The Appalachian Fair is “Celebrating 85 Years of Memories” with a full week of entertainment, food and fun for the whole family, beginning Aug. 22 and continuing daily through Aug. 27.
From its humble beginnings as a community fair that paid just $45 in premium money, the Appalachian Fair has blossomed into the second largest fair in the state of Tennessee. Now a regional fair, it pays out more than $150,000 in premiums and encompasses approximately 100 acres.
“It just keeps getting bigger and better,” said long-time fair secretary Sherry Shadden.
More than a midway, the fair offers a host of competitive exhibits, educational displays, food choices, livestock shows and entertainment options. Here’s a look at what’s on tap for the anniversary edition:
85th anniversary events
One of the highlights of the 2011 celebration will be the return of the high-flying Golden Knights Parachute Team. The team, the U.S. Army’s Parachute Team, returns to the fair after more than a decade’s absence.
As the “Official Ambassadors of the Army,” they have performed more than 15,000 shows in all 50 states and 48 countries.
The Golden Knights will thrill fair-goers with their spectacular air show just before the Main Stage concerts, Aug. 22-24, at approximately 7 p.m.
Those who want to delve into the fair’s storied past will want to make time to stop by The Museum Building, where each year demonstrators and exhibits showcase the region’s heritage.
Two special exhibits — one honoring the fair’s history and another honoring long-time fair president Richard Shadden, who died unexpectedly in May — will remain on display in the Museum Building throughout the week.
Visitors will have the opportunity to peruse old photos, newspaper clippings, and board meeting minutes dating back to the fair’s earliest days. The Museum Building will also be home to one of three photo slideshow video loops, featuring pictures from the fair’s first 85 years. The other displays will be set up in the Farm & Home Building and the livestock viewing areas. A special White Glove Quilt Show, featuring quilts from the 1800s, will also be held in the Museum Building.
The Main Stage lineup includes some of country music’s fastest rising stars. The concerts will begin at 8 p.m., nightly. Grandstand seating is included in fair admission. Reserved seating is an additional $8 per show.
Jerrod Niemann, best known for his Top 15 smash “Lover, Lover,” kicks things off Aug. 22, followed by Warner Bros. Records’ Frankie Ballard, who toured with Uncle Kracker and in March was announced as an opening act on Taylor Swift’s U.S. arena tour, on Aug. 23; Thompson Square, the husband-and-wife duo of Keifer and Shawna Thompson, on Aug. 24; Colt Ford, with his imposing physique and larger than life personality, on Aug. 25; Justin Moore, who rocketed onto the country scene in 2008 with his debut single “Back That Thing Up,” on Aug. 26; and country newcomer Bradley Gaskin on Aug. 27.
Reserved seat tickets for the Main Stage concerts, if available, can be purchased at the fairgrounds’ ticket office or by calling (423) 477-1420.
In addition to the Main Stage lineup, the Museum Stage will host the Fairest of the Fair pageant, at 8 p.m., Aug. 22; the Little Miss Contest, at 6 p.m., Aug. 23; Daisi Rain, at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 24; the Youth Talent Contest, at 7 p.m., Aug. 25; Savannah Jack, at 7 and 8 p.m., Aug. 26; and After Six at 7 p.m., and The Has Beens, at 8:30 p.m., Aug. 27.
The Appalachian Arena has a full slate of fast-paced action on tap as well.
Moto-cross kicks things off at 7 p.m., Aug. 22-24; followed by round-track racing at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 25. Drag runs will be held at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 26, followed by the wildly popular demolition derby at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 27.
The Museum Building focuses on the region’s heritage and offers a wide range of displays, including an early East Tennessee kitchen, a Victorian dining room and parlor, a log cabin, an authentic country store (offering candy by the scoop for just 50 cents), a blacksmith shop, post office and antique farm equipment.
The garden areas, which have been set up and designed by the University of Tennessee Master Gardeners program, include: an herb garden, oriental garden and water feature garden.
The Tennessee Wildlife Building, a partnership between the TWRA and the Appalachian Fair, gives children the opportunity to observe animals native to Tennessee in their natural habitat. It includes a working cave, fowl and fish exhibited in aquarium style settings, and a newly built turtle pond where children can crawl in and observe turtles in their natural habitat.
The fair features a full slate of Farm and Home exhibits, arts, crafts, canned goods, creative cooking, field crops, 4-H, FFA, FCCLA and livestock exhibits. It also includes a midway, of course, with ride specials offered at various times throughout the week.
The week starts off with School Day on Aug. 22, featuring free admission for students in grades K through 12 until 6 p.m. Family Midway specials offer unlimited rides for $18 per person from 3 until 7 p.m., Aug. 22 and Aug. 24.
On Tuesday, Aug. 23, the Drew Exposition is partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank and anyone who brings five cans or boxes of food products will receive coupons for two midway rides. There’s a limit of four offers per family, but those who bring a “Pick Tn Product” will get an extra ride coupon. A list is available on the Pick Tennessee Products website.
On Saturday, Aug. 27, the midway will offer its annual 2-for-1 Ride Special from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There’ll also be a very special one-hour free time, from 10 to 11 a.m., Aug. 27, when both rides and admission are free.
The midway and buildings open at 3 p.m., daily, except for Saturday when everything opens at 10 a.m.
Fair admission is $8 for adults, and $3 for children ages 6-11. Children 5 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Parking is $3 per car.
For a complete schedule of events, call (423) 477-1420 or visit w w w. a p p a l a c h i a n f a i r. c o