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VOL. 122 | NO. 164 | Thursday, August 30, 2007

'Everyone's Fair' Debuts Friday at Agricenter

GABRIELLE C.L. SONGE | Special to The Daily News

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Delta Fair and Music Festival
Friday, Aug. 31 to Sunday, Sept. 9
Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for kids ages 5 to 12 and children younger than 4 are admitted free.
For more information, visit www.deltafest.com.

As the setup goes into full swing with canopies and temporary stage floors being built for Friday's opening of the Delta Fair and Music Festival, motor homes, livestock trailers and amusement rides are parked at Agricenter International, 7777 Walnut Grove Road.

The event, which is being billed as "Everyone's Fair," runs through Sunday, Sept. 9.

Mark Lovell, president and owner of Expo South, is producing the new festival. Expo South is an Eads business that has been promoting and producing fishing, hunting and boating shows since the early 1990s.

Organizers estimate about 200,000 people will attend the 10-day event. Lovell said that estimate is based on both demographics and other fairs held at the Agricenter. This fair will have a much broader audience than, for example, the Agricenter's now-discontinued Ducks Unlimited Great Outdoors Festivals, which attracted about 100,000 visitors in their heyday, he said.

If a substantial number of the attendees are from outside Greater Memphis, the economic impact could be substantial, said John E. Gnuschke, University of Memphis economics professor and director of the Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

"Qualitatively, the impact of special events depends upon how many people from outside the community attend the event," Gnuschke said.


What you need

Tickets may be purchased at the Agricenter's west and the main gates. They are $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to12, or are offered at discount rates at local sponsors' retail outlets listed at www.deltafest.com.

Children younger than 4 are admitted free. Tickets for the Lone Star Rodeo and wristbands for rides are not included in the admission price.

There is no charge for the The Hambone Express Petting Zoo. Its owner-operator Steve Boger said the zoo's animals represent 12 countries. They include zebus, sacred cattle from India, and watusis, which are native to Africa.

Some of the petting zoo's goats are only weeks old. Also in the petting zoo is a white, 20-year old Brahma steer that reclines rather than stands for attention, as well as a yak (a Tibetan bovine), a wallaby (member of the kangaroo family), a zeedonk (cross between a zebra and a donkey found in South Africa, where the two breeds co-exist) and another breed of cattle, the Scottish highlanders.

Additionally, there will be a paint wall and a hay maze for children in the Kids' Zone. Other youngsters may choose from a roller derby, wrestling area, a beauty pageant and a contest patterned off "American Idol."


What you want

The festival's music genres span a wide range of tastes, from bluegrass blues to classic rock. Contemporary Christian music, Southern gospel, country, modern rock, soul, oldies and folk sounds will emanate from nearly 100 musical acts appearing on four separate stages - the main stage, Delta Coffee House, the west pavilion and the showplace arena.

For a partial lineup, appearance dates, times and stages of the performances, visit www.deltafest.com.

By press time, organizers were still adding artists to the Web site. Some of the acts listed are Carol Plunk, Chenault, Dani, Drew Holcomb, Grand Funk Railroad, Gym Class Heroes, the Spin Doctors and Otis Day and The Knights. In addition to established musical talent, there will be a battle of the bands with eight to nine contenders.

Organizers are requesting $4 parking donations, 40 percent of which will go back to local charities. Volunteers from those charities will be helping with traffic.

Then on Sunday, a benefit will be held for the Memphis Union Mission and other organizations.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 105 193 8,028
MORTGAGES 120 239 9,024
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 5 1,133
BUILDING PERMITS 192 445 17,512
BANKRUPTCIES 27 69 5,228
BUSINESS LICENSES 25 60 3,442
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 30 2,298
MARRIAGE LICENSES 25 50 1,642