Congratulations and Gratitude to our Naming sponsors
Traditions First Bank - Fairgrounds Name Sponsor
The Pitts Family - The Bobby & Sue Pitts Memorial Livestock Pavilion
Becky Averitt - The Averitt Family Event Hall
County fairs have long held a key role in America’s agricultural community, serving as a forum for sharing agricultural knowledge and highlighting local products. They also provide a stage for youth involved in our schools and 4H to showcase their projects and local artists to be recognized for their work. Beyond the educational purposes, fairs provided an opportunity for members of far flung rural communities to gather and socialize, reinforcing the bonds that underlie rural life.
The history of the Houston County fair stretches back to 1902, with fairs being held annually until 1966, when the fair went dormant. The current Houston County Fair was resurrected by a dedicated group of volunteers back in 2007 and has grown in popularity in the intervening years, with paid attendance exceeding 5000 visitors, not including the participants. Beyond the fair itself, the fair board sponsors the New Year’s Eve shamrock drop along with the Fairest of the Fair pageant and additional events throughout the year.
Since its resurrection, the Houston County Fair has been operating out of space that was made available through the generosity of Jay Perdue at no cost to the fair. Over the course of the intervening 15 years, the fair and its volunteers have transformed what was a dilapidated and impossibly cluttered facility into the current venue. This transformation was made using donated / salvaged materials and the personal investment of time and energy by the fair’s enthusiastic volunteers.
In 2022 Jay Perdue extended an offer to sell the Perdue Acoustics site to the Houston County Fair, this includes 10-acres of level land in the heart of Erin and over 50,000 square feet of enclosed space. The Fair’s vision for this space extends beyond the fairgrounds to include facilities for youth livestock shows (currently held out of county die to lack of a facility), offices and classrooms for the UT extension, a catering kitchen and a large covered venue for a variety of public events. In the end, the site will serve as both a fair grounds and a badly needed community center serving all of Houston County.
In March of 2023 the Fair completed the purchase of the Perdue Acoustics site, aided by a $100K appropriation secured by Jay Reedy with the Perdue family carrying a $300K 6-year note for the balance. To follow through with the purchase, the Fair is kicking off its “Fairwell to the mortgage” campaign, with the goal being to raise $50K / year to pay off the mortgage. In support of this the fair has applied for a 501c3 non-profit status from the IRS. A local family has put forth a $50,000 challenge grant, where they will match up to $50,000 in contributions on a 1 for 1 basis. This leaves us with having to raise $250,000 over the next six years, which is where you come in. The fair will be holding a dinner / silent auction on June 10th to kickoff this fund raising effort, followed by events throughout the year to make the Houston County fairgrounds a reality.
With ownership of the site secured, the door is opened for multiple opportunities for grants from both public and private sources to improve the fairgrounds, including construction, equipment and landscaping. Be on the lookout for coming improvements!