The event featured Wilson County Fair coordinator Helen McPeak, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto and Wilson County tourism director Jenny Bennett as guest speakers.
McPeak highlighted new events and activities for the 2017 Wilson County Fair, which will take place Aug. 18-26.
New events include a recycled garden and yard art competition, community youth rally and Christmas ornament competition.
“I don’t know if anybody is making recyclable garden yard art, but if you are, I hope you enter. This is brand new for this year. If you’re not, get on Pinterest. There are all kinds of ideas on there,” McPeak said.
The community youth rally will take place Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Community Stage. Hillcrest Baptist Church will play host to the event.
“Johnnie Payton has been working really hard. She had a church contact us a couple of years ago wanting to have a youth rally. That has taken a couple of years to get it to where it is now. Last year, it didn’t work out, but this year it’s going to work,” McPeak said.
Ornaments made for the Smoky Mountains Christmas Ornament Competition will go to help rebuild holiday collections, create new memories and share their love and support for wildfire victims in the Gatlinburg area.
All ornaments from the one-time contest will be donated to families affected by last year’s wildfires in Gatlinburg and Sevier County. Participants do not have to live in Wilson County.
Other new events and activities include the cornbread challenge baking contest, science, technology, engineering and math exhibits and activities and a LEGO competition in the School Building and Tennessee Hereford and Junior Hereford Association state shows.
The fair is not usually open during the week in the daytime, but because of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, the gates will open at 10 a.m. and will not close until 11:30 p.m. There will be fireworks as the sun starts to disappear, and there will be music across the fairgrounds. The buildings, exhibits and rides will be open during the eclipse.
Bennett said during the Wilson County Fair, visitors will be able to learn about Wilson County through the department’s booth inside the Wilson County Expo Center.
“I’ll be bringing to life the new maps we’ve created – Faves and Flaves of Wilson County. This is just a sampling of all the cool things we have here in Wilson County. It’s a seasonal map,” Bennett said.
Bennett said the booth would have guests and demonstrations from local businesses and groups such as Jug Creek Distillery and Honeybee Tennessee.
Hutto shared some highlights from his State of the County address, which he shared with the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce last week.
“You live in a great county. Right now, you live in a great time,” Hutto said. “We’re thriving because Nashville is the hottest region in the country, and we’re close to it, and it won’t always be like that.”
Hutto also highlighted the IMPROVE Act and its effect on Wilson County’s most debated roadway – State Route 109. He said work on the roadway is expected to start around February.
“They will start with a red light at intersection exchange at Academy Road. They’ll fix that first. I know citizens want that. Then they’ll go to the new bridge south of Sumner County and work their way back this way,” Hutto said.