What happened to the County Fair?

What happened to the County Fair?

Posted in the Hazlehurst Forum

First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Since: Feb 13

Jesup, GA

#1 Feb 13, 2013
I recently returned to Jeff Davis county after being gone for eight years. One of the first things I found out was that there hasn't been a county fair here in four years. WHY NOT? The citizens of Jeff Davis county pay for the fairgrounds through their taxes. The kids here still have FFA, 4-H, and agriculture related subjects in school, but if there is no fair, where do they show what they've learned? Could it be that the powers that be couldn't find a carnival that would line the pockets of the fair board? In the past, we have had to endure carnivals that had broken, inoperable rides, games that were impossible to win at, and an apparent lack of knowledge of the carnival industry by the very ones in charge of putting on the fair. What do we do?
Farmer John

Savannah, GA

#2 Feb 13, 2013
One Company called Geren Rides use to come to Hazlehurst long time ago. That was the big fair, anyways they didn't never come back cause they didn't make enough Money in Hazlehurst. I know all this cause one of my family members use to work there.

Since: Feb 13

Jesup, GA

#3 Feb 13, 2013
Farmer John wrote:
One Company called Geren Rides use to come to Hazlehurst long time ago. That was the big fair, anyways they didn't never come back cause they didn't make enough Money in Hazlehurst. I know all this cause one of my family members use to work there.
I'm familiar with them. We had Sutton Shows too, but after the owner died, his son took it over. He was a crackhead, and ran it into bankruptcy. I was told by a county commissioner that the fair committee would have to pay $5000 up front to get a carnival to come in here. I have worked carnivals for more than 25 years, and I know that is NOT how its done. You have thecarnival companies put in bids for the contract for the fair. They give the committee a percentage of the ride grosses, and sometimes a percentage of the games, too. The committee gets the proceeds from admission, plus any money charged to vendors for putting in food booths. But that is not the way B.H. and the committee think they should do it. NO WONDER THE FAIR WENT BROKE!!!!!
the real truth

Fitzgerald, GA

#4 Feb 13, 2013
The fair committee has tried to find a new carnival to come to Haz. The cost of fuel, insurance, etc has run many small carnivals out of business. Those still operating cannot make enough money in small towns to make it worth while. Baxley also has not had a fair in several years either because of the economic situation. The committee cut ties with both Guerin & Sutton when they went down in quality. The Carnival they used the last 3 years of the fair is not willing to come back to either Haz or Bax.

The committee has always worked off percentage with the carnivals so I don't know where you get that is not how they think it should be. Also the fairgrounds do not cost the citizens of the county anything. The committeee built the buildings from funds raised from the fairs. The committee pays for repairs, upkeep, utilities, etc of the buildings. The committee's books are audited every year by a CPA so not a dime has ever gone into anyone's pockets.

Since: Feb 13

Birmingham, AL

#5 Feb 13, 2013
BULLPUCKY !!! There have been games at the fair that I know were impossible to win at. And common practice in the carnival business is to pay someone off to get permission to put that kind of game on the midway. How do I know? Because I have more than 25 years in the carnival business. I worked for both Frank and Pete Sutton of Sutton Shows (they had the midway here for ten years or more). So I know what I am talking about. And I know how they operated. Also, when the SGWA wrestling outfit wanted to continue doing wrestling shows at the fairgrounds, they were told that they would have to find another place to hold their shows. Yet, prowrestling has returned to the fairgrounds, andthe people putting on those shows are paying less than the SGWA was. Why?? I have offered to help the fair committee with the fair (figuring that my extensive experience and connections would be a plus) but have been told in no uncertain terms to mind my own business. If I was wrong about taxpayers paying for the fairgrounds and for the upkeep, then I am man enough to admit I was wrong, and apologize. But am I the only one in Jeff Davis county that wonders why the fair isn't self-sustaining? Maybe it's time for a leadership change on the fair committee. The "private club" mentallity isn't working anymore.

Since: Feb 13

Birmingham, AL

#6 Feb 13, 2013
I would also like to point out that the Georgia National Fair in Perry started out as a small county fair. By careful management and a progressive fair committee, it grew to a regional fair, and is now considered one of the best fairs in the South, with almost a million visitors every year, and huge amounts of cash going into city and county coffers from the tourist dollars generated. They started with a fairgrounds basically the same size as ours. They promoted their fair, invested wisely, purchased additional land, and made sure that they had a reputable carnival come in to handle their midway. They promoted concerts, boat and car shows, and various other events to help grow the fairgrounds. Now, the fair is held over a ten-day period, has an operating budget of well over a million dollars, and hosts agriculture and civic clubs from all over the state.(Jeff Davis County schools bussed several busloads of students to their fair this year, as did Appling, Montgomery, Coffee, Toombs, and Telfair counties.) There is no reason (other than a lack of proper management) why this same scenario couldn't happen here. We have the area, the fairgrounds, the facilities, and the need to make the Jeff Davis County Fair a huge success, if we had the proper people on the committee willing to dedicate the time, effort, and work that it would take to do it. Having a part-time committee ensures that we will have a lackluster fair, barely able to draw locally, much less from the surrounding area. Could it be possible that the committee leadership is too busy running for school board, county commission, etc.? This is not helping us maintain a fair, which in turn denies our kids the opportunity to show what they have learned in 4-H and FFA. It keeps money from local businesses that would directly benefit from tourist dollars generated from a successful fair. It denies all of us the fond memories we older citizens of this county experienced back when we were bussed to the fair each year. This town has lost too many businesses to risk losing more. BRING BACK THE FAIR !!!
Do Good

Fitzgerald, GA

#7 Feb 13, 2013
The committee pays for repairs and up Keep? They need to be told this for obviusly they don't know. Leaderhip serving on the County Commssion - what a joke. Unless you lived here all you life you will be told to mind your own business - so don't feel bad.

Since: Feb 13

Birmingham, AL

#8 Feb 14, 2013
Do Good wrote:
The committee pays for repairs and up Keep? They need to be told this for obviusly they don't know. Leaderhip serving on the County Commssion - what a joke. Unless you lived here all you life you will be told to mind your own business - so don't feel bad.
I grew up in Hazlehurst. After high school, I worked for several different carnivals. I came back to Hazlehurst in the late '80's, went to work at WVOH! and then left again. Went back to work in the carnival business. When my wife was diagnosed with lung cancer, we moved back here. Then, after her death in 2004, I went back to carnivals, and have been there ever since. I said all that to say this... with my experience, I think I would be someone the fair committee would be eager to consult with or ask advice from. Unfortunately, they seem to think that it is a private club. It is their own little deal that they control, and if we, the public, want a fair here, we have to bow down and kiss their ass to get one. It's too bad that there aren't enough forward thinking folks on the committee to see that having a fair here benefits EVERYONE, from our schoolchildren to business owners. Again, I'm sure that there are those who can see the benefits, but with a committee controlled by one person, nothing will ever change. By the way, if the committee pays for repairs and upkeep, they have to be making money somehow. Does the rental of the buildings for parties and family reunions pay them that much? Just think how much could be brought in from monthly events such as car shows, boat and RV shows, a once-a-month flea market, concerts, gospel sings, pageants, horseshoe tournaments, demolition derbies, tractor pulls, lawnmower races, etc. All it takes is someone committed to putting forth the effort. Someone who isn't bogged down with school board business and county commission meetings. Someone who isn't too blind to realize that what benefits the fairgrounds benefits all the citizens of this county. Someone unselfish enough to realize what an economic boost this could be to our local businesses. Someone who isn't a control freak or glory hound, wanting all the credit for providing the citizenry an entertainment and economic opportunity that could enrich everyone.
Do Good

Fitzgerald, GA

#9 Feb 14, 2013
v93george wrote:
<quoted text> I grew up in Hazlehurst. After high school, I worked for several different carnivals. I came back to Hazlehurst in the late '80's, went to work at WVOH! and then left again. Went back to work in the carnival business. When my wife was diagnosed with lung cancer, we moved back here. Then, after her death in 2004, I went back to carnivals, and have been there ever since. I said all that to say this... with my experience, I think I would be someone the fair committee would be eager to consult with or ask advice from. Unfortunately, they seem to think that it is a private club. It is their own little deal that they control, and if we, the public, want a fair here, we have to bow down and kiss their ass to get one. It's too bad that there aren't enough forward thinking folks on the committee to see that having a fair here benefits EVERYONE, from our schoolchildren to business owners. Again, I'm sure that there are those who can see the benefits, but with a committee controlled by one person, nothing will ever change. By the way, if the committee pays for repairs and upkeep, they have to be making money somehow. Does the rental of the buildings for parties and family reunions pay them that much? Just think how much could be brought in from monthly events such as car shows, boat and RV shows, a once-a-month flea market, concerts, gospel sings, pageants, horseshoe tournaments, demolition derbies, tractor pulls, lawnmower races, etc. All it takes is someone committed to putting forth the effort. Someone who isn't bogged down with school board business and county commission meetings. Someone who isn't too blind to realize that what benefits the fairgrounds benefits all the citizens of this county. Someone unselfish enough to realize what an economic boost this could be to our local businesses. Someone who isn't a control freak or glory hound, wanting all the credit for providing the citizenry an entertainment and economic opportunity that could enrich everyone.
Lots of luck..........
the real truth

Fitzgerald, GA

#10 Feb 14, 2013
Say what you may about the president of the fair committee, but to question his honesty destroys any credibility on anything else you say. I won't rehash the wrestling thing. That is in the past. Your comparison of Jeff Davis & Houston (Perry) is apples and oranges. 13K population vs 140K population. You think have ten times the population to draw from would mean bigger crowds & thus 10 times more $$$ for the local organizer? The fair committee are dedicated volunteers. Most have been working to build up the facilities since it was a vacant field and a tent. What you are asking for would take a full time event planner. The committee member have given countless hours over the years to build what is there now and have jobs & families. The bottom line is the most recent carnival that came here is no longer willing to travel to small towns like Haz & Bax. Many other small carnivals are out of business. Since you have this vast network of contacts in the carnival industry, then why not be a good citizen & find one willing to come to Haz & pass the contact info onto the fair committee?
Rowdy

United States

#11 Feb 14, 2013
v93george wrote:
<quoted text> I grew up in Hazlehurst. After high school, I worked for several different carnivals. I came back to Hazlehurst in the late '80's, went to work at WVOH! and then left again. Went back to work in the carnival business. When my wife was diagnosed with lung cancer, we moved back here. Then, after her death in 2004, I went back to carnivals, and have been there ever since. I said all that to say this... with my experience, I think I would be someone the fair committee would be eager to consult with or ask advice from. Unfortunately, they seem to think that it is a private club. It is their own little deal that they control, and if we, the public, want a fair here, we have to bow down and kiss their ass to get one. It's too bad that there aren't enough forward thinking folks on the committee to see that having a fair here benefits EVERYONE, from our schoolchildren to business owners. Again, I'm sure that there are those who can see the benefits, but with a committee controlled by one person, nothing will ever change. By the way, if the committee pays for repairs and upkeep, they have to be making money somehow. Does the rental of the buildings for parties and family reunions pay them that much? Just think how much could be brought in from monthly events such as car shows, boat and RV shows, a once-a-month flea market, concerts, gospel sings, pageants, horseshoe tournaments, demolition derbies, tractor pulls, lawnmower races, etc. All it takes is someone committed to putting forth the effort. Someone who isn't bogged down with school board business and county commission meetings. Someone who isn't too blind to realize that what benefits the fairgrounds benefits all the citizens of this county. Someone unselfish enough to realize what an economic boost this could be to our local businesses. Someone who isn't a control freak or glory hound, wanting all the credit for providing the citizenry an entertainment and economic opportunity that could enrich everyone.
it would be a blessing on JD county to have someone with your beliefs and passion on ANY committee or branch of government

Since: Feb 13

Savannah, GA

#12 Feb 15, 2013
the real truth wrote:
Say what you may about the president of the fair committee, but to question his honesty destroys any credibility on anything else you say. I won't rehash the wrestling thing. That is in the past. Your comparison of Jeff Davis & Houston (Perry) is apples and oranges. 13K population vs 140K population. You think have ten times the population to draw from would mean bigger crowds & thus 10 times more $$$ for the local organizer? The fair committee are dedicated volunteers. Most have been working to build up the facilities since it was a vacant field and a tent. What you are asking for would take a full time event planner. The committee member have given countless hours over the years to build what is there now and have jobs & families. The bottom line is the most recent carnival that came here is no longer willing to travel to small towns like Haz & Bax. Many other small carnivals are out of business. Since you have this vast network of contacts in the carnival industry, then why not be a good citizen & find one willing to come to Haz & pass the contact info onto the fair committee?
As I have stated before on this thread, I have offered my help in the past, only to be told that I should leave the business of the fair to those that run it. As for small carnivals not wanting to come here because they don't make money here, that could have been taken care of in the past by making sure the public didn't get ripped off by whatever carnival came in here. Since it wasn't, and people got robbed by unscrupulous games, is it any wonder that the citizens quit supporting the fair? Once burned is twice taught. The blame for that rests solely on the fair committee chairman. And as I stated earlier, I told him about the rip-off games brought in here by the Sutton show, and was told to mind my own business. As for Perry having 140,000 people compared to 13,000 for Hazlehurst, that argument doesn't hold water either. With proper advertising and promotion, we could draw from all the surrounding counties, as well as from nearby states. The local tourism council has access to various websites to promote such an event for free. And as for having to hire an event co-ordinator, that too is false. We already have someone who is supposed to schedule and promote events at the fairgrounds... the committee chairman. But since he seems to be more interested in running for public office than running the fair, again I say that maybe its time for a change of leadership. I'd be willing to bet a dollar against a doughnut hole that if you were to ask any ten people on the street in Hazlehurst to name three people on the fair committee, none could do it. I realize that the committee is made up of volunteers, and most of them honestly want to do a good job, but the LEADERSHIP is what's missing. The fair has been controlled by BH Claxton for the past several decades. In earlier days, he did a great job, which resulted in much of what you see at the fairgrounds today. But of late, he has too many other things on his plate, it seems, to be able to devote the time and effort necessary to continue running the committee. Maybe it would be better for everyone if the committee looked into changing some of its members with some new blood, who could devote the necessary time needed to get the fair going again.

Since: Feb 13

United States

#13 Feb 15, 2013
Does anyone know when the next fair committee meeting will be held? Where will they meet? What time will it be held? How often do they meet? Are the meetings open to the public? Can I get a list of the members? How about their e-mail addresses? Where is the Jeff Davis County Fair's website? Are members of the Tourist Council invited? What about the Arts Council? What should I bring to the meeting?
Do Good

Fitzgerald, GA

#14 Feb 15, 2013
v93george wrote:
Does anyone know when the next fair committee meeting will be held? Where will they meet? What time will it be held? How often do they meet? Are the meetings open to the public? Can I get a list of the members? How about their e-mail addresses? Where is the Jeff Davis County Fair's website? Are members of the Tourist Council invited? What about the Arts Council? What should I bring to the meeting?
You are so on target - with both of last comments. People know that but like so many things in Hazlehurst/Jeff Davis the tone is "Let someone else do it."
jusme

Milford, IN

#15 Feb 15, 2013
v93george...... dont give up. sooner or later we will get new leadership. we have a small force of citizens now working hard to make this town the best it can be. there will always be naysayers and uninterested people. just ignore that and go forward. anything that is progressive and good for the town will be critized. you do have support. keep us informed as to how we can help. thanks
the real truth

Fitzgerald, GA

#16 Feb 15, 2013
The Fair Association is a non-profit corporation. It is not a public board or advisory council established by local government. The board of directors is composed of the officers, representatives of civic clubs, Chamber, Tourism, Arts Council & members at large. It holds an annual meeting each year as required in the bylaws. Board of directors meetings are on as needed basis.
Past Election

Stockbridge, GA

#17 Feb 15, 2013
v93george wrote:
I would also like to point out that the Georgia National Fair in Perry started out as a small county fair. By careful management and a progressive fair committee, it grew to a regional fair, and is now considered one of the best fairs in the South, with almost a million visitors every year, and huge amounts of cash going into city and county coffers from the tourist dollars generated. They started with a fairgrounds basically the same size as ours. They promoted their fair, invested wisely, purchased additional land, and made sure that they had a reputable carnival come in to handle their midway. They promoted concerts, boat and car shows, and various other events to help grow the fairgrounds. Now, the fair is held over a ten-day period, has an operating budget of well over a million dollars, and hosts agriculture and civic clubs from all over the state.(Jeff Davis County schools bussed several busloads of students to their fair this year, as did Appling, Montgomery, Coffee, Toombs, and Telfair counties.) There is no reason (other than a lack of proper management) why this same scenario couldn't happen here. We have the area, the fairgrounds, the facilities, and the need to make the Jeff Davis County Fair a huge success, if we had the proper people on the committee willing to dedicate the time, effort, and work that it would take to do it. Having a part-time committee ensures that we will have a lackluster fair, barely able to draw locally, much less from the surrounding area. Could it be possible that the committee leadership is too busy running for school board, county commission, etc.? This is not helping us maintain a fair, which in turn denies our kids the opportunity to show what they have learned in 4-H and FFA. It keeps money from local businesses that would directly benefit from tourist dollars generated from a successful fair. It denies all of us the fond memories we older citizens of this county experienced back when we were bussed to the fair each year. This town has lost too many businesses to risk losing more. BRING BACK THE FAIR !!!
**********

So you are a fair expert? According to wikipedia you are about 560,000 visitors off on the average national attendance to the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia every year.
**********

The Georgia National Fair is a state-sponsored fair that is held every October on the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia, United States.

The Georgia National Fair is now an 11-day fair. It was first held in 1990 with an attendance of 270,000 people.[1] It has grown to attract an annual average of over 440,000 visitors [1] It offers a wide range of activities and shows, such as agricultural, livestock and horse shows, home and fine arts competitions, youth organization events (4-H, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, and TSA), circus, midway rides and games, fair food, major live music concerts in Reaves Arena, family entertainment, and nightly fireworks.

The Georgia National Fair is the official state-sponsored fair, administered through the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority.

The rides have been provided by Reithoffer Shows since 1990.

Since: Feb 13

Savannah, GA

#18 Feb 15, 2013
Nitpicking. Ok, so I wasn't spot on with the figures, but I have worked at the Perry Fair for the past three years. My figures came from the website carneytown.com and from mattscarnivalwarehouse.com , both of whom report fair attendance figures closer to mine. Either way, the facts speak volumes about proper promotion, management, and advertising of that fair, and how it has grown. There is no reason why we couldn't do the same. The location of Jeff Davis county in the heart of the southern part of the state lends itself to the thought that a regional fair could be a success here. We have empty motel rooms, failing restaurants, and unemployed people . That means we have the need. We have a beautiful fairgrounds, with space for at least 40 rides and attractions. There is plenty of parking. Plus the 1890 Homestead. All it takes is the right people, doing the right things, and the fair could be a success. It was pointed out that no carnival wants to come here, because they don't make money here. Has anyone contacted Family Attractions out of Quitman? Or how about Dixieland Shows? And Peachtree Rides out ofAtlanta? The average carnival sets up their schedule a year in advance, to avoid conflicting dates. We might have to change the date of the fair, but I think it would be a small thing to do that. I have many more contacts that I would be happy to share, but no one can give me any info on the "who, what, where and when to contact the fair committee. I have tried to deal with Mr. Claxton in the past, to no avail. So now I put the question on here. Whose on the committee? Where and when do they meet? And if your info is correct when you stated that they meet once a year, the problem is staring us in the face. I guarantee you that the Perry Fair committee meets more than once a year. Maybe ours should too. But again it comes down to dedication and leadership. Its time to make some changes, Hazlehurst. Put on the big boy pants, roll up your sleeves, and do the right thing. BRING BACK THE FAIR !!!

Since: Feb 13

Savannah, GA

#19 Feb 15, 2013
One more thing... wikipedia is not a source I would recommend for carnival related information. Anyone can add so-called facts to anything there. Don't believe it? Read the fine print after any item you look up. And as for me being a carnival expert, those are your words, not mine. If your cable went out, would you call someone that sells tv's or the cable guy, who has experience and knowledge to answer your questions?.'Nuff said.
left a long time ago

Savannah, GA

#20 Feb 16, 2013
so glad to see someone wanting hazlehurst and jeff davs county t grow. but we all know that the powers to be dont wont it to grow and get better. they are happy wiht just the way things are there. they dont wont other people moving in they dont wont more businesss coming in. i dont even know why people are still there at all. we left many years ago. yes we go back to visit family and friends. but thats it. there nothing left there never will be anything there for anyone. its gonna be a ghost town if people like george dont start stepping up and saying we want better and more for our kids and grandkids. and to think that some of them people in office have kids and gradkids and call them selves christian people. but yet they know alot of what is going behind closed doors and wont speak up or step out for fear of stepping on someone toes. well its about time someone does step on their toes and get them out of office. let newer and younger blood come in. theres not even a movie show there no more no bowling alley no skating rink. come halzehurst and jeff davis the money yall could keep inside the town and county is going to other places cause yall are to scared and sorry to speak up andsay what yall want and need. but yet yall wonder why the kids and young adults get in trouble so much there. cause you dont offer crap for them to do. at least when me and my friends were teenagers we had the movie show and the skating rink to go to. but now the kids of the town and county dont have anything to go to or do......god bless you all who are stil there and dont wanna leave thinking it will get better... this is the town who has lost a lot of business and is not getting back any more to replace it.... but really george i wish you the best of luck with it all.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Hazlehurst Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Is there any revnue coming in hazlehurst,ga 8 hr Nasty Nate 2
Marie Ford 13 hr 912Guy 4
Kayla Watson Sat SickOfIt 8
Dykes Sat Trilly 1
threesomes Fri threesomedatingwe... 7
Hot as Hell wtf is going on with Earth Aug 18 really 9
Nasty Nate Aug 17 Steve 13

Hazlehurst Jobs

More from around the web

Personal Finance

Hazlehurst Mortgages