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Fair has $12 M impact on local economy

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The findings were released on Tuesday. The fair was held Aug. 21-29 at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center/Wilson County Fairgrounds.

New records were set this year for attendance and economic impact despite the economic recession. Wilson County Promotions, Inc., which puts on the fair each year, reported a record attendance of 505,434 people, an increase of 39,315 from the 2008 total attendance. A new daily attendance record was set on Saturday, Aug. 22 with 105,779 people, an increase of 5,441 people from the first Saturday of the fair in ’08.

“Tourism means more than dollars and cents to local residents. Visitors pay taxes and contribute to the economy, which equates to tax relief for local residents,” said Ricky Rodriguez, director of the Wilson County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The fair this year was based around the theme “Celebrating 30 Years of Volunteers.” As always, it featured nightly entertainment, rides, games, contests, agricultural shows, commercial exhibits and much more. The Fiddler’s Grove Historic Village offered living history demonstrations and allowed visitors to experience what life was like during the turn of the century in Wilson County. The Village consists of original and replicated buildings such as a one-room schoolhouse, working blacksmith shop, doctor’s office, jail and grist mill.

The nine-day event also featured music from country music entertainers Darryl Worley, a Wilson County resident, and Mandy Barnett, a singer/actress who played the lead role in the show “Always…Patsy Cline.”

There were also agricultural shows and competitions, cooking, creative arts, gardening, livestock, talent, pageants, dancing, bluegrass, motorized events and more.

Wilson County Fair has consistently been one of the largest county fairs in the region. The fair is a three-time winner of the “Champion of Champions” award, was voted “Best Fair in the State” by readers of The Tennessee Electric Magazine and selected as a “Top 20 Southeast Tourism Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society.

For more information on this past fair or plans in the works for next year’s fair, visit www.wilsoncountyfair.net.

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