Legos, sheep, lumberjacks, music, chickens, funnel cakes and a pink-hued hoe down.
All are part of the 2012 Tennessee Valley Fair. But so are Ferris wheels and spinning rides, displays of flowers and canned foods, rabbits and cows. Along with tractor pulls, arm wrestling and contests that measure talent, beauty and even a person's ability to decorate a hot dog.
The 93rd annual Tennessee Valley Fair opens Friday, Sept. 7, at Chilhowee Park off Magnolia Avenue and Interstate 40's Exit 392.The fair continues for more than a week, closing at midnight Sept. 16. This year's fair combines the traditional events with new attractions that include a lumberjack show and a spotlight on local music.
The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show plays multiple times daily at the fair's Adventure Path area. Log rolling, wood chopping, ax throwing, tree climbing and other lumberjack feats are featured.The fair's Homer Hamilton Theatre is the site of concerts starting with opening night headliner M.C. Hammer. But this year includes a new highlight on local artists Sunday, Sept 9. That free concert will feature musicians Stephen Hunley, Brad Blackwell and the Southern Drawl Band.
Also new at the fair is a 6 p.m. Sept. 14 show by the local comedy improvisation group Einstein Simplified. And the fair's annual "Paint the Fair Pink Day" on Sept. 9 is adding a "Pink Day Hoedown." "Paint the Fair Pink" raises awareness about breast cancer and the fight against the disease.
Hoe down participants can line dance at the 3 p.m. Sept. 9 event; a line dance team from Texas Roadhouse will help. A donation is requested to participate; all proceeds benefit the Knoxville affiliate of the organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure. No advance sign-ups are required.
Many fair competitions require advance registration with items, from canned foods to bedazzled hats, judged during the fair. But a new contest for children and adults doesn't require advance sign-ups. Fairgoers can sign up to decorate hot dogs with "unique" condiments that day for the 3 p.m. Sept. 16 Food City Hot Dog Decorating Contest. Fair warning — the rules say contestants have to eat what they create. The first 50 adults age 16 and older and the first 25 children ages 8 to 15 will be accepted for the contest.
Returning events include the Sept. 8 Lego Extravaganza contest. Individuals check in 10:30 a.m. and compete building Lego creations starting at 11; families or teams check in at 2:30 p.m., built at 3. The contest is in the Kerr Buildikng.
The fair includes special admission deals during its run. Among them is the Sept. 16 "Hometown Heroes Day," where local people who help others get in for just $1. Those heroes include current and past members of the military, law enforcement, firefighters, first responders and current teachers. Some form of identification as to the hero's affiliation is needed for the admission deal.
And the fair knows that it's fall in Tennessee. "Tailgating at the Fair' is Sept. 8 and Sept. 15. Fairgoers wearing Volunteer Orange or the colors of their Saturday opponents (Georgia State on Sept. 8 and the Florida Gators Sept. 15) get $2 off adult admission. The fair also sets up a big screen in the Jacob Building to broadcast the football games.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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