By CONNIE ESHThe Wilson Post
Those attending Cumberland University’s annual Second Cup of Coffee Lecture Tuesday learned that the Wilson County Fair is now ranked as one of the 50 best fairs in the nation.
That was the word from Hale Moss, president of Wilson County Promotions, Inc., sponsor of the fair, who was the guest speaker for the Second Cup of Coffee gathering.
The fair, which went from 12,000 attending in 1979 to 466,119 in attendance in 2008, is celebrating 30 years under the guidance of Wilson County Promotions this year. Moss said part of why that has happened is because the philosophy behind the fair.
“A fair should be a giant mirror which reflects the entire community,” Moss said. “So when a lady asked us why we had a dog show but no cat show, we asked her to help us develop one. Now the fair has both a dog and a cat show, but not on the same night, of course.”
He also said the fair will continue to add various events that will encourage young and old alike to come and compete in the events and enjoy the fair.
The Board of Directors of Wilson County Promotions has set the fair this year for Aug. 21-29 and is planning on adding more new events this year.
A new arena was built in 2008, Moss said, and hosted the inaugural Betty Freeman Memorial Horse Show on opening night. And this year there are plans to add some new contests, including a photography contest.
Photographers would sign up for the contest and be given an hour and a half to take a winning photo, then the photos would be judged and a winner declared.
The new arena is one example of how the fair benefits the county, Moss said. It was built in part with profits from the fair.
“We plan our budget to make at least $100,000 on the fair each year. That money is invested in the James E. Ward Agriculture Center, or in Fiddlers Grove,” he noted.
In addition to that investment, the fair “invests” in the community in other ways, too, he said, by buying materials locally needed to run the fair, for example.
“Last year, we spent $900,000 on the fair,” he said. “We tell people who like to shop we’re spending $100,000 a day on the fair.”
Diesel to operate the rides, feed for the animals, food items for concession stands are among the items purchased locally for the run of the fair, Moss added.
Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.