The Tennessee State Fair's Distinguished Service Award, presented annually at a special ceremony during the fair's 10-day run in Nashville, will be named in honor of the late Hale Moss of Mt. Juliet.
Moss, long-time president of the Wilson County Fair, died in April at the age of 68.
Members of the Tennessee State Fair Association (TSFA) Board of Directors approved the motion to name the award in honor of Moss at its May meeting, citing his many contributions to the State Fair, agriculture and his leadership role in reviving the Wilson County Fair and making it one of the best county fairs in the South.
John Rose, TSFA board chairman, said the board's decision to name the distinguished service award in Moss' honor was "appropriate and fitting because of Hale's lifelong commitment to agriculture in Tennessee, his volunteer work with the State Fair as well as his tireless efforts in leading the development of his home county fair (the Wilson County Fair) into arguably one of the nation's best county fairs."
Moss was instrumental in seeing the Wilson County Fair's quality and achievements recognized locally and on the national stage, leading the fair to astonishing attendance records that in recent years have surpassed the 500,000 mark and attracted visitors from multiple states and all of Tennessee's 95 counties.
Inducted into the Wilson County Agricultural Hall of Fame in April, Moss taught agriculture at Lebanon High School for four years. In 1973, he entered the family business in Mt. Juliet, which primarily sold feed, fertilizer and other agricultural products. He and family members, including his wife Brenda, later transitioned the business into Moss' Florist & Garden Center.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and an active leader in 4-H and Future Farmers of America, Moss served as beef cattle superintendent of the Tennessee State Fair Advisory Board from 1977 until 2005.
The State Fair Distinguished Service Award is presented each year during the State Fair to the person or persons who have made significant contributions to help develop and maintain the traditions of the Tennessee State Fair. This year's State Fair will open on Friday, Sept. 8, run for 10 days, and close on Sunday, Sept. 17.