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City & State or ZIP

Know before you go: 2009 North Georgia State Fair in Marietta


The midway is back at the North Georgia State Fair, Sept. 24-Oct. 4. AJC file photo

I grew up about a mile from Michigan’s State Fair Grounds in Detroit and have many fond memories of of post-Gravitron queasiness, livestock birthing and deep-fried everything. (I realize none of it sounds terribly pleasant or good for me, but you’ll just have to believe that it was wonderful — even the cow birthing.)

Fast forward a decade or so and I’m in Atlanta, hankering for a Ferris wheel, blue ribbons and food written with a “Z” where the “S” should be. For this, I have to go to Macon?

No, no. The Georgia State Fair makes its home in Macon, and will run as a springtime festival, from April 29-May 9, 2010.  The North Georgia State Fair in Marietta will do just fine till then — and it starts this week!

The northerly state fair draws some 300,000 people during its two-week run,  and it’s everything you expect a fair to be in its 77th year.

Fairgoers, if you’ve got advice or recommendations for having fun there, share your ideas in the comments.

Meanwhile, here’s what you need to know before you go.

Hours: The North Georgia State Fair runs Sept. 24 through Oct. 4.  Hours are 4 -11 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 4 p.m.-midnight on Fridays, 10 a.m.-midnight on Saturdays and 12:30-7 p.m. on Sundays. There were some setup delays because of all the rain this week, but organizers say it will be ready for opening day.

Admission: $5 for adults, $2 for students age 7 to 18, free for children ages 6 and younger. Ride tickets cost $1 each, $20 for 22 tickets or $50 for 55 tickets, and all rides require more than one ticket. Advance tickets are no longer available, but the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog listed some great deals for the run of the fair.

How to get there: The North Georgia State Fair is at Jim R. Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Road S.W. in Marietta. Parking costs $3. There’s also overflow parking on Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Cobb County Government Complex at 1150 Powder Springs Road. Shuttles will run between the overflow parking and the fair.

Attractions: No human cannonball this year, but there are clowns, BMX bike stunts, exotic animals, petting zoos, chainsaw art, “penguin” dive shows and blue-ribbon baked goods and flowers. You can also check out the complete list of attractions for this year’s fair. Alas, it turns out that prize-winning hogs are a thing of the past for the North Georgia fair.

Concerts: This year’s concert series features country and contemporary Christian artists. Shows are free with fair admission. They’re in a covered arena, so they go on, rain-or-shine. All shows begin at 8 p.m. Here’s this year’s lineup:

  • Sept. 25: Luke Bryan
  • Sept. 26: Keith Anderson
  • Sept. 30: Joe Nichols
  • Oct. 1: Billy Currington
  • Oct. 2: Newsboys with guests Seventh Day Slumber and Bread of Stone
  • Oct. 3: Chuck Wicks.

Pageants: There are, in fact, two pageants at the North Georgia State Fair.

  • The Sept. 24 pageant covers girls and women ages 3 to 24 and crowns winners for Tiny Miss, Petite Miss, Little Miss, Pre-Teen Miss, Junior Miss, Teen Miss and Miss North Georgia State Fair.  Contests for younger girls will begin at 6 p.m., and the Miss North Georgia State Fair pageant begins at 9:15 p.m.
  • The Beautiful Baby Contest begins at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 29, and it’s for boys and girls ages zero to 36 months. Judging is informal and there’s no cost to enter.

Flower shows: Two fairs, two pageants, two flower shows, as well! Both are organized by the Marietta Council of Garden Clubs, carry the theme, “These Wonderful United States,” are are free with park admission

  • The first flower show runs Sept. 24-29. The show runs 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Monday, 10 a.m.-midnight on Saturday and 12:30-7 p.m. Sunday.
  • The second flower show runs Sept. 30-Oct 4. The show runs 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight on Saturday and 12:30-6 p.m. Sunday.

40 comments Add your comment


October 2nd, 2009
9:13 pm

is it free toomorow saturday

Carol and Mike

September 29th, 2009
6:11 pm

We are looking forward to seeing Joe Nichols and Billy Currington, both are very good country stars.


September 29th, 2009
6:45 am

Beer? Ha ha ha ha! No, there is no beer. This is a Churchy event with some carnival rides and goats. It looks and smells like a fair, but it’s a Churchy thing. Your ticket will have Jesus propaganda on it, assuming you are required to get a ticket for not having a church bulletin or a copy of the Marietta Daily Church Bulletin (aka Journal, ha)


September 28th, 2009
3:05 pm

I’ll check it out and see it for myself. Fairs are meant to be laidback, full of junk food, and loaded with kitsch. It is nice sometimes to just be outside instead of rotting in front of a tv/laptop screen and take in the start of fall. It is also wonderful to drive to the North Georgia country in the crispy fall air to visit the Dahlonega wineries or view the waterfall at Amicalola State Park. Georgia is a beautiful state and full of wonderful sites.

As long as no one hands me flyer that say “Repent and you will be saved” or “Pro-Life” propoganda, I am a happy camper ;) .

Fair Fan

September 28th, 2009
1:14 pm

The North GA. Fair is a great fun Fair!! The concerts are fun! I have no idea what some people expect from a Fair!! I do wish all the rude people would take their comments and post somewhere else! If you don’t like the Fair – please I beg you don’t go and don’t spoil it for someone that would like to go and enjoy a fun day/night!!

Jamie Gumbrecht

September 28th, 2009
9:38 am

Hi Dina! I can’t speak from personal experience because this is my first year of fair-going around here, but my impression from friends and coworkers is that it’s a regular fair, and there are some Christian concerts and church presence, if you want to seek those out. It sounds to me like every other fair and neighborhood festival I’ve been to.


September 28th, 2009
9:04 am

Is it really that “churchy?” Or, is it a typical fun state fair with animals, beer, junk food, rides, blue ribbon awards, etc. I am very city, but I love state fairs and regional festivals. However, I don’t want to go to a big outdoor church event.


September 27th, 2009
9:36 pm

Jaime, I need a date to the fair. Will you go with me please? I will meet you at the Varsity at 7:00 Friday night! I would like to talk more, but I have to go shave my back hair before it takes over the world like the Blob did in the 1970’s movie! LOL Just kidding, we all need to laugh more! Remember, laughter is the best medicine!!! Besides, neither one of my wives would let me go anyway! LOL

The Truth

September 27th, 2009
2:10 pm

Don’t be fooled by the negative posts here. It’s a FAIR. Not an amusement park. If you want to spend 75.00 a person and drive 7 hours to Orlando…the FAIR is not for you. The N.GA State Fair is everything it’s supposed to be. It’s got a local flavor, has Christian and Country Music Concerts, and greesy, sweet, non healthy foods. I’m not sure what people expect from the fair? And for those non-Christian/Country music fans….there is plenty of extremely loud Rock and Hip Hop Music playing all over the Midway. Relax…..It’s the Fair…not Disney World.


September 27th, 2009
11:15 am

Thank you for the article! My husband and I just moved to Alpharetta from California and we were hoping to find a fair to go to during fall! I see there are idiots that are just plain rude anywhere you go.