Cocke County’s Feisty Summer Fair Marks 75 Years of Celebrating Local Culture, Building Community Bonds and Preserving Ties to Rural Life

County fairs are a beloved tradition of late summer, filled with nostalgia, excitement, and friendly competition. Fairs hold a special place in our hearts, with songs, books and movies dedicated to capturing their magic. As we stroll through the fairgrounds, memories of childhood come flooding back – the exhilarating rides of the midway, the tantalizing smells of fair food, and the vibrant displays of animals, canned goods, pies, and other products of country living vying for that esteemed blue ribbon or prize money or, perhaps most coveted, bragging rights.

The history of the modern fair dates back to 1811, when it was established as a platform for farmers to share their innovative farming techniques and foster a sense of community among farming families. It became a friendly battleground where farmers and their families competed for the title of “best of show,” presenting before the community their prized animals and delectable preserves.
Popular media celebrates fairs in small towns.  Consider the fictional town of Mayberry R.F.D when the fair took center stage in several episodes, celebrating everything from beauty pageants to Aunt Bee’s famous pickles. These depictions only served to reinforce the significance of fairs in both small and large communities.

In Cocke County, the first organized fair was held in 1948 at the fairground’s current location. Since then, these friendly community competitions have evolved beyond pickles, pageants, and poultry.  Come to enjoy Gospel Singing, Bluegrass music, tractor pulls, and the midway filled with rides and carnival foods.  The demolition derby and the firemen challenge add an extra dose of excitement to the fair. And this year, as the fair celebrates its 75th anniversary, there will be a celebration of the Century Farms of Cocke County.

County fairs are not just about the attractions and competitions; they are about coming together as a community, celebrating our agricultural heritage, and creating lasting memories. So mark your calendars for August 15-19, 2023 at the Cocke County Fair.

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