Wilson County Fair Celebrated at the IAFE Awards Ceremony


2019 proved to be an outstanding year for our Wilson County Fair as attendance increased as well as the number of awards received from the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE).  1,913 entries were judged by industry professionals, and awards were presented during the annual IAFE Convention held in San Antonio, Texas in December. Winners were selected from the membership of the IAFE which has over 1,800 members from around the globe. Wilson County received a total of 34 awards in five categories, including Agriculture Awards, Competitive Awards, Communications Awards, Sponsorship Awards and Non-Fair Facility Usage.

Agriculture Awards –

1st place – Agriculture Programs Video – Video created by Doug Fiehweg

1st place – Agriculture Program Area Beautification – Facelift to Barns

2nd place – Agriculture Communications – Using website and social media to promote Agriculture Programs to Exhibitors

3rd place – Technique/Procedure/Policy Developed by Fair Management to Correct an Issue or Challenge Related to an Agricultural Program – New Agriculture Commodity

3rd place – Newly Established or Evolving Program/Exhibit at Your Fair Which Promotes Agriculture to the Fair-Going Public – Sheep to Shawl

3rd place – Agriculture Individual Photo:  Horticulture/Crops – Vegetable Display

3rd place – Agriculture Individual Photo:  Ag Education (4-H/FFA) – AgSimulator

3rd place – New or Unique Animal Competition (Class or Division) – Southeastern Regional Sheep Show


Competitive Awards

1st place – Use of Theme Throughout Multiple Divisions of Competitive Exhibits – Celebrating “Year of Wool” and Grand Celebration

1st place – Competitive Exhibits New Display Method and/or Prop – Fleece/Wool Show Display

1st place – New Single Class of Non-Animal Competitive Exhibits – Adult Consumer Sciences – Spinning & Weaving

1st place – Create It On The Spot – Brick Olympics

1st place – Participatory Contest – Robotics Challenge

1st place – Special Contest – FCE Fashion Revue

1st place – Off Season Non-Animal Contest – Ghost in the Grove

1st place – Fair Activity to Increase Awareness of Competitive Exhibits – Educational Demonstrations

2nd place – New Method to Attract New Competitive Exhibitors – New Division in Adult Consumer Sciences (Ag Commodity)

2nd place – Competitive Exhibit Display-Single Photo – Egg Display

2nd place – Competitive Exhibit Display-Photo Series – Photo of exhibits in South Hall

2nd place – General Display at your Fair-Photo Series – Metal Art – Sheep

3rd place – New Contest to Attract New Competitive Exhibitors – Fleece Competition


Communication Awards –

1st place – Commemorative Poster-Sheep Shearing

2nd place – Electronic Newsletter – Fiddlers Note

2nd place – Promotional Event – Farmers Appreciation Breakfast

2nd place – Best Marketing Campaign

3rd place – Newspaper Ad:  Black & White – Great Giveaway

3rd place – Magazine Ad – Getaway Magazine

3rd place – Single Brochure/Flyer – Flyer with lamb and listing of entertainment

3rd place – Printed Promotional Material – Catalog

3rd place – Web Advertisement – JACK FM ad

3rd place – Unique Advertising Specialties/Merchandise/Souvenirs – T-shirts, hat, mug, cooling wrap & pin

3rd place – Website


Sponsorship Awards

2nd place – Sponsorship Continuity – Cracker Barrel

3rd place – First Time Sponsorship – A Cut Above


Non-Fair Facility Usage

2nd place – Successful Non-Fair Event – Dancing Lights of Christmas


(Picture 1)

Helen McPeak, Executive Director of the Wilson County Fair, was recognized for successfully completing the required course of study in the Institute of Fair Management of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions. She received recognition for this great achievement at the 2019 IAFE Convention.


(Picture 2)

Wilson County Fair attendees at the IAFE included Marianne Pelletier, Quintin Smith, Helen McPeak, Terry McPeak, Tim Taylor, Vickie Smith, Shari Bazydola, Lynette Taylor, Johnnie Webb and Cathy Germain.


(8-19-19) From the Desk of Chief Mike Justice: Update

From the desk of Lebanon Police Department Chief Mike Justice:

48 hours after the events that took place at the Wilson County Fair, that caused great fear for many fair goers, we would like to give an update on our investigation.

To recap, at approximately 10:14 PM, Saturday night, two groups of juveniles got into a physical altercation in the midway area of the fairgrounds. As Sheriffs Deputies and LPD Officers rushed to the scene, the surrounding crowd began to disperse and run from the area. During this, several individuals, with malicious and negligent intent, starting yelling words that to an innocent bystander, would lead them to believe that persons with weapons were shooting in that area. This caused an immediate panic to those nearby and people began to frantically flee the area. What ensued was a lightning fast social media storm of posts that stated there was an active shooting situation taking place at the Fair. Many posted that they heard gunshots, some even stated they saw weapons. Minutes after the initial notification of the fight by members of the fair board, the immediate area was locked down, meaning no one was allowed to enter the area, during the initial phase of this very fluid situation.
Subsequently, Four juveniles, who were identified as the primary aggressors, were extracted from the area and detained. They were later transported and charged with disorderly conduct. Three others were identified (by facial recognition software utilized during the fair) as instigators in inciting fear and our investigation will be continuing on potential charges against them.
After approximately 25-30 minutes, the area of the initial incident was reopened and patrons were allowed to continue without restriction.

Given this, Fair operations were allowed to resume until well after 12:30 am, when it was scheduled to close, with no further incident.

In the last 48 hours, we have interviewed dozens of people who were witnesses to the situation. Many were understandably shaken and upset with what took place. They perceived the situation as being an actual active threat. No one reported that they saw an actual weapon, but some reported what they believed to be gunshots. To date, no viable report has come to our department or the Sheriff’s Office of anyone seeing a weapon firsthand.
We have also interviewed all officers involved and they stated they heard the shouting and the reference to gunfire, but there were no gunshots nor any weapons present on suspects in the response area. In fact, responding Officers had radioed back to our Central Command during the incident and advised them that there were no weapons visable nor were there gunshots present in the area. Many of our Officers, as well as Deputies that responded, had stated that they were impacted by the sight of people fleeing in fear. But at no time did they see a weapon or hear gunshots during the incident.

We have reviewed hours of video footage from our surveillance system, which encompasses all areas of the grounds, and we have not found any evidence of weapons present.

A leading question that has been asked is why would people report hearing gunshots if there were none. We do not want to downplay or dismiss anyone’s reaction or recollection of this event. We recognize and are aware that this was an extremely terrifying event for several people. But given the chaotic circumstances of the event, people’s perceptions may have been eschewed.

In conclusion, it is our finding that this traumatic event was triggered by a youth fight, further propagated by individuals who were callous and reckless by shouting out things that lead others to believe guns were present and being fired, and further exacerbated by a social media frenzy of misinformation.

Our thoughts go out to those who were in genuine fear and traumatized during this incident. Our thanks go to not only the officers who responded quickly to mitigate the situation, but the countless other responders and volunteers who joined in to protect fair goers and officers alike.

And lastly, hundreds of hours go into preparation, planning and training amongst all agencies involved, as it pertains to the Fair.

As you can imagine, the Lebanon Police Department and the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office will always go the extra mile for the protection of our citizens everyday. Furthermore, like many of you, we are parents of children that begin two months out talking about the Fair coming to town.

We all have a vested interest, so please remember, “If you see something, say something.” Don’t hesitate to report anything you feel is suspicious or abnormal.

(8-17-19) Statement from Lebanon Police Chief Mike Justice

Saturday, August 17

Earlier this evening we received reports of an altercation involving several juveniles that were involved in an altercation. The juveniles actions caused a disruption in the crowded area of the midway. There were initial reports of shots being fired but after investigation it was a false report. We have taken several subjects into custody and after reviewing footage from our surveillance system more charges could follow. After the initial incident was resolved the activities within the fairgrounds resumed as normal. Our main statement from this incident is that fairgoers are safe and are well protected by numerous sheriffs deputy’s as well as LPD officers

Chief of Police Mike Justice

(7-22-19) Fairest of the Fair Pageant Announcement

Register online through July 31, 2019, or in person on Sunday, August 11, from 1-4pm (no exceptions) to compete in the Wilson County Fair’s Fairest of the Fair Pageant to be held on Monday, August 19 in the Wilson County Expo Center.
Our Wilson County Fair’s Fairest of the Fair is a prestigious position, and will represent our Fair in many events and activities. Some of her appearances will include the Chamber Before Hours Breakfast, helping with all other pageants, The Great Give-A-Way, radio station WANT, and parades during and after the Fair. The 2019 Fairest of the Fair will also compete in the State Fairest of the Fair Pageant in January of 2020.
This year the Wilson County Fair will award the winner of our Fairest of the Fair pageant with $1,500 – $500 will be given in cash at the conclusion of the pageant and $1,000 for the State Pageant competition in January of 2020.
Each contestant must have reached her 16th birthday by August 11, 2019, but not her 21st birthday on or before December 31, 2019.

(6-28-19) Seven Choices for the 2019 Great Give-A-Way

Today officials of the Wilson County Fair announced the 2019 Wilson County Fair Great Giveaway. Fair goers will have the opportunity to win $1,000 in cash five (5) nights of the Fair. On Tuesday, August 20, one lucky winner will choose between seven (7) different prizes.

“We are very excited about the 2019 offering for the Fair,” says Jonathan Harrison, member of the Fair’s Great Give-A-Way Committee.“Fair goers will have the opportunity to choose between a selection of vehicles and tractors with implements. Someone is going to drive away with one of these spectacular choices.”

The Great Give-A-Way line-up includes the following provided by local dealerships:Chevrolet Equinox (Wilson County Motors); Jeep Renegade (Rockie Williams Premier); Ford Escape (Bates Ford); Hyundai Kona (Wilson County Hyundai), John Deere 1025R Tractor with loader, backhoe, box blade and trailer (Tri-Green Equipment), Mahindra 1635 SHT Tractor 4WD with loader, box blade and rotary cutter (K2 Agriculture & Turf) and a Kubota L3901DT Tractor with loader, box blade, rotary cutter and trailer (Absolute Kubota). “These local dealerships are offering seven outstanding new choices for the 2019 Wilson County Fair,” says Harrison.

We have great support from our sponsors for the 2019 Great Give-A-Way. Eighty-three (83) local businesses made the commitment to sponsor the annual event. “We are pleased by our local businesses stepping up to the plate to be part of the Great Give-A-Way,” says Harrison. “These organizations want to be part of something successful, like the Fair and the Great Give-A-Way. It’s an opportunity to give back to the community. We owe a great deal of gratitude to these sponsors for making this possible again in 2019.”

Tickets will be available at these 83 businesses beginning in early July. The vehicles and tractors will be displayed at these businesses until fair time in August. A complete listing of the 83 sponsors will appear in local newspaper advertising, on the Fair website at www.wilsoncountyfair.net, or one can contact the Wilson County Fair Office at (615)443-2626.

“Our Great Give-A-Way Committee has taken the theme of “A Grand Celebration at the 2019 Wilson County Fair” very seriously,” says Randall Clemons, President of Wilson County Promotions, sponsor of the Wilson County Fair. “When one looks over the list of give-a-way sponsors, the amount of cash to be given away and the seven (7) choices for the Tuesday Night Great Give-A-Way, this committee has put together another great venue for Fairgoers in 2019. We hope that many folks from Wilson and our surrounding counties will take part in our Fair.”

(6-13-19) Fair Improvements

PRESS RELEASE – June 13, 2019

Wilson County Fair, Lebanon, TN

Everyone is busy getting ready for the 2019 Wilson County Fair.Mark your calendars for August 16-24.Gates will open on Friday, August 16 at 5:00 p.m.

Thanks to Ford and the Middle Tennessee Ford Dealers for again being the presenting sponsor of the 2019 Wilson County Fair.Ford has been the presenting sponsor for many years and we appreciate all they do.

The Wilson County Fair will be “A Grand Celebration!” with many improvements being made throughout the Fairgrounds. The Turner Evans building and the Pop Smartt Barn as well as the former Poultry and Rabbit barn will be barn red at Fair time.

The former Poultry and Rabbit barn will be the Ag Venture Barn and the Pop Smartt Barn will be the new home for our rabbit and poultry shows. The Ag Venture Barn is also being refreshed with new educational agricultural exhibits that include many interactive activities as well as an inflatable corn maze, dairy parlor, ag simulator and more. Thanks to Wilson County Farm Bureau for helping to sponsor the revitalization of this educational area.

Additions are also being made to our newest barn, the Heritage Barn. More antique tools and equipment are being displayed on the walls covered with barn wood and tin. The upstairs area truly depicts a homestead area from days gone by. Kitchen and bedroom areas are two of the highlights in the loft of the barn.

When you go to the Fair this year, you will see new white fencing, a newly paved midway area, a new road in Kiddie Land and paved road for the livestock entrance and perimeter road.New lighting is being added in the Farm Equipment area, Fiddlers Grove, Kiddie Land and the Mutton Busting area.

Fiber optic cabling has been installed to the Livestock Campus. This enhanced technology will support our live streaming of animal births in the Birthing Area. Viewers from around the world can join our Fair on-line to learn more about horses, pigs, goats, cattle and sheep.

We are excited and looking forward to everyone’s visit.There is going to be so much to see and do that there is no way to see everything in one visit.We know this is going to be a great Fair and we hope you are making plans to attend!

Hope to see you August 16!

For more information visit www.wilsoncountyfair.net or call 615-443-2626.

New Event – Robotics Challenge

New Event – Robotics Challenge at this Year’s Fair, Saturday, August 17, 2019

2019 will be the inaugural year for the STEM ROBOTICS CHALLENGE sponsored by Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation.

Beginning at 10:00 a.m. and throughout the morning, we will have robotics activities and games for children ages 4 to 11 and fairgoers of all ages with special needs. Robots will be provided for these games as well as all the directions needed to play.There is no entry fee for this event and prize ribbons will be given for each event.

At Noon we will begin check-in for the SUMO-Lego® Mindstorm Robot Challenge for ages 12 through Adult.Participants/Teams must bring their own Lego® Mindstorm Robot and there is an entry fee of $25. There is more extensive information and a preregistration form available online at wilsoncountyfair.net. We will have two rounds of competition: first will be a round robin and the second will be an elimination round.We have three age categories for this event.If a robot is entered by a team, the age category is based on the age of the oldest team member. Prizes range from $75 to $250!

At 4:00 p.m. we will begin Check-in for our Robot Roundup. This is a competition for individuals or teams (no age restrictions).Entries may be any type of autonomous robot that is able to navigate a small obstacle course. There is more extensive information and a preregistration form available online at wilsoncountyfair.net. The Entry fee is $10. There will be one TOP BOT award given as well as prizes for the Best Inventive Design, Best Mechanical Complexity, Best Electrical Complexity and Best Programming Complexit

We want to thank the Middle Tennessee State University STEM Innovation Hub for doing the officiating and judging of this event!

Plan Your Entries Now

Plan Your Entries Now for the 2019 Wilson County Fair

What’s your superpower? The Wilson County Fair will be celebrating “The Year of Wool,” and we want Fairgoers to use their superpower to exhibit their talents at our Fair. As the weather turns warmer, it’s time to start planning your entries for the Fair. Plant those vegetables, herbs and flowers and start painting, photographing and sewing those unique items that could win some monetary premiums at the Fair. Start experimenting with recipes for your baking entries and your home brewing entries. Check out our website wilsoncountyfair.net to see all the contests available for entry.

Wilson County Schools are planning their school exhibits in the Hometown U.S.A. exhibits in the Expo Center. We would like to continue the 100% participation of all our schools exhibiting their unique and creative depictions of their schools.

While Fairgoers are busy planning their entries, the Fair committee is also busy making several improvements for the 2019 Fair. Buildings are being painted, new roads are being paved, more lighting is being added and some barns are even being repurposed. The Ag Venture Barn will now be where the Poultry and Rabbit Barn was, and the Poultry and Rabbit Barn will now be where the Ag Venture Barn existed. All these changes will create a fresh look for our Fair as we host “A Grand Celebration” and celebrate our agriculture commodity “The Year of Wool.”

Fairgoers will learn all about the wool process. “The Year of Wool” will incorporate education from “sheep to shawl.” Sheep will be shown and sheared then the fleece will be washed, dyed, spun and weaved into unique items. There will be demonstrations and hands on opportunities to learn about wool in our lives. Wool items will also be for sale in the General Store.

The 2019 Wilson County Fair will open August 16th and run through August 24th, 2019. Entries will be accepted starting Saturday, August 10th. Check the website for times and places to enter your creations.

We want “ewe” at the 2019 Wilson County Fair, along with your family and friends.We’re working hard to make this year’s Fair the best one ever!

For more information about the fair, visit www.wilsoncountyfair.net.

A Grand Celebration

There Will Be “A Grand Celebration” at this Year’s 2019 Wilson County Fair

The Wilson County Fair Board selected “A Grand Celebration!” as the theme for this year’s fair, which will open on Friday, August 16, at 5 p.m. and run through Saturday, August 24. Our theme focuses on the many milestone celebrations happening in our Wilson County Community in 2019. Some of these include Wilson County Promotions celebrating 40 years of producing the Wilson County Fair, the city of Lebanon celebrating 200 years and Wilson County celebrating 220 years. Many other businesses such as Cracker Barrel, Demos’ and Wilson County Farmers’ Co-op to name a few are all celebrating significant milestones. Each day of the Fair will be a different celebration to create an overall Grand Celebration for our nine day Fair.

Agricultural fairs are a tradition in Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture was formed in 1854 to promote agriculture through fairs and expositions and continues to support fairs held across the state.Nearly 3,000,000 people visit Tennessee Agricultural fairs each year.

As the largest county fair in Tennessee, our Wilson County Fair maintains our focus on fun, entertainment and agriculture experiences of all our Fairgoers. Wilson County Fair Board President Randall Clemons said that our agriculture commodity focus for 2019 will be “Year of Wool.”Our Fair’s roots and existence remain as an agriculture fair.Agriculture feeds us, clothes us, and shelters us and we use a different commodity each year to educate as well as bring attention of the importance of agriculture in all of our lives.

There are over 150 events that take place during the nine-day fair and volunteers are making plans to tie the theme in to the many exhibits and competitions during the fair.

The 2019 Wilson County Fair will again be presented by your Middle Tennessee Ford Dealers.The cover of the 2019 Wilson County Fair Premium Catalog, which will be out in mid-July, encompasses both the theme and the agriculture commodity while depicting all aspects of Fair events and activities.

Clemons said fair organizers are planning for this year to be a great Fair. There are lots of plans being made to make coming to the Fair a great place for family fun and entertainment.

We want “ewe” at the 2019 Wilson County Fair, along with your family and friends.We’re working hard to make this year’s Fair the best one ever!

For more information about the fair, visit www.wilsoncountyfair.net.

Premier Fair at Tennessee Association of Fairs

Wilson County Fair Wins Premier Fair at Tennessee Association of Fairs

The Wilson County Fair continued its winning ways at this year’s Tennessee Association of Fairs (TAF) Convention, bringing home the Premier Fair Award in the AAA Division for the 2018 Fair.

Wilson County also garnered with six 1st place awards and the Golden Needle Award in the Showcase of Fairs Competitive Exhibits, as well as several 2nd and 3rd place awards.

2018 Fairest of the Fair Addison Grace Oakley competed with other young ladies representing fairs across the state of Tennessee, placing in the Top 10.

“We were very pleased this year,” Helen McPeak, Wilson County Fair Executive Director, said of the awards received. “Addison did a wonderful job and represented Wilson County with grace and was a true ambassador for Wilson County.”

McPeak added, “The Fair is all about agriculture, fun and putting smiles on people’s faces. We have over 1,000 volunteers who contribute to making that happen at the Wilson County Fair, and it truly is a showcase of our community. It’s the one time that everybody in our county comes together.”

Wilson County’s fair is also ranked No. 30 on the Top 50 Fairs in the Nation listing compiled by carnivalwarehouse.com, and Reithoffer Shows, which provides the midway rides, is ranked No. 5 in the nation by the same organization.

First place awards in the Showcase included the digital scrapbook; pieced quilt – machine pieced/machine quilted; pieced quilt – hand pieced/machine quilted; free standing fair display; table top fair display; and Power Point. The hand pieced/machined quilted quilt, entered by Joyce Robinson, won the top quilting award – the Golden Needle.

Second place was received for the fair poster, Pick TN Products exhibit and Best Fair Theme Display. Third place was garnered for the Premium Book (Fair Catalog) in the AAA/Regional Division, AAA Division scrapbook and for video.

Premier Fair is presented in three categories: Division A for counties with a population under 21,000; AA Division for counties with a population of 21,000 to 47,000, and AAA Division for fairs in counties with a population of over 47,000.

Trousdale County won Premier Fair in Division A while Rhea County won in Division AA.

Wilson County will also be represented on the TAF Board of Directors with McPeak being elected to serve as a Middle Tennessee director for a three-year term.