People & Places with Pierce: Georgia-Carolina State Fair

The Georgia-Carolina State Fair has been a fall tradition in Augusta for nearly 100 years.
Fair manager Joe Taylor says: “It’s a tradition. The Georgia Carolina State Fair started in 1923. We’re not just a ride event. We are the only agricultural fair in the CSRA. That means that we have livestock shows. We have goat shows. We have beef cattle. We have exhibits.”
If you’re not into livestock, there are other options.
“The food!,” Taylor exclaimed. “Don’t forget the food! You can’t beat fair food. It’s unique. It’s unique. Where else can you get fried Oreos?”
The fair has come a long way since starting in the 1920′s.
“The interesting thing is to see how the fair itself is evolved and changed,” said Taylor. “What used to be very simplistic rides have become complicated rides. And of course now you see what used to be a small ferris wheel, now you see a mammoth wheel and you see it with LED lights and the lights themselves doing displays.”
Every game played and every ride ridden goes right back to the Augusta Exchange Club’s mission of helping the community.
“The Exchange Club itself was a group of men,” explained Taylor. “They actually were chartered August 8th, 1923. Two and a half months later, they put on a fair. Our founder in 1923, Bill Lester, he said about the fair: It’s all about the kids. This past year in both prize money and outright donations to charitable organizations that look after kids, 45 to 48 charities, was just over $200,000.”
All of that money goes to organizations in the CSRA.
“I’ve been involved with it for so long, but I cannot imagine not having the impact that we have,” said Taylor. “To me, the fair is one of the most colorful things you can come to at night.”
A night out at the fair helps local kids long after the fair leaves town.

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