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South Georgia State Fair returns to Savannah this week

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 10:45 PM EDT

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Get ready for rides, food and so much more...the South Georgia State Fair is back!

This is the 71st year the Exchange Club of Savannah is hosting the fair. What was once the Coastal Empire Fair is now the South Georgia State Fair. It’ll also be at a new location this year.

In years past, the fair was held on Medding Street in Savannah. This year, it’s at 105 Fort Argyle Road.

Organizers are looking forward to Thursday now that it’s been a couple years in the making. Savannah Police say people should expect a large police presence at the fair and want them to know their safety is their first priority.

“We have 320 acres out there and we’ve developed about 30 acres so far,” said Director of Operations for the South Georgia State Fair Chris Hafer.

The Exchange Club of Savannah says they’ve spent about six million dollars on the fair. However, one thing that may be on the minds of families looking to join the fun is safety. It’s on the mind of Savannah Police too.

“Everything is basically centered here at the Fairgrounds itself,” said Savannah Police Lieutenant Torrance Garvin. “Our number one concern is safety for everyone. We want everyone to know that this is a safe place.”

Lieutenant Garvin is the Traffic Commander with the Special Operations Unit at the Savannah Police Department. He says people should expect to see Savannah Police and other agencies in and outside the fair, fencing around the grounds, metal detectors at the door, officers on foot and on horses along with extra lighting on the grounds and in the parking lot.

Lieutenant Garvin believes the extra space with this new location makes it easier for them make security plans.

“There’s not going to be a lot of walk-up people coming to the fair itself,” said Lieutenant Garvin. “People are going to have to drive out here, carpool or catch any mode of transportation to get to the fairgrounds itself. That in itself makes things a little easier. But our security plans and all the measures we’ve put in place have not changed.”

When it comes to traffic, there will be one way in and one way off the fairgrounds. No road closures are in place now.

Organizers hope the grounds will be a home for the fair this year, and dozens of other events in 2022.

“It’s a new beginning for us,” said Hafer. “The old fairgrounds we were there 55 years plus. It’s a brand new venue. We’re looking for bigger and better things.”

Savannah Police say there will be off duty officers and 24-hour security on the grounds. Chatham County Police will help with traffic if needed, but SPD advises attendees to get to the fair early.

The first day of the fair is this Thursday. You can purchase tickets here.

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