Marking the milestone of 100 years of celebration, the Tennessee Association of Fairs is recognizing the state’s outstanding county, regional, and state agricultural fairs, according to a Wednesday press release by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) joined the Tennessee Association of Fairs (TAF) for their 100th anniversary annual convention, which took place January 20-22 in Murfreesboro.
The Putnam County Fair was named the 2021 Champion of Champions Fair, the highest honor awarded, according to the press release. The Champion of Champions is selected from the previous year’s division winners. Forty-Nine fairs received the Award of Merit based on agriculture, educational value, overall operations, and the promotion of local interest and community spirit.
The winners of the primary 2021 fair categories include:
State Champion: Clay County Fair
1st Runner-up: Decatur County Fair
2nd Runner-up: Benton County Fair
Most Improved: Meigs County Fair
State Champion: Cumberland County Fair
1st Runner-up: Greene County Fair
2nd Runner-up: Robertson County Fair
Most Improved: Gibson County Fair
Premiere Awards (selected from among previous winners):
Champion of Champions: Sevier County Fair
Division AA: White County Fair
Division AAA: Lauderdale 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, according to the press release. Other 2021 honorees include Libby Strange of the Sevier County Fair who received the Judy Basse Memorial Award for outstanding fair secretary, and Phil Booher of the Appalachian Fair who received the Thornton Taylor Award for outstanding dedication to the fair programs in Tennessee.
“Agriculture is the heart of Tennessee’s fairs,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said in a statement. “Fairs promote agriculture education among all ages. For some, attending a county fair is the only way they are exposed to farming and its connection to everyday life. All fairs are an asset in highlighting agriculture as Tennessee’s top industry.”
In 2021, nearly 2.7 million visitors attended county, regional, and state fairs in Tennessee, enjoying more than 153,000 exhibits in livestock, farm crops, competitions, and other exhibitions, the press release notes. More than 18,000 volunteers made those fairs possible, with events contributing $12.8 million in economic impact.
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