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Cumming Country Fair & Festival starts Thursday
Big turnout expected for annual event
Fair setup
Marc Whitehead of Augusta works to set up the baby elephant ride at the Cumming Country Fair & Festival. Below, Michael “Cornbread” Morgan cranks down the landing gear as he levels one of the rides. The annual event begins Thursday and runs until Oct. 15. - photo by Jim Dean

The Cumming Country Fair & Festival has broken its attendance records each of the last two years and is hoping to make it three in a row. 

The fair opens this Thursday and will bring live music, delicious foods and fun rides through Oct. 15. More than 222,000 visitors came to the annual event in 2016, breaking the 2015 record of 167,827. 

“It’s always a good feeling to continue to grow, because that means your venue or your fair hasn’t become stagnant,” said Fairgrounds Administrator Dave Horton. “It means you’re still offering up new things or you’re offering up a good product that people want to come back, bring their friends and tell others about it.”



Fair setup

Since 2012, only one year — a rainy 2014 fair — has failed to break the record. Horton said bad weather can make an impact on attendance but the forecast is looking good.  

“With 11 days, you hope not to have a zero [attendance] day, but anything that is weather-affected can have an effect on your crowd as far as size,” Horton said. “Our weather forecast right now is looking very good; very fall-like, cooler weather in the morning and evening, which is perfect for fall festivals. 

In 2012, the record was set at 141,000 and was broken the next year with 167,616. A rainy 2014 saw the total slide to about 154,000, before hitting nearly 168,000 in 2015. Before 2012, the record was set at 127,500 in 2006.

Several days at the fair will have theme nights, including senior citizens day, student night and football Friday night. 

While the fair will be headlined by musicians Kellie Pickler, on Friday, Gene Watson on Oct. 10, and Thompson Square on Oct. 12, locals will also be putting on performances. 


Hours of operation

• Fair runs: Oct. 5-15

• Monday-Thursday: 4-10 p.m.

• Friday: 4 p.m.-midnight

• Saturday: 10 a.m.-midnight

• Sunday: 12:30-9 p.m.

Regular general admission prices

• Ages 10 and under: free

• Ages 11 and up $7

Cash only (ATM on-site)

“On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, we have what we call local stage,” Horton said. “We have groups like gymnastics demonstrations, we have two or three dance troupes that come in and do demonstrations, we have a beauty pageant on Saturday and we have some local bands. 

The winner of the beauty pageant, held from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 7, will be the next Miss Cumming Fair. 

For comic book fans, the Marvel Superhero Team will perform interactive shows at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11, which is also Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Day. CHOA will host a parade at 6 p.m. 

“Spider-man, Thor, Captain America, some of the superheroes will be there,” Horton said.

The fair will close out with two Days of the American Bullriders Tour on Oct 14 and 15.  

“It’s generally 30-40 riders each night,” Horton said. “It’s a good show. It’s a lot of riders coming in for that.” 

New ground acts, which perform daily, Lady Houdini, Cowboy Woody, Firemen High Dive Show, Atlanta Puppet Show and Horses, Horses, Horses will join annual acts Master of Chainsaw Brian Ruth, Oscar the Robot and Michelle’s Magical Poodles. 

“This year we have Lady Houdini who does all the water escapes that Houdini did,” Horton said. “In fact, she’s done more than Houdini did.”

Horton said the Fireman High Dive Show will feature a huge tower and jumping into a “little bitty pool.”

“The last night of the show, they do a fire dive where the guy is up there and lights himself on fire, then dives in the water.

The fair will also feature the Cherokee Indian Village, which consists of two historical log cabins and other buildings and traditional performances and demonstrations. Also, year round at the fairground is Heritage Village, a “living history exhibit” with a black ship shop, saw mill, cotton gin and many other historical buildings and exhibits. 

The fair will also have the essential rides and foods that fairs are expected to have. About 40 midway rides will be provided by James H. Drew Exposition.

Of course, the midway will also feature some traditional fair food, along with local vendors selling food and other items.

Tickets for the fair are $7 for ages 11 and up and free for those 10 and under and can only be paid for with cash. An ATM will be on-site. For more information, go to CummingFair.net.