When you think of Perry, what first comes to mind? For most, it's memories of cotton candy, maybe a ride on the agri-lift, or winning first prize in a cattle show. Either way, reflections of Perry more than likely include the Georgia National Fair Grounds.
"It attracts people to Perry that otherwise wouldn't come," said Randy Moore, the executive director of the GA Agriculture Exposition Authority.
Since 1990 The Georgia National Fair has welcomed 16 million visitors and created more than $900 million dollars in direct economic impact.
"You have the lake and rides and music and animals and cakes and quilts and seeing children and families out together and seeing families from all walks of life," said Michelle Treptow, director of communications.
The Georgia National Fair Grounds and Agricenter host vendors from across the country year round. And the thousands who travel to the events generate a lot of money.
"Just like the 11 days of the fair the department of revenue sat down the hall here and it was over half a million dollars in sales tax," said
53% of the Georgia National Fair Grounds budget is generated by the fair, which continues to grow year after year. Aside from fun rides and great food the fair provides good music as well.
"We will have Blake Shelton, who has been doing very very well this year. Especially on the NBC show, "The Voice" he will be here October 8th," said Treptow.
Most of the year the grounds function as agriculture haven for 4-H and FFA clubs from across the country. With national and regional Rodeos, cattle shows, and horse races, there's a little piece of the farm for everyone.
"I think deep down everyone wants to be a cowboy at one time or another. So the horse events bring that, plus there's a lot of professionals that come and their riding expertise is second to none," said Jim Floyd, director of youth and agriculture.
The relationship between Perry leaders and the fair grounds keep the facility running smooth and welcomes growth in the future.
The Georgia National Fair runs October 6th through the 16th, and tickets are 8 dollars on the day of the events. And don't forget children 10 and under get in free.