Going to the fair has been a fall tradition for at least three generations of Cobb Countians and this year celebrates its 80th anniversary. It’s the largest show of its type in metro Atlanta and annually attracts close to 300,000 people. How does the fair manage to do it year after year? By combining carnival attractions, country music, gospel music (both black and white) and traditional clean-cut entertainment.
Fair-goers this year, as before, are apt to come across flower shows, blue-ribbon competitions, beauty contests, square dancers, farm animals, singers and all sorts of tasty food.
A star attraction this year will be the 90-foot-tall Seattle Wheel Ferris Wheel, which was absent during last year’s fair due to renovations. This year’s fair also will mark the second year in operation of the WildCat Rollercoaster, which features an overlapping and interlocking figure-8 configuration that is 215 feet long, 75 feet deep and 60 feet high. Riders enjoy tight turns and sharp drops at 40 mph. Keep in mind as well that the WildCat is the largest fair rollercoaster in the country.
“It’s going to be the biggest and largest year in the history of the fair,” said second-year fair President Jay Whorton, a board member for 35 years. “We just keep adding something new every year.”
Several new shows have been added this year, including “Horses, Horses, Horses!”; “Atlanta Puppet,” featuring puppeteer Peter Hart; and “Al the Artist,” who bicycles a cartoon car around the grounds when not sketching visitors.
Among the featured musical acts this year are Sara Evans, Thompson Square, Colt Ford and Mark Wills.
All shows are free with paid admission to the fairgrounds, which is $7 for adults and free for children 10 and under. Tickets for rides are $1 each, with books of 22 tickets going for $20 or 55 tickets for $50. Most rides require three or four tickets, with the rollercoaster taking five.
Parking cost is just $3.
“It’s a great community event and affordable entertainment,” said fair manager Tod Miller. “We’re in the business of ‘fun’ and we think we provide that, along with a good family atmosphere.”
As always, a cornerstone of the fair will be the James H. Drew Exposition carnival midway, including the tilt-a-whirl, carnival rides, kiddy rides, pony rides, cotton candy — you name it.
The Fair opened on Thursday and runs through Sept. 30.
If rides aren’t your thing, there also will be numerous exhibits ranging from baked goods to quilting to plants to dancing.
Fair hours are 12:30 to 10 p.m. today and next Sunday, 4 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to midnight on Friday and 10 a.m. to midnight Sept. 29.
For more on the fair, call (770) 423-1330, read the advertisement elsewhere in this newspaper or visit www.northgeorgiastatefair.com.
The North Georgia State Fair is one of Cobb County’s finest traditions, one whose arrival every September helps herald the coming of fall to our county. We’re glad to see it continuing to thrive and evolve.