Distinguished Service Award

 2016 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Sally Smith


This year we were pleased to recognize an individual who has helped make the fair successful for so many years that most of us don’t remember a time when this person wasn’t at the fair. Multiple generations of fairgoers have come to expect to see this person year after year at her post, happily serving the fair.

This year’s recipient, Sally Smith, has been a lifelong resident of the Nashville area. Her involvement with agriculture extends back to her youth on a farm in the Neely’s Bend area of Davidson County. One of five children, she first remembers working at the fair in 1952 selling hamburgers to help support 4-H. As a 4-H member she was a 4-H Honor Club, All Star and Vol State winner. Her father-in-law, husband and son were all state project winners in 4-H. In fact, she met her husband at 4-H Camp in Columbia.

Ms. Sally has not only given of her time, she has generously established an endowment supporting Davidson County 4-H with the Tennessee 4-H Foundation where she is a member of the Hall of Fame Diamond Clover Society. She is also a 15-year Middle TN Area Ag club member.

Throughout the years she continued her involvement with the Tennessee State Fair working in one of the food stands and booths under the grandstands before the 1965 fire that destroyed much of the fairgrounds. She was a committed volunteer serving in many roles and as a judge, dutifully serving and stepping up when other longtime fair workers retired or moved on to other service. She took on her current role in 1973, when Dr. Herbert C. Holt, UT Extension Dairy Specialist stepped aside. For 43 years, if you’ve enjoyed a cold cup of chocolate milk at the Tennessee State Fair there is a very good chance you’ve been served with charm by this southern lady.

Past Distinguished Service Award Recipients
2015 – Ben Powell
2014 – Jean Lewis
2013 – Marvin Gleaves
2012 – Cherry Darken
2011 – Hale Moss, Hermitage, TN
2010 – Judy Basse, Mt. Juliet, TN
2009 – Joe and Millie Wilson, Nashville, TN
2008 – Freddie Burcham, Ashland City, TN
2007 – In Memory of Nora Strasser, Chapel Hill, TN
2006 – John Albright, Nolensville, TN
2005 – Shari Cronkhite, Nashville, TN
2004 – Frances Jackson, Nashville, TN
2003 – Doyle, Max & Bobby Stepp Wartrace, TN
2002 – Bill Coleman, Nashville, TN
2001 – June Thompson, Nashville, TN
2000 – Hershal Ligon, Old Hickory, TN