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Middle Tennessee District Fair: thrills and tradition

by David Morgan, Lawrence County Executive

When I was a teenager and the point of the Fair was talking to girls, I had no idea it was a historic event.

Like most residents of Lawrence County, the Fair has agricultural roots. According to LawCoHistory.com, the earliest Fairs were designed for farmers and homemakers to bring their best products for judging and awards. It was held in Leoma from 1910 to 1915, moved to the Lawrenceburg Square, then to Lafayette Avenue, and finally to Fairview Park (now Rotary Park), which was owned by the Lawrence County Fair & Park Association, longtime sponsors of the event.

The Tennessee General Assembly designated it the Middle Tennessee District Fair in 1931. The City of Lawrenceburg purchased Fairview Park in 1950, and the Rotary Club took over MTDF operation when the Fair & Park Association dissolved later that year.

Over seven decades later, farmers, homemakers, artists, and craftsmen still enter their best work in the Fair for judging and display. Beef and dairy cattle, sheep, and goats are shown under a 23,000 square foot livestock pavilion. Agriculture is still Lawrence County’s largest industry, so it’s right that our Fair includes those elements.

But before I knew its backstory, the Fair was already part of my personal history – just like it’s part of yours. Excluding 2020 (the year nothing was normal) the Middle Tennessee District Fair holds a spot on our calendars as certain as the Fourth of July. That’s just part of what makes Lawrence County home.

I lived for School Day, when free admission meant all the Morgan kids could attend. I learned early on every ride wasn’t for me, but the Ferris wheel was my favorite. It was a thrill to stop at the top, swaying, and see more of Lawrence County than I’d ever seen before. I clearly remember that first dazzling impression when I was ten, in the days before Google Earth and drone videos. I often think of that view and my new role of service to this community I love.

Many thanks to the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club for 71 years of Middle Tennessee District Fairs and the fundraising opportunities it provides other local nonprofits. For decades every upcoming fair was billed as “bigger and better” than any other. This year’s nine-day schedule will help 2022 live up to that promise.

Be sure to sample all this Lawrence County tradition has to offer: Exhibit Halls, delicious food, arena events, free concerts, and maybe, a ride on the Ferris wheel.


T.R. Williams

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