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Queen City Fair opens at Agri-Center today

By By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Oct. 1, 2001
The last time a state fair was held in Meridian was 1998, the final year of the Mississippi/Alabama State Fair.
Three years later, Len McRae and a group of supporters have brought a new state fair to Meridian the Queen City State Fair. McRae discussed how it all happened with The Meridian Star's editorial board.
The Queen City Fair begins today at 3 p.m. at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center. Today's grand opening is designated as Coke School Day. The gates will be open today for free admission from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. The fair will run though Sunday.
Good memories
McRae, a longtime resident of Meridian, said he wanted to bring back the old atmosphere of the early years of the Mississippi/Alabama State Fair.
McRae said the fair will include a man who carves with a chain saw, a petting zoo and puppet shows. He said the event he can't wait to see is the Banana Derby Monkeys monkeys dressed as jockeys racing on ponies.
For the teen-agers, McRae said the rides will be bigger and better than ever before.
Long-term goals
McRae said he put a lot of time and effort into this year's event so people will come back in the future. He said getting businesses to sponsor certain events and concerts was a key in making the fair a success.
A Christian contemporary band, "The Waiting", will be in concert during Wednesday night's Youth Group Night, while country artist, T. Graham Brown, will perform on Thursday. Both concerts will be free to all who have paid to get in the gate.
McRae said while the Agri-Center isn't the most accessible place, he has been working with county and city officials to solve the parking problem.
McRae said he hopes to be able to park 1,200-1,400 cars.
Look in The Meridian Star for event schedules throughout the Queen City Fair's week-long run.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at