NASHVILLE — When agricultural fair season rolls around this year, the Tennessee State Fair will make history by taking place in conjunction with the Wilson County Fair, according to a news release from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
“In partnership with Wilson County and Wilson County Promotions, the Tennessee State Fair will be one of the largest and strongest in the country,” Governor Bill Lee said. “I thank the State Fair Commission and General Assembly for prioritizing the investments needed to expand facilities, showcase our agriculture community, and ensure the best possible experience for Tennesseans.”
The state budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 provides $5.3 million in funding for the newly combined event that will be held Aug. 12-21 at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. Wilson County will receive $5 million for capital projects and infrastructure, and Wilson County Promotions will receive $300,000 annually for operating costs of the fair.
“Agriculture is the state’s top industry and the heart of the Tennessee State Fair,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher said. “The support by our governor and investment in agricultural education will pay dividends when we celebrate this new partnership. For many visitors, the state fair provides the only opportunity to see first-hand Tennessee’s vast agriculture, and we are proud to showcase the industry.”
Wilson County Promotions has experience operating a large-scale fair, having produced the award-winning Wilson County Fair for 42 years. The Wilson County Fair is the largest in the state and had an overall attendance at the 2019 fair of 578,131.
More than 150 events will take place at the combined fair this year, including livestock shows, food and horticulture competitions, rides, tractor pulls, demolition derbies, pageants and entertainment. FFA and 4-H programs foster the development of Tennessee’s next generation who will grow the state’s food and fiber.
“Our fair’s roots and existence remain as an agricultural fair,” Wilson County Promotions Board President Randall Clemons said. “The fair continues to strive to be a great place for families to have fun and make memories that will last a lifetime. Volunteers plan for this fair to be the best one yet. Our goal is to involve every county in the state and showcase the best of every county’s agriculture, agritourism, and tourism. We will follow guidelines and protocols that will create a safe environment for all fairgoers.”
An opening ceremony is planned for 6 p.m. on Aug. 12.