Appalachian Fair opens Monday for 97th year

Published 12:49 pm Thursday, August 17, 2023

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The Appalachian Fair at Gray will kick off Monday, Aug. 21, for the 97th year. This year’s theme is “Homegrown Traditions” and this year’s fair will feature plenty of homegrown traditional as well as some new events.
The fair will feature plenty of entertainment, including Christian artist Zach Williams on the fair’s opening night Monday. Williams is known for his song “There Was Jesus,” ‘Chain Breaker,” “Rise Up,” and “Heart of God.”
The remainder of the week features country music stars such as newcomers like Joe Nichols on Tuesday; Scotty McCreery on Wednesday; Chayce Beckham and Travis Denning on Thursday; and Josh Turner on Friday.
Pop turned-country music star Elle King will close the fair out on Saturday night. She is known for songs such as “Ex’s and Oh’s.” “Drunk,” “Best of You,” and “Lucky.”
Other fair attractions include the new Sub Zero ride from James H. Drew exhibition. Other rides include the pirate ship, the Seattle Wheel, a large Ferris wheel, as well as numerous other rides for both young and old.
The Fairest of the Fair Contest will be held Monday at 7 p.m. This year’s event has 15 contestants, all competing for the Fairest of the Fair title. The Little Miss Pageant is Tuesday at 12 noon.
In addition to music and rides, the fair will offer farm animals, games, food, and more. Some of the fair’s popular attractions include the Barnyard Nursery & the Tennessee Wildlife Exhibit, where fairgoers can see “live” animals – everything from donkeys to ducks, fish to turtles, and wild animals in their natural habitat.
Ape’s Farm will return with agriculture education for young and old alike. Fair visitors can see how agriculture affects everyone’s life daily. Parents can take the time to sit and cool off while their children play in the farm, dig in the corn pit, ride a tractor, and more.
The fair will be awarding both ribbons and premiums all week to exhibitors of sheep, beef, and dairy cattle in the Livestock Barns.
The Farm & Home Building located in the middle of the fairgrounds is home to competitive exhibits involving culinary competitions, canned goods, field crops, needlework, and photography, just to name a few.
Youth competitions are coordinated through 4-H, FFA, FCCLA, and CTE groups throughout the Appalachian Highlands region. Each group is competing for ribbons, prize money and scholarships.
The fair will run through August 26. The exhibit buildings and rides will be open from 3 to 10 p.m. each day except for Saturday. On Saturday, the exhibit building and rides will open at 10 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.

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