In 1853, the Third Division Fair was held in Lebanon for the first time. Between 1854 and 1885 the Wilson County Fair was located in the original location on Coles Ferry Pike, the site of today's Jimmy Floyd Center and the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center. In 1868 Dr. J.M. Anderson and Board of Directors built an amphitheater 70 feet in diameter.
In 1919 one hundred and twenty five citizens organized a two day fair at the Courthouse on the Square. Due to the success of this fair, a Fair Board was organized and stock was sold. Twenty acres were purchased on Coles Ferry Pike near the old "Fair Spring" and racing grounds. $30,000 in improvements were made including a Grandstand, Stable, and Cattle Barn. These were followed with a Poultry Building, Women's Building and Sheep Barn. The fair was held on this property by the stockholders through 1927.
The 1927 fair had an attendance of over 25,000. Between 1927 and 1969 the fair was continued by various owners and stockholders. The fair was closed in 1969. In 1973 the fair was re-established by the Lebanon Jaycees and called The Mid State Fair. This remained the name of the fair through 1978. When the County Court met in March 1974, Mr. Bob Burton made a motion to purchase an 104 acre tract of the Baddour Estate. This acquisition of property was the beginnings of the James E. Ward Agricultural and Community Center. From 1975 until 1978 the Midstate Fair was held on this site. The Lebanon Jaycees were responsible for the construction of the first permanent building which was a restroom facility on the property.
In 1979 Wilson County Promotions was formed with the purpose of establishing the Wilson County Fair. Thirty three people were on the first Fair Board. Officers included Johnny Trice, Hale Moss, Nelson Steed, and Charlene Key. The Youth Board consisted of 21 members. Attendance that year was 12,000. The James E. Ward Center has been home to the Wilson County Fair under the leadership of Wilson County Promotions and a volunteer Fair Board of 300 members from 1979 until the present. By 1984 the Wilson County Fair was named Tennessee's Most Improved Fair. Attendance was 21,000. There were new events added which were the demolition derby, truck and farm tractor pull, and a break-dance contest. In 1991 Wilson County Fair was named State Champion Fair of the AAA Division. That year we broke ground for Fiddler's Grove. By 1999 the fair was number one in the state with an attendance of over 257,000.
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