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Outstanding Fairs Honored at 91st Annual Convention

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 | 04:59am

- Fifty-five awards were given to top agricultural fairs -

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson recently presented awards to 55 of the state’s top county, regional and state agricultural fairs. They were recognized with the Merit Award for outstanding achievement during the 2012 fair season. More than 900 people attended the Fairs Merit Awards recognition dinner during the 91st Annual Convention of the Tennessee Association of Fairs (TAF) held January 17-19 in Nashville. 

The top award went to the Henry County Fair in Paris when it was named the Champion of Champions Fair for 2012. The Henry County Fair was also recognized by Johnson and TAF President James Spears, with the “Award of Merit” based on overall operations, educational value and promotion of local interest in agriculture and community spirit.

“Fairs are a tradition in the agricultural industry and showcase the best our farms and communities have to offer,” said Johnson. “Our Tennessee fairs have a positive impact on local economies as well as the agriculture contributions and education that they provide to visitors.”

The annual awards are sponsored by TDA and TAF, the state organization representing Tennessee’s fair industry. 

2012 Fair Winners

Division A

State Champion:    Overton County Fair

1st runner-up:          Benton County Fair
2nd runner-up:         Morgan County Fair
Most Improved:        Sequatchie County Fair

Division AAState Champion:      Cocke County Fair 

1st runner-up:           Rhea County Fair
2nd runner-up:          Henderson County Free Fair
Most Improved:         Hardin County Fair

Division AAA        

State Champion       Sevier County Fair
1st runner-up:           Foothills Country Fair
2nd runner-up:         Wilson County Fair
Most Improved:        Williamson County Fair

Premiere Awards:

Champion:             Cumberland County Fair
Division A:              Smith County Fair
Division AAA:         Gibson County Fair

In the Regional Division, the Appalachian Fair and the Tennessee Valley Fair received “Award of Merit.” The Tennessee State Fair also received “Award of Merit” based on overall fair operations. The regional fairs and the State Fair are not in competition with the county fairs for awards.  

In 2012, almost three million visitors attended county, regional, and state fairs in  Tennessee. Fairs in Tennessee generated more than $11 million in gross receipts last year. More than 14,700 volunteers from 63 fairs in the state devoted valuable time, resources and energy to fairs which had over 135,000 agricultural exhibits, and an increase to over 33,000 agricultural exhibitors showcasing livestock, farm crops and other agricultural exhibits.  

The 15th Annual Fair Showcase, a statewide competition held during the convention, consisted of almost 500 entries in 39 categories. Fairs competed for prize money, trophies and ribbons sponsored by the TDA and the TAF. Categories ranged from fair catalogs, websites and educational displays, to promotional videos, posters, scrapbooks, creative ideas and free-standing & table-top exhibits. To see a list of these winners, visit or 

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