By Katie Bohannon, News Editor
One of the oldest fairs in Alabama is celebrating its 82nd anniversary. In September of 2021, the Etowah County Fair welcomes the community to experience a legacy of fun, laughter and fellowship that flourishes year after year.
Etowah County Fair Association President Randall Green’s involvement with the fair spans back to his childhood and his passion for the annual event stems from a prominent person in his life – his father. When Green’s father joined American Legion Post 71 in 1975, his affiliation with the fair board followed shortly after, and soon Green trailed alongside his father from year to year, shoveling soil and assisting in preparing the grounds for visitors. After Green’s father passed away due to an accident in 1995, Green donned his father’s mantle and carried on his legacy, never missing a county fair in 24 years.
Green treasures fond memories of the fair from his childhood, enriched with learning from older American Legion members and fair volunteers. His emphasis on tradition sprouted from his respect for elder generations, with Green upholding the value of giving back to his community through the fair as so many did before him.
This year’s fair will feature a petting zoo alongside 18 to 20 carnival rides provided by C&M Southern Midways entertainment. Exhibits from local schools and nonprofit organizations coincide with booths offering local arts and crafts, canned goods, quilts and fresh fruits and vegetables. The fair is accepting exhibit entries until Monday, September 20 at 5 p.m.
“I hope visitors come out and enjoy the rides, but most of all I hope they enjoy the fellowship with family,” said Green. “I hope it brings the community together as one and shows we can have good entertainment. I just like to see everybody come out, put their differences aside, enjoy themselves and eat all the funnel cakes and corn dogs they can eat!”
Five nights of performers create an entertaining lineup for fairgoers, with Teddy Cox hosting Tuesday night, Chris McCurley’s praise and worship on Wednesday, Etowah High School graduate Jeremy noble playing country music on Thursday, The Outlaw Band taking over Friday and Tequila Falls concluding the roundup with a Western dance under a tent on Saturday night.
Though the 2020 fair proved a struggle due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the same passion that fuels the fair board each year proves just as fervent in 2021. To ensure the health and safety of those who attend, the fair will follow CDC guidelines, disinfecting rides prior to opening and providing sanitizer throughout the grounds.
Located at the Etowah County Fair Grounds at 31 Griffin St SE in Attalla, the fair costs $3 at the gate, with one $15 purchase providing guests with a week-long armband. Friday night after football games, visitors can bring in their paid football stub tickets and enjoy the fair free of charge. The fair opens each night at 5 p.m., from Tuesday, September 21 to Saturday, September 25. On Sunday, September 26, the gates will open at 1 p.m. for armbands only.
Green commended the efforts of the American Legion, Etowah County Fair Association and all volunteers and attendants who ensure the fair’s success from decade to decade. He shared that he hopes to witness the county’s 100th fair in the following years, describing the event as a moment when children can create lifelong memories and adults can alleviate the stresses of everyday life, traveling back in time to their own childhoods, rediscovering that fun, worry-free innocence of being a kid again.
“The fair offers the community a time to come out and enjoy each other,” Green said. “It offers them the chance to enjoy carnival food and riding rides with their kids – who are toting stuffed animals, eating all that cotton candy and being as hyper when they leave as they were when they got there. That’s what I enjoy seeing most. Growing up down there and getting more involved, I see what the fair can do to put a smile on someone’s face. Just because you’ve gotten older in life, you can still enjoy being a kid.”
For more information, contact Randall Green at 256-490-5432.