Nashville Mayor Karl Dean wants to close the state fairgrounds south of downtown and redevelop the 117-acre tract for another use. The State Fair for years has been a financially losing proposition. This year the fair had a reported loss of about $900,000.
A couple of roadblocks may keep the fair out of Wilson County, so one source said. He indicated that the operators of the State Fair would likely not want to do anything to conflict with the Wilson County Fair. He said before the State Fair would be moved to any site in Wilson County there would likely have to be an informal clearance granted by the Wilson County Fair.
The second reason that may prevent the State Fair from coming to Wilson County would be a reluctance on the part of the Metro Council to see the event moved from Davidson County.
If there is a suitable site found in Davidson County to host the State Fair that would replace the existing site, that, according to one of the sources, would likely be preferred over moving the fair out of Davidson County.
Cliff Hawks, general manager and vice president of the Superspeedway, is on vacation this week and was not available for comment. However, both sources indicated that the Superspeedway has asked to be considered as a replacement site for the fair.
Hale Moss, one of the key leaders of the Wilson County Fair, confirmed Tuesday that there have been ongoing conversations between officials of the local fair and those involved in the State Fair.
Moss said the discussions to this point have been “more on the informal” side but that he and others are aware that the Superspeedway is being considered as a site for the State Fair.
He said his main concern about moving the State Fair to Wilson County would be that the event does not compete with the Wilson County Fair. He said if it’s held in October, some six or seven weeks later than the Wilson County Fair, and is a “true state fair” attracting exhibitors and participants from all across Tennessee, then it probably would not be competing with the local fair.
Moss said there are examples of county fairs that operate “in the shadow” of state fairs. One he cited is the state fair in Indiana.
He explained that those responsible for the Wilson County Fair, including the hundreds of volunteers who give of their time each year to make the fair possible, have invested a great deal into establishing and branding the local event.
He indicated that he would not want to see any move on the State Fair’s part to jeopardize the reputation of the local fair or what has been accomplished during the past several years.
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