Georgia Association of Agricultural Fairs


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2018 Joint Annual Convention Georgia/South Carolina Fair Associations

The sixth annual joint fair convention for the Georgia and South Carolina fair associations was completed in January 25-27 at the Crowne Plaza hotel Atlanta Perimeter with roughly 400 people in attendance.

South Carolina President Paul Winters and Georgia President Michael Lariscy expressed confidence that the meeting proved beneficial to both organizations. They said the pooling of expertise and resources was helpful in obtaining speakers and workshop presenters.

Keynote speakers for the convention were Marla Calico, CFE, President and CEO of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions. Marla spoke of the topic “Life is full of ifs”.
The second keynote address was delivered by Roxie Mayberry, formerly with the Alaska State Fair. Her topic demonstrated that “Perception is reality”. Both speakers received high marks from those in attendance.

Educational workshops were entitled: (1) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (2) Volunteers, Plans, Pitfalls, and best practices (3) Creating a sustainable sponsorship program and (4) Giving back to the community.

Fairs seeking acts and entertainment found the limited space for the trade show packed. Both the fairs and the trade show participants seemed pleased with activity in the show space. Trade show organizers say they are looking for more room and extended trade show hours for 2019. Dates for the next year’s event have been announced as January 24-26, 2019. Two short showcases were included in this year’s program.

The Georgia Fairman of the year for 2018 was educator and civic leader Paul Smith of the Coosa Valley Fair in Rome, GA. Mr. Smith has been involved in his local fair for 63 years. During his tenure with his fair he served in many capacities including President. He was President of the Georgia Association of Agricultural Fairs in 1976.

The South Carolina Fairman of the year was J. P. Baehr of the Piedmont Interstate Fair. Baehr is following in his grandfather’s footsteps who was instrumental in the early Piedmont Interstate Fair. J. P. is also Vice President of the South Carolina Fair Association.

The best marketing campaign for South Carolina went to the Western Carolina State Fair while in Georgia it went to the Columbia County Fair. Numerous other advertising and promotional awards were presented to other South Carolina and Georgia Fairs. The winner of the closing ceremonies beauty pageant was Emma Webb of the Georgia-Carolina State Fair in Augusta, GA. First Runner up was Megan Johnson of the Effingham County Fair and the Second Runner Up was Serenity Edwards of the Columbia County Fair.

In a joint statement Paul Winters, President of the South Carolina Association of Fairs, and Michael Lariscy, of the Georgia Association, repeated that everyone seemed to feel that the 2018 convention met its goals and provided a wonderful learning opportunity for all in attendance. The next joint convention will return to the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter hotel January 24-26, 2019.

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