Georgia National Fair Exclaims “What a Ride!”
Friday, October 8th, 2010
On Thursday, Oct. 7 at 3 p.m., the 21st annual state-sponsored Georgia National Fair opens at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, Ga. The theme for 2010 is “What a Ride!” and it sums up the experience waiting for visitors to this year’s Fair.
“It’s a flurry of activity on the fairgrounds right now. It’s like a big puzzle coming together,” said Michele Treptow, director of communications for the Georgia National Fair.
A showcase for Georgia agriculture, the Georgia National Fair mixes in lots of family fun with rides, delicious food, carnival games and live music. In 2009, the Georgia National Fair attracted more than 415,000 visitors. With promising weather forecast for this year’s 11-day run, the Fair could set new attendance records.
New this year
For the first time, the Fair is hosting Georgia National Fair Junior Invitational Steer & Heifer Shows that will run from Friday, Oct. 15 through Sunday, Oct. 17. The shows will include contestants from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, North and South Carolina as well as Georgia.
“It’s an opportunity to broaden the base of competition for Georgia FFA and 4-H participants by bringing in out-of-state participants,” Treptow explained.
Agriculture exhibits, livestock competitions and horse shows rank among the Fair’s many activities that showcase Georgia agriculture. With its size and breadth Georgia agriculture is far from easy to capture in one venue. The award-winning Stories of Agriculture, for example, features 16 educational displays on various agricultural commodities and livestock.
Visitors can watch wool spun into yarn and learn the story of cotton – the leading cash crop in Georgia and the United States. Or explore the many vegetables, fruits, nuts, plants, flowers and wine produced in Georgia including peanuts and pecans – Georgia ranks first in the U.S. for these nuts – and the state’s top five vegetables – onions, watermelons, tomatoes, sweet corn and bell peppers.
Livestock competitions and horse shows are scheduled throughout the Fair. Visitors can learn more about FFA, 4-H and other organizations that contribute to the success and growth of Georgia agriculture.
In the tradition of state fairs
Originally one of the few venues where the public could meet political candidates, state fairs have long been home to heated debates between candidates seeking public office. This year’s Fair continues that tradition with scheduled debates among the candidates for governor and the U.S. Congress.
On Thursday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Channel 13 WMAZ political forum, Roy Barnes, Nathan Deal and John Monds, the candidates for governor will debate current issues followed by the 8th U.S. Congressional District debate with Jim Marshall and Austin Scott.
“It’s an opportunity for the public to see and hear the candidates up close. The debate is open to all of that day’s Fairgoers,” Treptow explained.
A year-round work of art
Putting on the Fair is a year-round effort for more than 75 permanent Georgia National Fair employees. Seven staff members have been involved in all 21 of the Georgia National Fairs.
“We also have lots of part-time help and 75 to 100 FairCracker volunteers who put in lots of hours in all areas of the Fair. We couldn’t do it without them,” Treptow said.
Even as Treptow and the rest of the Fair workers put the finishing touches on the 2010 Fair, they are already starting to think ahead to next October.
“We are always jotting down ideas for next year, things we can do differently and improve. It’s definitely a year-round work of art,” Treptow explained.
For more information on this year’s Georgia National Fair or to purchase tickets online, visit www.georgianationalfair.com