The tradition of an annual Morgan County Fair is ending after 69 years.
An official with Miami-based fair operator Modern Midways confirmed that Morgan County would not hold a 2019 fair after a new location could not be found.
Brian Morrissey, general agent, said he was informed by owner Robert Briggs that the Tennessee Valley Exposition board was unable to secure a location for the Morgan County Fair that had been scheduled for Sept. 19-28.
“All traditions eventually have to end,” Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long said. “It has brought a lot of excitement to the kids for many, many years. We’ll have to find something else now to take its place. I was a regular fairgoer myself growing up.”
Morrissey said he was disappointed the TVE board could not find a new site after the State Products Mart Authority board sold the 49.2-acre former fairgrounds behind Home Depot in Southwest Decatur. A local private investor purchased the acreage in February for $1.4 million.
The Products Mart board leased the property to the TVE board, which hosted the fair.
Members of the TVE board did not return calls Tuesday.
“They didn’t find a place for it this year,” Morrissey said. “We hope we can come back next year.”
A spokesman for the Morgan County Extension Office said his agency usually hears from the TVE board in the spring about plans for the agriculture shows to be conducted at the fair.
County Agent Mike Reeves said he did not hear from the board and made plans to consolidate a chicken-raising contest with the Lawrence County Extension Office and have judging at the Lawrence County Fair in October.
Last month, the Morgan County Master Gardeners group was informed a horticulture show would not be part of any Morgan County Fair held this year.
Two weeks ago, TVE board member Roger Glaze said if a site for the fair was found in time, it would most likely be a scaled-down, carnival-like event. He said the board was having trouble securing property large enough for the midway and anticipated parking.
Morrissey said Modern Midways is taking its equipment to shows in Montgomery and Gainesville, Georgia, the week the fair was to be in Morgan County.
“We have a long waiting list of cities and counties wanting fairs,” he said.
County records showed this would have been the 70th annual Morgan County Fair.