Since its opening in 2001, this 92-acre, multi-purpose facility at the foot of White Oak Mountain has hosted some of the Southeast’s top horse and livestock shows, as well as a variety of other events such as concerts, family reunions, church and school events, rodeos and clinics. The hotel/motel tax helps fund the center’s operations budget and has proven to be a good investment. Tri-State has attracted exhibitors, vendors and visitors, who often take time to enjoy Bradley County’s other tourist attractions such as our Civil War history and Red Clay State Park.
Since 2004, Tri-State has hosted the annual Foothills Country Fair which is scheduled to open Thursday and run through Saturday. The Fair was developed and is operated by an all-volunteer team from nine Ruritan Clubs in Bradley and Hamilton counties. Led by Fair chairman Louie Alford, the clubs from Cherokee Too, Flint Springs, Harrison, McDonald/Black Fox, North Lee, Oak Grove, Taylors, Valley View and Westside have done an outstanding job of providing a fun-filled “stay-cation” for residents throughout the region.
Headlining this 10th anniversary fair will be bluegrass superstar Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. Skaggs has won numerous Grammy Awards and the International Bluegrass Music Association presented him the award for best bluegrass album. Other talent includes Mustang Sally and Rick Dellinger, so be sure and bring your lawn chair and enjoy a great Friday night of entertainment. Other events include beauty pageants and cultural arts contests, which include color photography, baking, handcrafts and more. The demolition derby is scheduled for Saturday at 8 p.m. and numerous other events such as the antique tractor show, livestock exhibits and bouncies for the kids are sure to provide you and your family a weekend of good entertainment.
The Fair’s Backyard BBQ Bash is also making a return visit for 2013. This bash is a state championship event sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. I’m told that at least two of the nation’s top professional grill masters will be competing in the cookoff. With $15,000 in prize money at stake, 24 professional grill masters from as far away as Michigan and Louisiana have signed up for the competition so far.
There is something for all ages at this year’s fair. For detailed information, log on to the fair’s website at http://foothillscountryfair.webs.com. Contestants are asked to pre-register online or call 339-1989.
Admission to Thursday night’s pageant events is free to everyone. A $10 pin, which includes the concerts, is needed for admission on Friday and Saturday. Pins can be purchased at Bank of Cleveland (all locations), Ace Hardware in Cleveland, Cleveland/Bradley Teachers Credit Union, Check into Cash (Cleveland locations), U.S. Money Shops in Cleveland, and First Volunteer Bank on Highway 58.
Gates open Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. The awards presentation for all BBQ events will take place Saturday in the main arena beginning at 5 p.m.
The Foothills Country Fair is the result of hard work and many long hours by members of the Cherokee District Ruritan Clubs. The clubs return the fair’s proceeds to the communities which they serve. The money funds various community projects and contributes greatly to our quality of life.
We can all be proud of the 10th annual Foothills Country Fair and Tri-State Exhibition Center. They are just two of the reasons I say … Bradley County is Tennessee at its best. I encourage everyone to go out and enjoy some fun in our own backyard.