By JENNIFER HORTONThe Wilson Post
There will be no excuse for anyone saying “I’m bored” at the 2009 Wilson County Fair which opens Friday at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center/Wilson County Fairgrounds.
There is literally something for everyone at the fair.
Volunteers, more than 400 of them, take center stage this year, so to speak, because a fair that usually draws in excess of 400,000 people could not do so on the level it exists without them, officials say often. That said, the theme of this year’s fair is “Celebrating 30 Years of Volunteers.”
The fair, said Johnny Knowles, a longtime member of the Wilson County Fair Board, “is put on by volunteers. Nobody’s getting paid for it.”
Craig Browning, public information officer for the fair, said that without the volunteers, “now 400-plus, it wouldn’t be what it is now.”
Those volunteers head up everything including livestock shows, the always popular Demolition Derbys, pageants, exhibits, contests of all kinds, food and beverages, rides, entertainment, the 2nd Annual Betty B. Freeman Memorial Walking Horse Classic, events in Fiddler’s Grove and more.
There are several new events that have been added this year including Arm Wrestling, Barrel Racing, a reenactment of the Gunfight at OK Corral in Fiddler’s Grove, a Salsa Contest, a Shutter Bug Digital Camera Photo Contest, Guitar Hero/Battle of the Bands. There are other new events, as well. Check your copy of the fair catalog or visit www.wilsoncountyfair.net for more information.
Like music? There will be plenty of it, from country and bluegrass to gospel and rock (well, maybe not classical). And the fair again this year will feature a concert by a top-selling country music artist who also calls Wilson County home. Darryl Worley will appear in a concert sponsored by Burchett Ford Lincoln Mercury at the Covered Arena at 7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 24.
Worley’s newest studio release is “Sounds Like Life.” His six albums have produced 17 singles including three number ones: “I Miss My Friend,” “Have You Forgotten?” and “Awful, Beautiful Life.” His latest single is “Sounds Like Life to Me.”
Admission to Worley’s concert is included in the regular admission price to the fair.
The Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree will be broadcast live from the Pageant Stage at midnight, Saturday, Aug. 22. The Jamboree has been broadcast for 62 years on radio station WSM 650-AM.
Among other performers set to appear are Billy Montana, Scott Ellis School of Irish Dance, Johnny Carver, Tom and Beverly Grant, Jim Ed Brown, Mandy Barnett, Johnny Counterfit, New Hope Quartet, One Way Out, Stoney Lonesome and many more.
Browning noted there are several new performers who will be entertaining the crowds this year. “Most are community members.”
Wilson County’s Best Steak Competition is set for Saturday, Aug. 22, and the Chili Cook-Off will be Saturday, Aug. 29.
Rides? Amusements of America returns this year to provide thrills and perhaps chills on rides like the Extreme which spins those brave enough to try it to just past horizontal then brings them back to horizontal at a speed of 4Gs. There will, of course, be rides for young children (and their parents) to enjoy.
Amusements of America is based in Englishtown, N.J. Knowles said the Guinness Book of World Records calls Amusements of America “the largest traveling amusement park.”
As if all of these events were not enough, even more is planned. “From the youngest child to the oldest senior,” Knowles noted.
The Al Menah Shrine Temple has joined with Wilson County Promotions, Inc., Independent Midway Committee and Amusements of America to offer special needs individuals a chance to enjoy the fair on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 22.
Knowles, who is also a member of the Al Menah Shrine Temple, said there is a family that is coming from California to attend the fair after they heard about the special needs day.
Browning said his aunt and uncle are coming to attend the fair from their home in Baltimore, Md.
Members of the fair board continue to spread the word about the annual event which draws from many counties in Tennessee and other states nearby. Browning is to appear on a radio station in Cookeville today, and noted its signal can be picked up as far south as Birmingham, Ala. to points east and west in Tennessee.
The Great Give-A-Way will feature $1,000 in cash at 8:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 21 through Monday, Aug. 24, and Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 26-27. A new car, truck or tractor will be given away on Tuesday, Aug. 25. All drawings will be held at the Grand Stand Arena.
Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children 6-12 and free for children 5 and under. See your fair catalog or visit online for more information regarding ticket prices. The fair is sponsored by Middle Tennessee Ford Dealers.
With all of these events, and others too numerous to be included, boredom is not an option.
Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at email@example.com.