Fun In The NeighborhoodTravel

The Fair Was Fair…

Williamson County Fair logo - Franklin, Tennessee. You may recall, that we were eager to attend the Williamson County Fair.

In fact, it was the first to be held in this county in over 50 years.(…Perhaps now we know why!)

Following is a wrap-up of our much-anticipated trip to the Williamson County Fair.

From the traffic… to the heat… to the lines… to the carnies who just didn’t get it… (wait, maybe the carnies were okay, it was more the volunteers who were a bit discombobulated!)… we were a tad surprised by a few things — right from the get-go.


Opening Night Jitters

Granted, we went on opening night, so there were bound to be a few rough edges that needed smoothing out.

So let this review pertain ONLY to Friday night’s events, rather than as a reflection of the entire Williamson County Fair as a whole. We trust that things eventually came together quite nicely for nights 2 through 9 at the Fair.


Welcome To The Fair!

We hope you brought plenty of gas, your hiking boots, money to park, something to drink, and your deodorant!

Williamson County Fair traffic. Here’s what we were greeted with after turning from 431 in Franklin onto Peytonsville Road (the road that the fair is on).

It took us over an hour to go 3 miles!

The local newspaper reported it this way:

“Traffic came to a crawl between the Cool Springs Galleria Boulevard and Peytonsville Road exits of Interstate 65 South. About a mile north of Exit 61 for Peytonsville Road/Spring Hill, vehicles merged on the right shoulder to exit the interstate and head toward the fair.”

That was nothing compared to what we experienced over on the backroad which led up to the fairgrounds!

The police who were directing traffic were obviously attempting to keep cars from jamming up the I-65 exits, so those cars continued to get priority over all of us who were jamming up Peytonsville Road for an hour! It just didn’t seem right.

Unfortunately, we (and the couple-a-hundred others who were trapped on Peytonsville Road) were getting bad vibes about the Fair before we even GOT there!

Williamson County Ag Expo Park in Franklin, Tennessee.


I Said, WELCOME To The Fair!

Upon arrival at the Ag Expo Center (which served as the fairgrounds), we found the reason for all the traffic jams in the first place: They were collecting $3 cash from each driver to park!

Nothing wrong with that per se, but can’t ya just build that into the ticket price?!?

Tickets to the Fair were only $5 apiece, so why not tack on an extra 50-cents per ticket instead of holding up traffic and nickel-and-diming us at the Fair itself???


I Said, Welcome to the FAIR!

Jim's hairy legs collecting chiggers and weeds in the tall grass at the Williamson County Fair. Then, as soon as we got out of our car we were greeted by 3-foot tall overgrown field grass and weeds. What an experience!!!

Lynnette's feet practically buried by tall weeds and grass in the Williamson County Fair parking lot. It was SO tall that it came above our knees, and left us with scratched and itchy legs for the rest of the night. (And I’m certain that more than one family lost their child in the tall grass that night…)

I felt sorry for the poor lady that parked next to us. She was obviously dressed more for the occasion of enjoying a casual “date” with her husband than tromping through some weeds. We walked from the parking lot behind her, and she had a heck of a time negotiating the terrain in those strapless high-heeled black sandals!

Ah well, as I said, this was the FIRST night of the Fair, so think of it this way: Those who attended on Friday night effectively mowed (more like trampled down) the parking lot for future Fair guests on nights 2 through 9! You’re welcome.

Now onto the highlights… (or should I say: “the REALLY unusual stuff!”)


I Got My “Tech” On At The Fair

Yahoo! was there. Well not the gurus behind the Yahoo search engine, just the half-pint yodeler behind the Yahoo commercials.

Taylor Ware the national Yahoo yodeling champion. Her name is Taylor Ware, and she’s a cutie pie. I saw (heard?) her last year when she visited the state capitol and did some yodeling for the Tennessee State Senators. This little chickadee gets around!

On this night, she opened for Sheriff Ricky Headley — who opened for George Jones. Here’s where she’ll be for the rest of 2005.

Speaking of “tech”, unfortunately we never saw the city of Franklin’s high-tech Critical Incident Command Vehicle there, so we didn’t get to take our own close-up pictures of this one-of-a-kind emergency management system.

Inside the Williamson County Ag Expo Center. Waiting for the George Jones concert inside the Williamson County AgExpo Center.


Next On The Pre-Show Agenda

Williamson County Sheriff, Ricky Headley was next up. He’s a local celebrity of sorts — one who sings at festivals, and fairs, and even weddings!

Williamson County Sheriff Ricky Headley -- the singing sheriff. He performed more like the “main act” than the opening act, if you ask me. I mean he must’ve been on stage for no less than 1-1/2 hours!

That’s great for all the Ricky Headley fans, and not to discredit the Sheriff for his time spent sweating it out on stage — because he certainly put on one heck of a show — but it was “hotter than a motorcycle” in there (Jim’s favorite phrase), and most of us were eager to see some George Jones before we either melted or passed out from the heat — whichever came first.


Some George Jones Links:



So, Who Brought Grumpy?

Leah Hulan at the Williamson County Fair. Then, things got REALLY hot when none other than Ms. Leah Hulan (from Grumpy’s Bail Bonds) entered the building!

Leah Hulan of Grumpys Bail Bonds and Abe Lincoln. Actually, I was watching her in all her uniqueness for a long time before I realized who/what I was looking at. I mean, you could tell she was “someone” from the way she dressed…

    …short-shorts (resembled a Hooters outfit which left very little to the imagination)
    …long white-blonde locks (that she kept flipping to and fro)
    …a glittery black dressy purse (with this SHORTS outfit?…only she could’ve pulled that off!)
    …and enough makeup to satisfy a film crew (…wait, she WAS satisfying a film crew!!!)


Leah Hulan checking out the George Jones memorabilia. It wasn’t until I spotted the camera man who was capturing every little thing this woman did… and the sound-boom guy who followed her everywhere holding a big, fuzzy microphone over her head… that I realized this was another local celebrity. Turns out, they were in the middle of filming Leah Hulan’s upcoming reality show for CMT.

Leah Hulan of Grumpy's Bail Bonds and her reality show film crew. And she was definitely “on” this night! She put on a quite a show — for the TV audience AND for the local audience at the Fair. From two-stepping with another girl in front of the stage (no one else was dancing) to being the most excited fan in the house when George Jones took the stage (if you know what I mean)… Leah Hulan certainly stole the show!


A mom and kids on a kiddie ride at the Williamson County Fair in Franklin, Tennessee.


Still Waiting For George Jones…

Fast-forward a couple hours later, and the entire audience is trying to stay dry (from all the perspiration) and hydrated while sitting inside this feed barn with NO air conditioning and NO fans on a 95+ degree day!

Despite the fact that all of the concert tickets were “reserved seats”, few wanted to sit right next to someone in these sweltering conditions, so like many others, we actually found two seats over to the side by ourselves — all the while, fanning ourselves with the hand-held cardboard fans-on-a-stick that volunteers passed out.

You had to leave the building to get a “fresh-squeezed lemonade”, and it was obviously about 10 degrees cooler outdoors!

A midway game at the Williamson County Fair in Franklin, Tennessee.

Which leads me to another realization: There were not enough volunteers working in the food & beverage stands. People were THIRSTY (and hungry), and had to wait forever because there was only “one person making the beverages and handling the window at the same time” while the other person “cooked all the food”.

BONUS: Every beverage purchased at the Fair, regardless of which size you bought, only cost $1 to refill! Now that’s a nice little touch that goes a long way.


Up Close & Personal With The Possum

George Jones opened the Williamson County Fair in Franklin, Tennessee. Finally, George Jones took the stage, and he must’ve played well over 2 hours that night! Fans truly got their money’s worth from these $10 tickets!!!

George Jones concert at the Williamson County Fair in Franklin, Tennessee. It was exciting to see such a legend. And we got lots more great photos (… until they made all of us who rushed the stage stand back so the people in the front row could see).

— > View The George Jones “Choices” Video


Other Fair Highlights

Call me an old fogey, but I was slightly bummed that there was no petting zoo. I don’t even have kids, and I love petting zoos! C’mon, everyone loves a petting zoo… right?

Supposedly, it was cancelled due to all the e coli scare that was started at Florida petting zoos last summer. Bummer for us here in Tennessee.

There were actually a handful of animals on site, but they were all kept in pens and there were dozens of volunteers guarding the pens and keeping people from touching the animals.

I spent most of the time in awe of these two 9-foot (guesstimate) black horses! I’m not really a horse person, but these guys were INTRIGUING –especially the one who I KNOW was up to something…

Big brown horse in the stalls at the Williamson County Fair in Franklin, Tennessee. You see, he would make a funny face & floss his teeth with his tongue (can you visualize it?!) time after time, but the second I’d focus my camera on him to photograph it, he’d stop. Half the time, he’d come up to the fence that was closest to me and literally STARE at me eye-to-eye.

And you could tell he was bored and none too happy to be confined in that pen, cuz every 5 minutes or so, he would haul out and KICK the side wall (which was solid, rather than a fence)!

Who knew I'd ever get a photograph of a horse's ass?!... I'm sure this one will come in handy on several occasions. THEN, the calmer one of the two horses literally pushed his butt up against the fence where we were standing, and pried it OPEN (the fence) with his weight! (You should’ve seen the little 12-year-old volunteer freak out over that one. Fortunately, there was a just-as-nervous 40-something year old volunteer nearby who ran over and re-latched the chain that was holding the gate closed.)

Let me tell ya, Jim wasn’t thrilled to be in such close proximity to a horse’s as# either… He kept saying, “You’d better get back… this horse looks like she’s getting ready to dump a load, and when she does — she’s gonna blow!”


My Summary Of The Williamson Co. Fair

Just my $.02… but attendance for opening night seemed so-so.

Believe it or not, I was actually thinking this long BEFORE I saw Leah Hulan at the Williamson County Fair… that Grumpy’s Bail Bonds should’ve sponsored the Fair this year.

Grumpy's Bail Bonds billboard, featuring owner, Leah Hulan. I mean, Tractor Supply was a good sponsor for the Fair, but can you just imagine how much better it COULD’VE been with Leah Hulan involved?! Attendance by adult males aged 20 to 50 alone would have tripled. And there surely would’ve been a more “fun” adult slant to it all. Plus, she’s one of the most creative folks IN Williamson County… this former military intelligence agent even creates her own commercials!


Other Tennessee County Fairs

Rubber ducky midway game at the Williamson County Fair in Franklin, Tennessee. If you missed the Williamson County Fair, or just couldn’t go this year, then consider the following upcoming county fairs in Tennessee: Cheatham, Dickson, Maury, Robertson, and Wilson. And keep in mind, the Tennessee State Fair is set for September 9-18th.


What I Learned Today…
Who knew I could make a fairly interesting post out of a stinkin’ county fair… and a horse’s a#s?


UPDATE: We went to the same fair the following year and they worked out the kinks.(yay) The highlight at the 2006 fair: DOGS! They had “Xtreme K9s” frisbee-catching dogs and “Ultimate Air Dogs” that jumped into water to catch and retrieve things!