Tennessee fairs were presented with top honors at the 101st Tennessee Association of Fairs Annual Convention held Jan. 19-21, 2023 in Murfreesboro. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture and Tennessee Association of Fairs presented awards to the best county, regional, and state agricultural fairs of the 2022 season.
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 Cumberland County Fair received the highest honor when it was named the Champion of Champions Fair for 2022. The Champion of Champions is selected from the 2021 division winners.
“Fairs showcase Tennessee’s heritage and agricultural strengths,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher D.V.M. said. “Fairgoers of all ages can experience farming family traditions, and events are a great way to foster a love of agriculture in our young people. It’s rewarding to see counties across Tennessee be successful in their outreach and education through their local fairs.”
“The value of agricultural fairs is immeasurable,” Tennessee Association of Fairs President Scott Jones said. “While fairs generate tens of millions of dollars for our state’s economy through local businesses and hospitality industries, they play more a crucial role in the advancement, education, and public awareness of that pillar of life—agriculture. Ancillary benefits boost family fun and affordable entertainment while uniting communities. Fairs continue to be an essential need for cultivating and continuing the spirit of Tennessee agriculture.”
2022 Fair Category Winners:
State Champion: Decatur County Fair
1st Runner-up: Benton County Fair
2nd Runner-up: Fentress County Fair
Most Improved: Humphreys County Fair
State Champion: Dyer County Fair
1st Runner-up: Henry County Fair
2nd Runner-up: Warren County Fair
Most Improved: Lincoln County Fair
State Champion: Gibson County Fair
1st Runner-up: Williamson County Fair
2nd Runner-up: Greene County Fair
Most Improved: Coffee County Fair
Premiere Awards (selected from among previous winners)
Champion of Champion: Putnam County Fair
Division AA: Obion County Fair
Division AAA: Clay 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 2022 honorees include Wayne Davenport of the Warren County Fair, who received the Judy Basse Memorial Award for outstanding fair secretary; Will Lowery of the Gibson County Fair who received the Thornton Taylor Award for outstanding dedication to the fair programs in Tennessee, and Scott Jones of the Wilson County Fair – Tennessee State Fair who received the Vernon Henson Memorial Plaque.
The statewide Fair Showcase offered prize money and awards in 40 categories. In its 24th year, the competition drew 511 entries from 39 fairs.
In 2022, nearly three million visitors attended county, regional, and state fairs in Tennessee, enjoying more than 214,000 exhibits. There were more than 74,000 entries in livestock and farm crop competitions and other exhibitions. Fairs contribute considerable economic impact across the state and promote community involvement.