Sep 30 – Oct 9, 2016
The Georgia State Fair tradition began in 1846 by the Southern Central Agricultural Society. The purpose of the fair was to create an event that would promote Georgia Farmers and agriculture interests throughout Georgia and into the adjacent states, with this in mind, the first Georgia State Fair was held at Stone Mountain. Due to the large response to the fair, it was moved to Atlanta in 1850. After seeking a more centralized location, they settled at the fairgrounds in Macon a year later. The Seventh Street fairgrounds housed the fair until the Civil War, which was then transformed into Camp Oglethorpe. Post-Civil War, the fair was held in different cities throughout Georgia.
By 1871, the 273 acre Central City Park was transformed into the permanent location for the fair. This project included creating the entrance gate, buildings to house the expositions, main stage, race track, and even a terrace on the river bank. The Georgia State Fair’s ownership changed many times throughout the next 100 years, and by 1982 the Macon Exchange Club Fair Association (MECFA) was formed to purchase it. 1990 brought the appearance of another fair being held in the fall and in close proximity to the Georgia State Fair, which resulted in the fall dates of 2009 being postponed to the spring of 2010. Unfortunately, the springtime fair was not able to continue in the agriculture and livestock programs and after a few years of running the event at a loss, the MECFA voted to discontinue the tradition of the fair.
In 2011 the MECFA contacted a Tennessee-based company, Universal Fairs, to come discuss taking ownership and continue this great Georgia tradition. Universal Fairs purchased the Georgia State Fair in 2011 and in 2012 decided to hold the spring fair as well as add a fall fair hosted at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The focus of Universal Fairs is to return the Georgia State Fair back to its former glory and rebuild the agriculture and livestock programs that the first fair was founded upon.