Georgia National Fair opens with global exposure, honor for Black
The 2022 Georgia National Fair opened on Oct. 6 with all its normal activities - rides, livestock shows, exhibits galore, and with agriculture - the state’s largest economic sector - putting its best foot forward. Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB), the state’s largest general farm organization, has a significant presence at the fair, sponsoring the event’s slate of concerts and covering the prizes for the livestock show grand champions.
New in 2022, GFB dispatched its inaugural team of eight GFB Ambassadors to mingle with fairgoers and talk up the benefits of membership. Through the fair’s first weekend, the ambassadors, who are all college students, had recruited 59 new members.
The Georgia National Fair continues through Oct. 16.
During opening ceremonies at Reaves Arena, Georgia’s agricultural community honored Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who finishes his third term at the end of the year. Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority member Emily Watson paid tribute to Black, whose career has included stops at Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Agribusiness Council.
During Black’s tenure as ag commissioner, the Georgia National Fair has welcomed the Georgia Grown Building, where the state’s key agricultural stakeholders maintain a presence, and the Georgia Grown Baby Barn, located in the building, which gives fairgoers a firsthand encounter with cattle and hogs giving birth.
“You don’t miss that there are hundreds of thousands, millions of people that walk through these gates every year, and we have a small opportunity, a window of time, to show them what Georgia agriculture is all about and why it is important,” Watson said, before presenting Black a plaque commemorating his 12 years as agriculture commissioner and his long career in agricultural advocacy before that.
Gov. Brian Kemp also praised Black for his lifelong commitment to the state’s farmers.
“He has put his heart and soul not only into the fair board and this facility but in our entire state. To Lydia and his family, we’re just so grateful for their service and how hard they’ve worked on behalf of all Georgians,” Kemp said.
Kemp touted the fair as a showcase for Georgia agriculture and the state’s youth who participate in 4-H and FFA programs.
“This is certainly, to me, the backbone of our country and the backbone of the state of Georgia when you think about agriculture and who’s putting food on Americans’ and Georgia’s tables every day. I want to thank you for supporting that,” Kemp said.
Even as he nears the end of his time as agriculture commissioner, Black continued his advocacy, leading Georgia’s Consul Corps on a tour of the fair, with an informative stop at the Baby Barn. The group included representatives from the Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, India, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
“It’s really amazing, and I think it shows a connection that my country, Nigeria, has with the state of Georgia,” said Consul General Amina Smaila of Nigeria. “Agriculture is No. 1 in the state of Georgia. It’s also No. 1 in Nigeria. I think there are a lot of ways we can collaborate to make things better and to strengthen the bilateral relationship we have between the United States of America and Nigeria.”
Tickets for the Georgia National Fair are: Adults (ages 11 and up), $15; seniors (ages 60 and up): $10; children (ages 10 and under): free with a paying adult. Season passes are $95 each. Two-day passes are $25 each. Ride armbands, which are available on-site only, are $25 each for Oct. 6-7 and Oct. 10-14 and $30 each for Oct. 16. For more ticket information and to purchase online, visit www.georgianationalfair.com/p/tickets.
All incoming fair traffic will be stopped nightly at 9 p.m. After 5 p.m. each day, any youth 17 and under will be required to have a legal guardian present for entry.
The fair is instituting a new clear bag policy. All bags brought into the fairgrounds should be clear and 12x6x12 or smaller. Exceptions will be made for diaper bags as well as bags holding carry-in items for infants or medical reasons. Bags wallet-sized and smaller are not required to be clear. All bags are subject to inspection.