Tennessee State Fair Captures the Imagination
As the days of summer shorten into crisp nights heralding the change of season, Tennesseans celebrate with fairs and festivals across the state. This weekend marks the start of the Tennessee State Fair, which runs for 10 days from September 7-16 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville.
Except for a four-year span during World War II, the Tennessee State Fair has been held every year since 1906. It’s a tradition that takes people back to the roots of an agricultural society when life was simple and uncomplicated, so this is your chance to revisit that experience.
What are your favorite memories from visiting the fair as a child? For me it’s always been about the animals. This year a brand new sand arena for equestrian events will showcase barrel racing, English and Western jumping, a hippotherapy clinic, equine clinic, roping competition, horse shows, Miss Mule Day, the Tennessee Mounted Patrol and Tennessee Walking Horses.
Don’t forget the excitement of pig racing and mule pulling, or see if you can pick the blue ribbon winners as sheep, cows, pigs and goats parade before the judges.
The best way to enjoy the fair is to check the schedule online and pick the day of your favorite events. For all the kids among you – and for kids who’ve never grown up – it’s hard to beat Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream Eating Contest for delicious fun! That happens Sunday, September 9, 1:30-2:00 p.m. and each winner will receive a special trophy.
The thrilling rides on the Midway are the highlight of every fair. The sights, sounds and smells are intoxicating. Who can resist the aroma of fresh roasted corn and sweet funnel cakes, sticky pink cotton candy and ice cold snowcones, or competing for prized stuffed toys with balls and squirt guns?
The State Fair is also a wonderful opportunity for local artists to demonstrate their skills. As you explore the creative art exhibits you’re bound to become inspired to test your own talents. Maybe you could bake a winning pie, come up with a glorious floral arrangement, try your hand at quilting, or take up art lessons. Photo exhibits remind us of our different perspectives on life, and the intricate wonders of creation.
If you like a more interactive experience, there are demonstrations of hand weaving, woodturning and pottery, with the opportunity to chat with artisans at work.
This year’s State Fair will also feature a new Green Collar Exhibit, with educational exhibits and demonstrations focusing on green, sustainable practices. Learn how to make your own biodiesel from disgarded cooking oil, hear about Dr. Cliff Ricketts’ ride across America in his solar and hydrogen powered car, or glean great tips on backyard farming – lasagna gardening, backyard composting, preserving fresh produce, rooftop gardening and backyard poultry.
Fitting for Music City, the free entertainment line-up includes 10 days of bluegrass music on the Bluegrass Stage, and feature acts such as The Grascals, Delicious Blues Stew, The WannaBeatles and Terri Lynn Weaver. The Grascals, named Instrumental Group of the Year at the 39th Annual SPBGMA Awards in 2012, will perform on Thursday, Sept. 13, in the grandstand.
On September 7 & 8 at the fair, Beauty Queens across the state are donating their crowns for terminally ill children at the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The children will be crowned ‘Queen for a Day’ later in September.
The Tennessean’s “Ms. Cheap” will emcee a fun course of fashion, food and fitness on FiftyForward Free Fair Day. Join her in the Women’s Building on Tuesday, September 11, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Nashville Symphony Maestro Giancarlo Guerrero will make a special guest appearance!