State Fair tradition still looking for the ‘Fairest’

A tradition almost as old as the Fair itself is being broadened even more this year as the Tennessee State Fair opens the “Fairest of the Fair” pageants to virtually all ages from 0 to 20 and presents for the first time “special needs” pageants.

Encouraging participation in the State Fair pageants from all 95 counties, Fair officials say the pageants rank as one of the top highlights each year. The traditional pageants this year will be held on Saturday, Sept.13, while the special needs pageants, titled Miss Sparkle Crowns, are to be held on Friday, Sept. 12.

The Miss Sparkle pageants for persons with moderate to severe disabilities will feature three age groups, 4-12, 13-21, and 22 and older. Entries for these pageants are free and check-in will begin at 5 pm on the day of the pageants. Each contestant in the Miss Sparkle pageants will be provided a crown and a free 5 x 7 photo. A Miss Sparkle Queen Supreme will be named in each category.

“The pageants, with the addition of the Miss Sparkle events, will provide entertainment at the Fair for two days. On Saturday the pageants will dominate almost an entire day of entertainment beginning with baby girls in the morning and ending with the crowning of the “Fairest of the Fair” that evening,” said Kinsey Emery, events director for the Tennessee State Fair.

She said the addition this year of “special needs” pageants is anticipated to draw even more interest to what has been one of the mainstays at the State Fair, referring to the crowning of a number of State Fair pageant titles.

Those interested in becoming the next queen of the Tennessee State Fair may register on line or sign-up at the door at least one hour before the event begins. Pageants are to be held at the Sports Arena Building on the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.

While there are several categories for different age groups, the crowned winner of the 16-20 age group will be named “Fairest of the State Fair” and will represent the Tennessee State Fair at the Annual Fair Convention in January 2015.

Entrants ages 0 to 20 may register online for $49 or at the day of the event for $59. The Fairest of the Fair winner will be presented a cash prize along with other gifts including a crown marking her experience.

For more information about the individual pageants, rules, and schedules visit

Also, the Miss Sparkle Pageant is for girls with moderate to severe disabilities and is FREE to any eligible contestant.