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Firm to lease fairgrounds for 2010, agriculture to remain a vital componet


By Ron Weber

Photo courtesy of TN State Fair

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Rockhouse Partners landed the contract with the Metro Nashville Government to produce the Tennessee State Fair.  Rockhouse is owned by former executives of a music marketing company.

Chrysty Fortner, former director of marketing and sponsorships of the Tennessee State Fair was recently hired by the company to run their fair and festivals division.

Fortner landed the contract after only a couple of months with the Rockhouse. 

Rockhouse will be partnering with North American Midway Entertainment to produce the 2010 Tennessee State Fair.  NAME was awarded the midway contract for the Tennessee State Fair last year as well as the Michigan State Fair.&nPhoto By TN State Fairbsp; Both events were in jeopardy of not continuing in 2010 so news of the opportunity to continue with the Tennessee State Fair was very welcome by NAME's CEO, Mike Williams.  "North American Midway Entertainment is extremely excited to revive and continue delivering the best in midway entertainment to the Tennessee State Fair in 2010" said Williams.

"In 2009, North American Midway Entertainment and the State Fair of Tennessee provided a new and prestige State Fair experience for fairgoers, in return we were flooded with positive feedback and praise. In 2010, we are looking to take that experience to an even higher level with the renewed community focus and enthusiastic leadership of our combined team (Rockhouse, NAME and the Farm Bureau)", added  Amber Swedgan, Director of Media and Communications, NAME. 

Chrysty Fortner of Rockhouse Partners was able to answer some questions about the Tennessee State Fair for MCW:

MCW: Will the event carry the TN State Fair name?

FORTNER:  Yes, we're working diligently with our creative team to brand this fair and redesign the logo.

With the decision only occurring yesterday (Wednesday), we're moving at lightning speed, but yes, we will continue calling ourselves the Tennessee State Fair, will remain the website address, the dates: Sept. 10- 19, 2010

MCW: I suppose you will be able to lease the land of the former fair but do you plan to re-locate it at a later time?

FORTNER: Yes, we are entering into a lease for property beginning August 31, 2010 through Sept. 22nd, 2010.

Of course, our plans are to use this successful 2010 event as a springboard to the continuation into 2011 and beyond The Nashville-based, Tennessee State Fairgrounds will be the site of Tennessee State Fair in 2010.

MCW: Will you have the agricultural component to it?

FORTNER: Yes, yes, and yes! Agriculture is a very important facet of this fair and the state of Tennessee.  We are committed to continuing the 104-year old traditions and competitions.  Youth in agriculture is very important to all of us.  We are meeting tomorrow (Friday) with the previous years' Livestock Advisory Committee to begin planning for the 2010 Tennessee State Fair.  Our plans are to keep it as close to previous years' payouts and competitions as possible.

Another key component of the Tennessee State Fair that we plan to enhance will be charitable giving and community-focused social responsibility. Along these lines, the State Fair of Tennessee will work with the Tennessee Farm Bureau in setting up a 501(c)(3) organization to engage the community and manage all charitable activities.

MCW: What other attractions do you plan to have?

FORTNER: Of course, North American Midway Entertainment will be providing the midway which is the best news. Actually, they are the primary partner in this and it would not be possible without their belief in this market and this team. 

NAME has worked diligently with Rockhouse Partners and Tennessee Farm Bureau to continue this great event with the best-in-class family and community entertainment and education.

We are in the planning stages of a music/concert series and will be making announcements about that portion of the fair in the coming weeks. 

We're thrilled to revitalize the Tennessee State Fair and build on its long and proud history.  The event represents a tremendous opportunity in terms of Tennessee heritage, music, education, and agriculture.

The vision for the State Fair of Tennessee is a partner-driven approach with a renewed focus on children's programs, live music, and positive initiatives like green energy. Also look for exciting social media and digital integration into this years' outreach.

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