Who Are We? Quite simply: The Tennessee Valley Fair is a non-profit organization dedicated to showcasing East Tennessee heritage, agriculture and the arts for over 90 years.
A core staff of 6, plus hundreds of amazing directors and volunteers work year round to orchestrate the Tennessee Valley Fair you know and love. We are East Tennesseans who love our communities and value the opportunity to showcase the very best of our region. Our office at Chilhowee Park is open year round – contact us.
Our Mission: The Tennessee Valley Fair is a non-profit organization that exists to celebrate and promote agricultural heritage, family values, and individual life skills in our community with an emphasis on youth development activities through exhibits, tours and the funding of scholarships. The Tennessee Valley Fair showcases traditions of the past, emphasizes ingenuity in Tennessee through the products of the present and supports the vision of the future in the areas of agriculture, trade, and industry.
Did You Know? The Tennessee Valley Fair…
- Attracts 150,000 guests annually from every county in East Tennessee.
- Infuses Knox County with hundreds of thousands in tourism dollars each year – approximately 35% of fairgoers travel from outside of Knox County to attend our event year after year.
- Provides hundreds of jobs in Knox County every year – paying out over 400,000 in wages to temporary workers in 2013 alone.
- Offers over 3,200 diverse contests, sparking regional creativity & innovation.
- Supports our community by raising thousands each year for local charities
- Fosters youth development through volunteerism, scholarships, educational activities and leadership development opportunities.
- Actively supports the local arts & cultural community through our events; nearly every artistic expression is featured at the fair each year.
- Passionately advocates for agricultural education though exhibits, events and entertainment
- Isn’t a “traveling” operation – we are a non-profit organization born and raised right here in Knoxville. Our staff is made up of Knoxvillians who love East Tennessee and work to showcase our region.
- Will celebrate our 100th Fair in September 2019!
We are YOUR Fair, East Tennessee. We appreciate your support! See you September 5-14, 2014! Your satisfaction and safety is our #1 priority. Learn more about our Midway provider, Wade Shows, commitment to quality and safety – click here. If you have questions or comments about your experience, we’re here to help. Just let us know how.
Looking for information on Chilhowee Park? Our event is located in historic Chilhowee Park, but we do not own and operate this property. For inquiries about Chilhowee Park, please contact the City of Knoxville at 865-215-1450.
The Tennessee Valley Fair we know today was born in 1916; however, we can trace its origins back to the earliest years of the last century. It began as an idea in the minds of a group of progressive and idealistic Knoxvillians who dreamed of making their city a shining centerpiece of a prosperous and modernized Appalachian.
Lead by the regions most enterprising citizens – businessmen, publishers, educators, and others, they conceived the idea of bringing a great exposition which would serve as a showcase for Knoxville and all of southern Appalachia, drawing national attention to the city’s promising commerce and industry and to the region’s bountiful (but as yet undeveloped) natural and human resources. Thus was born the Appalachian Exposition of 1910.
The 1910 Exposition was a tremendous success and continued in 1911 and 1913. After much negotiation, organizers promoted an annual Fair named the East Tennessee Division Fair which was first held in 1916. The Fair promoted improved methods of agriculture and raising livestock, but also displayed the improvements of labor, industry, education, and science.
In 1916, the first Fair set a pattern for all those which followed over the next nine decades. In 1932, the Fair rechartered as a non-profit and renamed the Tennessee Valley Agricultural and Industrial Fair.
The Fair struck a healthy balance between entertainment and education, between lighthearted fun and serious business. It highlighted the products of East Tennessee’s farms (in close cooperation with the University of Tennessee’s Agriculture Department and Extension Service), but also drew attention to the regions industry and commerce. Moreover, the Fair awarded premiums to encourage farmers and homemakers to improve their products, stimulated competition among the region’s counties and communities for recognition of their achievements and showed Fairgoers the latest innovations for home and farm.
A great deal of the Fair remains unchanged; the Midway today offers much of the same of thrills and oddities as it did ninety years earlier, and the Fair’s nightly fireworks seem to never lose their appeal with Fairgoers of all ages. Most importantly, whatever the effects of social, economic, and technological change in the world around it, the Fair remains for all East Tennesseans a place to learn, to compete, to have fun, and most of all to make memories.
Have a memory about the Tennessee Valley Fair? Share it with us on our Facebook page!