Recently the Macon Telegraph reported the Georgia State Fair would not be returning to Macon in 2012. The fair has been coming to Macon since 1851 and operated by the Exchange Club of Macon since 1942. The Fair originated at Stone Mountain, Georgia and moved to Atlanta before finally resting in Macon.
The Georgia State Fair is a non-profit organization with profits benefitting local charities of Central Georgia, specifically those benefitting Child Abuse Prevention. The fair generated its profits by providing various midway games and rides and many food booths. The annual event is held in Macon’s Central City Park every year and has attracted visitors and vendors from all over the state of Georgia.
Many church, civic, and other organizations have raised money for their various projects at the Fair including 4-H clubs and FFA. According to the Georgia State Fair website, the Fair has given away its profits amounting to over $1,700,000 over the past years. In combination with its various sponsors, the Georgia State Fair has generated profits over $5,000,000 for the local community, according to the Fair’s website.
Sponsors of the Fair include Mercer University, College Hill and the Macon Telegraph, which interviewed president of the fair’s Board of Directors, Don Johstono, for last Friday’s article. Johstono could not disclose what the exact tallies for the vote were, being as votes were taken via secret ballot.
Don Johstono speculated to the Telegraph that the financial aspects of the fair were brought up before the vote. He also mentioned to the Telegraph that “the fair has not generated income above its expenses in recent years.” Johstono did not state whether the fair would be returning in following years, but told the Telegraph “that tradition speaks for itself,” an optimistic view for the fair.
The fair typically occurred around Mother’s Day weekend and hosted many events throughout the duration of its operation, including events for Pre-K and senior citizens. It also hosted performers including The Key and The GRAPEVINE in concert during its 2011 operation.
The Georgia State Fair also featured various types of livestock exhibits, including a petting zoo.
Mercer senior Scotty Lester told the Cluster after learning the news of the fair that he would be sad to see the fair go. However, he thinks the absence of the Georgia State Fair will encourage more attendance at other local events such as the Cherry Blossom Festival. Lester also confessed that while he had never attended the fair, he is still sad it is not returning.
Senior Abigail Foy stated that she attended the 2011 Georgia State Fair for The GRAPEVINE concert. “It was a fun Macon event,” Foy said, “a lot like Cherry Blossom [Festival] but still really fun.”
For more information about the Georgia State Fair, you can visit their website at georgiastatefair.org. The Exchange Club of Macon’s website can be found at exchangeclubofmacon.org. You can also pick up Friday’s issue of The Macon Telegraph for their full story on the fair.