “More than 22,000 volunteers are key to that success statewide, representing the spirit of greatness in our Volunteer State.”
The winners of the primary 2019 fair categories include:
State Champion: White County Fair
1st Runner-up: Bledsoe County Fair
2nd Runner-up: Decatur County Fair
Most Improved: Smith County Fair
State Champion: Lauderdale County Fair
1st Runner-up: Lincoln County Fair
2nd Runner-up: Middle Tennessee District Fair
Most Improved: Macon County Fair
State Champion: Putnam County Fair
1st Runner-up: Anderson County Fair
2nd Runner-up: Robertson County Fair
Most Improved: Maury County Fair
Premiere Awards (selected from among previous winners)
Champion of Champion: Warren County Fair
Division AA: Dickson County Fair
Division AAA: Fentress County Fair
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 2019 honorees include Betty Maness of the Decatur County Fair, who received the Judy Basse Memorial Award for outstanding fair secretary, and Bill Phillips of the Middle Tennessee District Fair, who received the Thornton Taylor Award for outstanding dedication to the fair programs in Tennessee.
The statewide Fair Showcase offered prize money and awards in 40 categories including best fair catalog, website and educational displays, promotional videos, posters, scrapbooks, creative ideas, and free-standing and table-top exhibits. In its 22nd year, the competition drew 545 entries from 42 fairs. To see a list of these winners and other fair information, please visit https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/farms/fairs.html or www.tnfairs.com.
In 2019, nearly three million visitors attended county, regional and state fairs in Tennessee, enjoying more than 212,000 exhibits. There were more than 76,000 entries in livestock and farm crops contests and other exhibitions. More than 22,000 volunteers made those fairs possible, contributing to $13.5 million in economic impact.