Georgia and South Carolina Associations Hold Annual Joint Convention

“Building Better Fairs Together” was the theme, as the Georgia Association of Agricultural Fairs and the South Carolina Association of Fairs held their third joint convention January 16-18, 2014 at the Atlanta Airport Marriott in Atlanta, Georgia.

The convention was well attended, representing 26 fairs from Georgia and 10 from South Carolina. Carnivals and associates added to the numbers. The tradeshow, which opened Friday, offered attendees many choices from entertainment, to ribbons, to insurance, fireworks and beyond.

Chris Hafer from the Coastal Empire Fair, Savannah, Georgia was honored as Georgia’s Fairman of the Year. Kelly Sweeney of Mt. Airy, Georgia was the recipient of the Charles Inman Honorary Scholarship. This scholarship is underwritten by Dixieland Carnival Company of Phoenix City, Alabama. Don Allen Garrett, CFE of the North Georgia Agricultural Fair is President of the Georgia Association and Hilda Thomason, CFE from the Georgia Mountain Fair is First Vice-President. Michael Lariscy, of the Coastal Empire Fair, was elected the Second Vice-President.

Mary Wolf of the Western Carolina State Fair, Aiken, SC was honored with the Fairman of the Year award from South Carolina. Awards were also presented to Robert Richey, Coastal Carolina Fair of Ladson, and SC Foothills Fair, Westminster, SC. Nancy Smith,CFE of the South Carolina State Fair is President of the SC Association.Five new directors, representing, Sumter, Ladson, Orangeburg, Florence and Union were also elected from South Carolina.

The 2014 joint convention concluded with a banquet and beauty pageant. Taylor Flippo of Columbia County, Georgia was crowned Miss Georgia Fairs’ queen. Special entertainment for the night was provided by American Pride, a tribute to the Statler Brothers courteous of Artists and Attractions. Leon Jacobs, Jr. also provided music for the pageant.

January, 2015 will mark a new era for this joint convention, as they will be moving to a new location. The Crowne Plaza, Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia will be the site for next year’s joint convention, January 22-25, 2015. With a new hotel and new dates, even better attendance from fairs, carnivals and associate members is anticipated.

January, 2014 was a significant year for both Associations, as Georgia celebrated 101 years while South Carolina marked their 85th convention. Together this totals almost 200 years of fair experience! What began as a “pilot partnership” a mere three years ago has now blossomed into a union of one. The theme, “Building Better Fairs