Georgia State Fair under new ownership

Spring celebrations continue as this May marks the 157th birthday of the annual Georgia State Fair.
The fair will return to Macon’s Central City Park with a kickoff on May 2 and will be in town until May 5.
Macon became the host of the fair in 1851 and is known as one of the longest running fairs in the country.
The operation of the fair has changed hands over time, from the Macon Chamber of Commerce to the Exchange Club of Macon. The Exchange Club is credited with establishing its current support of local charities and community service.
Until one year ago, the Exchange Club had given approximately $4,100,000 in total to Macon’s charities and organizations from the revenue of the fair.
However, in recent years, the fair lost money during its operations, and its return for spring 2012 was threatened.
This was until Universal Fairs of Memphis, Tenn/. bought the fair from the Exchange Club with the intention of reviving its income and popularity, maintaining its annual appearance in Macon.
The company is very invested in the imppact of fairs and now Macon can continue its tradition because of the change in ownership.
Reid Shuping, Marketing Director of Universal Fiars, said,“Fairs benefit their communities through education-based initiatives, incorporating local involvement and providing a community event that is safe, clean and family friendly.”
With more organizational experience, Universal Fairs successfully expanded the fair, making it bigger with a heavier emphasis on live entertainment, such as musical and variety acts.
Since the change of ownership, the fair is expected to be bigger than in previous years, with several dozen food and commercial vendors, as well as amusement rides and attractions.
Some of the attractions expected this year include the NoJoes Circus, complete with clown acts, a trapeze artist, and a new trampoline routine.
For animal lovers, an all-day petting zoo will be featured along with the Marvelous Mutts, a dog sport team that showcases canine athletes performing activities from obstacle courses to musical routines.
To witness something truly bizarre, the Banana Derby will be an exciting attraction to attend, as the dog-riding-monkey-jockeys race their canine steeds around a course.
The fair will arrive in Macon just in time for Mercer’s finals week.
For the stressed college student, this lighthearted carnival experience could be a great way to unwind after the tension of final exams.
Clay Mote, freshman music major, anticipates the upcoming festivities.
“I’ve never been to this fair before, but I love any and all rides that are guaranteed to make the average person sick. It’s no roller coaster, but I know that’s where I’d head to first,” said Mote.
Lauren Parris, a Georgia State Fair veteran and a recent Mercer graduate, said, “I’m not a huge ride person, so my favorite attractions they have had in the past would have to be the animal shows and the fireworks shows. The fireworks shows really are spectacular.”
Admission into the fair for guests 13 and up will be $7.
For the student with little siblings, admission for children ages 5-12 is $5.
Ages four and under are admitted for free.
For more information about the Georgia State Fair in Macon, go to www.georgiastatefair.org.