By Crystal Burns
The oldest continuously running fair in the South is going back to its roots.
Not by choice, the 165th Gibson County Fair will look similar to the first one held here in October of 1856. There will be no Ferris wheels, demolition derbies, fiddle sticks, or corn dogs. Instead, the fair will focus on its youth exhibits and livestock shows, putting the emphasis squarely on agriculture just as the Tennessee General Assembly intended in 1855 when it encouraged every county in the state to host agricultural fairs in the fall.
The Gibson County Fair has not missed a year since 1869, and this year’s board was determined to continue the tradition as safely as possible in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.
“After much consideration, thought, planning, and decision making the tradition will continue in 2020, though the schedule has been trimmed each week since our initial announcement,” said Zach Marbry, fair board president. “Everything is going to look a whole lot different, as we are getting back to the basics.”
There will be no midway or concessions. All persons attending the fair must wear appropriate face coverings and follow CDC guidelines of social distancing and frequent hand washing/sanitation.
“All appropriate guidelines will be followed during the shows and in the exhibit hall, including the order of the county mayor requiring all persons to be in a face covering while on county property,” Marbry said. “The face covering may be a face mask with nose and mouth covered or a full-face shield that remains down while on the property. These are not ideal circumstances and 2020 has been a year of changes for everyone. Though you may not be able to grab your favorite fair food or ride your favorite ride, we encourage each of you to pay close attention to the exhibits and the shows as the children of Gibson County showcase their months of hard work.”
The Durand Lowery Building will be open for youth entries Saturday, Aug. 29 and Sunday, Aug. 30 from 1 to 5 p.m. Exhibits are open to the public from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31-Friday, Sept. 4. Livestock shows begin Monday, Aug. 31 and wrap up Saturday, Sept. 5.
See the full schedule and exhibit guidelines on the Gibson County Fair Facebook page.