Cumming, GA

From humble beginnings, the Cumming Country Fair & Festival is now FoCo’s biggest event

John Thompson

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Photo/Cumming Fairgrounds Facebook page

(Cumming, GA) When patrons enter the turnstiles Thursday for the opening day of the Cumming Country Fair and Festival, they’ll be entering a nearly three-decades-old tradition.

Cumming City Administrator Phil Higgins has seen every fair since the first one in 1995. He said the fair started because of the vision of previous city fathers.

“They started planning this in 1992 or 1993 as a meeting place for the community,” said Higgins.

From 1995 through 1997, the fair occurred in April and October for a five-day run. In 1997, the city decided just to have it in October for a 10-day run. Higgins said after the fair moved to a singular fall event, it changed dramatically.

“In the early days, one of the biggest attractions was the Heritage Village which showed how people did things 100 years ago,” said Higgins.

The village featured barber shops, a syrup mill, and a sawmill.

The village is still part of the fair, but tastes have changed over the decades.

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Photo/Cumming Fairgrounds Facebook page

“Now a big part of it is for the kids, including the rides and the sideshows,” he said.

One feature that has not changed over the years is the musical performers.

“We’ve had Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean and Charlie Daniels,” Higgins said. “We had them on their way up when we could afford them.”

Last year, Higgins said the fair drew more than 250,000 people over the 10 days, but Higgins is even more optimistic about this year’s run.

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Photo/Cumming Fairgrounds Facebook page

“The weather looks good, so we could see 300,000 attend,” said Higgins.

The fair was the only event held at the Cumming Fairgrounds in the early days. Before that first fair in 1995, a small fair might come through on a weekend, but nothing that rivals the activity at the fairgrounds now. In recent years, something is booked at the event center nearly every weekend in good weather.

“We have the rodeo every year and have hosted arena football and truck shows,” Higgins said.

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Photo/Cumming Fairgrounds Facebook page

He added a significant factor in making the fair so successful each year.

“The fairground staff, including [Fairgrounds Director] Tracy Helms, does an amazing job.”

The Cumming Country Fair and Festival is October 6-16 at the Cumming Fairgrounds. For more information, visit here.

If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact John Thompson at johntct@aol.com

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I've been writing articles around the metropolitan region for 30 years. My work has appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the NY Post, and other regional newspapers.

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