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