Sunday, February 5, 2023

County fair rundown: When, where and why you should attend


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Photo courtesy of Flickr

Story by Rachael Keisling / Contributing Writer

The Middle Tennessee fair season is right around the corner. Whether it’s the greasy, fried foods or the twisting and turning of the carnival rides that draw you in, the next two months will be a fair lover’s dream. There’s so much to do when visiting Tennessee so once you’ve visited all of the county fairs, you can head to Pigeon Forge for plenty more attractions. More info on these attractions can be found on the Smoky Mountain Vacation info website.

The fairs have varying sizes and attractions. Some have big Visual Display Systems surrounding the attractions and massive fair rides that suit any ages whereas others are smaller with fewer attractions. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to the smaller ones but it’s no secret that it takes some work planning which fair(s) to attend. But this year, you can leave all the researching and planning up to us. Here’s everything you need to know, based on scheduled events, about each fair coming to a park near you.

Bedford County Fair

When: July 23-29

Where: 2119 Midland Road, Shelbyville

Why you should attend: Besides the fact that this fair is the very first one, the Bedford County Fair will also be celebrating its 20th anniversary this fair season. Hitting a milestone like that calls for lots of fun to be had. Must-see events include a performance by the Mid State Cloggers of Shelbyville, the Fairest of the Fair beauty pageant and the various livestock competitions held throughout the seven-day duration. Carnival rides a-plenty are promised to entertain fair guests, and there will also be various prizes up for grabs at the carnival game booths.

For more information on the Bedford County Fair, click here.

Putnam County Fair

When: Aug. 3-12

Where: 155 Fairground St., Cookeville

Why you should attend: Although the Putnam County Fair is hidden somewhere in the boondocks, it’s one to attend. It stands out from all the other fairs in the way that it is more relaxing than the others, which are primarily focused on filling to capacity. Horse competitions, spirit jams, pig races, corn hole tournaments, cake-decorating and veterans honor guard demonstrations create the perfect southern atmosphere.

For more information on the Putnam County Fair, click here.

Williamson County Fair

When: Aug. 4-12

Where: 4215 Long Lane, Franklin

Why you should attend: Whether you visit the Williamson County Fair each year or you’re planning to go for the first time, there are many reasons you should attend this fair. First of all, the fried foods give the fair its classic fair vibe. But, there is more to do than just eat at this fair. If you’re a thrill-seeker, the upgraded roller coasters can offer a serge of adrenaline other fairs cannot. The fun doesn’t stop there, though. From the veterans memorial to the Elvis tribute, all the way to the scheduled performance by “The Voice” finalists The Swon Brothers, this fair has got it all.

For more information on the Williamson County Fair, click here.

Wilson County Fair

When: Aug. 18-26

Where: 945 East Baddour Parkway, Lebanon

Why you should attend: The many themes of the Wilson County Fair makes this one a fun one to attend. This year, fair-goers can enjoy the “Year of the Sunflower.” Along with the agriculture-based theme, this fair offers many different options for those wanting to get involved, including a pageant, baking exhibit and photography exhibit. The Wilson County Fair also plans to accommodate guests looking to be entertained with the return of the Oak Ridge Boys. For the second year in a row, Bates Ford of Lebanon will sponsor the event scheduled to take place Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on the Wilson County Fair, click here.

Robertson County Fair

When: Aug. 21-26

Where: 4635 Old US Highway 41 N., Springfield

Why you should attend: As the Robertson County Fair prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary this upcoming fair season, this fair’s history is more than enough to pull you in. Events you don’t want to miss at the Robertson County Fair include a motocross race, truck pull and derby. Also, for all the music enthusiasts, Second Hand Soul, Mike Younger and Rickie Lee Tanner are set to perform. Add the Robertson County Fair to your calendar now so you won’t forget to join the vast crowd for this historical fair in late August!

For more information on the Robertson County Fair, click here.

Maury County Fair

When: Aug. 29-Sept. 2

Where: 1018 Maury County Park Drive, Columbia

Why you should attend: This fair is action-packed with an abundance of rides and games. There will also be a motocross race, demolition derby and truck/tractor pull. Age is just a number at the Maury County Fair, though. With a free kids zone that includes a petting zoo, inflatables and pony rides, children are just as much welcome to this event as teens and adults are. You’ll also find all your typical fair foods here, and that includes those deliciously fried desserts.

For more information on the Maury County Fair, click here.

Dickson County Fair

When: Sept. 4-9

Where: 1053 Highway 47 E., Dickson

Why you should attend: Like the Robertson and Maury county fairs, this fair also offers a demolition derby and truck/tractor pull. Beauty pageant contests, ferris wheel rides and delicious carnival foods can all be found here. You also don’t want to miss the “meat goat classic show,” a competitive show involving livestock owners showing their goats.

For more information on the Dickson County Fair, click here.

Sumner County Fair

When: Sept. 4-9

Where: 222 Fairground Road, Gallatin

Why you should attend: Although this fair isn’t known for its rollercoasters and rides, the competition factor gives this fair its spark. They offer mule shows, 4-H club activities that are broken up into different categories, along with baby contests and non-professional baking competitions. The many competitions allow people of all ages, and interests, to get involved, including agriculturalists, bicyclists, men, women, teens, children and even babies. There will also be bluegrass music concerts over the course of the fair.

For more information on the Sumner County Fair, click here.

Tennessee State Fair

When: Sept. 8-17

Where: 500 Wedgewood Ave., Nashville

Why you should attend: Although this fair is more than a century (it began in 1906), the Tennessee State Fair is anything but old. With the 2017 theme being “Tennessee Proud,” the Tennessee Fair will soon do just that, make you proud to be a Tennessean. The livestock exhibit allows guests the chance to show their cattle, swine, sheep and almost any other animal that fits the category for a chance to win the big bucks and, of course, bragging rights. College students, look for the dodgeball tournament that you for a chance to win $250 for a charity of your choice.

For more information on the Tennessee State Fair, click here.

Although fair rides are some of the most inviting attractions fairs have to offer, they are certainly not the only attraction. If you’re looking to get involved in the local county fairs, there are plenty of opportunities for you, such as livestock shows and pageants.

No matter what brings you, you’re sure to find entertainment with the nine fairs listed above that’ll make you want to stay a while. Happy fair season!

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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