After more than 100 years, the Tennessee State Fair will be moving to a new location.
The fair is currently held at the 117 acre Metro-owned Fairgrounds in Nashville.
The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission voted this week to reach out to all counties across the state to see if there is interest in hosting the fair.
Bo Roberts, Chairman of the Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission said the goal is to find a permanent site, with easy access to an interstate, where the fair can grow and thrive.
“I personally feel if you are going to have a state fair, it ought to be one that is worthy of the state,” said Roberts. “I think by communicating with others there are some counties that are interested and now we will see.”
A report studied the possibility of moving the State Fair to the site of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester. However, further research revealed the site is too remote. Roberts said the ideal site would be about 600 acres and closer to Nashville.
Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton also released a statement:
“This is a starting point for the conversation about the future of the Tennessee State Fair. There are only two years left under the current agreement and we know there are questions about the vision for the fairgrounds in Nashville. Part of our role is to help determine if there is a consensus among stakeholders about what that future of the Fair might look like.”
Recent attendance at the Tennessee State Fair has been declining, and many of the facilities at the site are showing signs of age.
Metro also moved forward with converting 46 acres of the fairgrounds site into soccer fields, a greenway and dog park. Roberts said there is little room for the state fair to grow, and it isn’t logical for Metro to invest heavily in an event that is only two weeks out of the year.
A change in location is expected to be made in 2019. The 2017 fair will remain in Nashville and run from Sept. 8 - 17.
The Commission hopes to make a recommendation on a new site by the end of the year.