By A.J. Kaufman
The annual Appalachian Fair concluded over the weekend, following six long days and nights of music, food and fun for attendees of all ages.
The 97th edition once again was held in Gray, enabling families from across Northeast Tennessee and multiple Southwest Virginia counties to visit and make it a true regional celebration. The 2023 theme was “Homegrown Traditions.”
In addition to rides on the Midway, livestock displays, pageants and various unique contests, multiple popular musical acts — including Scott McCreery, Elle King, Joe Nichols and Josh Turner — highlighted the event. As importantly, excellent weather held up through the week, with warm but not stifling temperatures and no rain.
“The Appalachian Fair is a community staple and one I look forward to attending every year with my friends,” Sarah Houck, a lawyer from Bluff City, told the News and Neighbor. “For us, it is a tradition and a place where many memories have been made. Wonderful food, great talent, and familiar favorites, such as the Barnyard Nursery and the craft exhibits, always make for an evening full of fun. This year’s fair was no exception, and I look forward to returning for many years to come.”
Kelsye Carroll of Chuckey was crowned the Fairest of the Fair on the event’s first day. Kelsye is the daughter of Matt and Kellye Carroll of Jonesborough.
Jonesborough’s Olivia Castle was this year’s first runner-up while Cammie Cloyd (second runner-up), Kaitlyn Thacker (third runner-up) and Parker Ballard (fourth runner-up) joined the court along with Emma Harrison of Gray, who was named Miss Congeniality.
Kelsye will compete for the State Fairest of the Fair title in Murfreesboro this coming January.