The Tennessee State Fair has been held every year since 1906, with the exception of a four-year span during World War II. The fair has weathered many storms including the Great Depression, a 1965 fire that destroyed majority of the fairgrounds and another fire in 1970, which ruined the coliseum. Through these hardships, the Tennessee State Fair has remained the highlight of families’ lives for more than 100 years.
Every year, Tennesseans anticipate the thrilling rides at the Midway, the wide variety of competitions, and the staple fair foods such as cotton candy, corn dogs and snow cones. Tennessee students especially look forward to the arrival of the fair because of the designated student day, which offers free admission and a day off from school.
Entertainment is a key component to the Tennessee State Fair and is a big draw for fair goers. Over the years, the state fair has included some of the most popular performers of the time. Even as late as the 1970s, some of the biggest acts in the country, such as Sonny and Cher, Captain and Tenille, ZZ Top, Dr. Hook, Marilyn McCoo, and comedian Bob Hope performed the Tennessee State Fair.
Today, the Tennessee State Fair attracts more than 100,000 visitors and participants each year, with recent trends showing a steady growth in popularity.