NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture and Tennessee Association of Fairs recently recognized the outstanding achievements of Tennessee’s premier county fairs. These accolades were presented to the top county, regional, and state agricultural fairs for the 2023 season, highlighting their excellence in sharing agricultural knowledge with fairgoers.
Approximately 850 people attended the Fairs Merit Awards event during the 102nd Tennessee Association of Fairs Convention held Jan. 18-20, 2024 in Murfreesboro.
Forty-nine fairs received the Award of Merit based on agriculture, education, community participation, programs, and appearance. The Dyer County Fair received the highest honor when it was named the Champion of Champions Fair for 2023. The Champion of Champions is selected from the three 2022 division winners.
”Our fairs exemplify the pinnacle of agricultural education outreach,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “We celebrate a rich history of farms and forests in Tennessee. Fairs are a tribute to that tradition, highlighting the role and importance of agriculture in our communities.”
“Agricultural fairs provide fun, wholesome competition, entertainment for all ages, community support, and promote our youth,” Tennessee Association of Fairs President Ricky Smith said. “More than 22,000 volunteers are key to that success statewide, representing the spirit of greatness in our Volunteer State.”
During the 2023 season, Tennessee’s county, regional, and state fairs attracted nearly three million visitors, who enjoyed more than 218,000 exhibits. The events featured more than 75,000 entries spanning livestock, farm crops, competitions, and various exhibitions. Fairs foster community involvement and leave a positive economic imprint statewide.
2023 Fair Category Winners
State Champion: Fentress County Fair
1st Runner-up: Overton County Fair
2nd Runner-up: White County Fair
Most Improved: Sequatchie County Fair
State Champion: Lincoln County Fair
1st Runner-up: Henry County Fair
2nd Runner-up: Rhea County Fair
Most Improved: Cocke County Fair
State Champion: Greene County Fair
1st Runner-up: Williamson County Fair
2nd Runner-up: Sevier County Fair
Most Improved: Robertson County Fair
Premiere Awards (selected from among previous winners)
Champion of Champion: Cumberland County Fair
Division A: Decatur County Fair
Division AAA: Gibson County Fair
In the regional division, the Appalachian Fair and the Tennessee Valley Fair received the Award of Merit. In the state division, the Wilson County Fair – Tennessee State Fair received the Award of Merit based on overall fair operations. Other 2023 honorees include Leah Threat of the Cumberland County Fair who received the Judy Basse Memorial Award for outstanding fair secretary; John Allen of the Putnam County Fair who received the Thornton Taylor Award for outstanding dedication to fair programs in Tennessee; Ricky Smith of the Cumberland County Fair who received the Vernon Henson Memorial Plaque; and David Hale of the Wilson County Fair – Tennessee State Fair who received the Jimmy Floyd Memorial Award as outstanding associate member.
The statewide Fair Showcase offered prize money and awards in 40 categories including best fair catalog, website, educational displays, promotional videos, posters, scrapbooks, creative ideas, and free-standing and table-top exhibits. In its 25th year, the Fair Showcase competition drew 539 entries from 44 fairs. For more fair information, please visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/farms/fairs.html or www.tnfairs.com.
Complete List of Category Award Winners can be found here.