Southwest Georgia Regional Fair prepares to open - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Southwest Georgia Regional Fair prepares to open

People spent Monday working to make final adjustments to the fairgrounds. (Source: WALB) People spent Monday working to make final adjustments to the fairgrounds. (Source: WALB)
Ralph Paustian is the vice president of the fair. (Source: WALB) Ralph Paustian is the vice president of the fair. (Source: WALB)
The fair is the Exchange Club of Albany's biggest fundraiser of the year. (Source: WALB) The fair is the Exchange Club of Albany's biggest fundraiser of the year. (Source: WALB)
Funds from the fair and a few other events go to more than 30 child abuse prevention organizations. (Source: WALB) Funds from the fair and a few other events go to more than 30 child abuse prevention organizations. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The fairgrounds in Albany will open for the 71st annual Southwest Georgia's Regional Fair on Tuesday afternoon, but on Monday people were busy making last minute touches. 

From setting up food stands and rides to gathering the animals, hundreds of people spent Monday, and the past few weeks preparing for opening day. 

"We have got an entirely new fair this year," said Vice President of the fair, Ralph Paustian.

Since last year's fair kicked off, the Exchange Club of Albany has been planning for this year's fair. Paustian said this year's fair has new rides and entertainment.

"We've got a high wire act that's new this year, which will be motorcycles on a high wire and the cage of death where motorcycles will ride in a big ball, we've got laser tag," explained Paustian. 

Strates Shows provides the rides for the fair. They arrived a week ago to set up the dozens of thrilling attractions. 

"So they have that extra time to set their rides up, check them, double check them. Then the state comes in and checks and inspects what we have out here," explained Paustian.

Following the state's check, the exchange club has its own team to inspect the rides and grounds multiple times before the public arrives.

Paustian said in 70 years, the fair has had no major safety incidents. 

"We've had some that maybe got a finger cut or something small, band-aid kind of thing," said Paustian.

As for protection, the fair has four different security teams in place. Alcohol, knives and firearms will not be allowed inside the fairgrounds. 

"And we hire the sheriff's office to come in and work with our exchanges to walk all these grounds to make sure our patrons are very, very safe," explained Paustian.

Paustian said he is expecting anywhere between 40,000 and 60,000 people this year. 

The fair is the Exchange Club of Albany's biggest fundraiser of the year. 

Funds from the fair and a few other events go to more than 30 child abuse prevention organizations, including Open Arms and the Liberty House. 

Last year, the club donated just over $40,000 to those organizations.

"This year with the veteran's program as large as it is, we're hoping to increase that and give away 50 to 60,000 this year," explained Paustian.

Opening ceremonies will begin Tuesday at 3 p.m. 

With Veteran's Day happening during the fair, organizers will be honoring veterans at the opening ceremonies and throughout the week. 

Veterans can also get free admission to the fair. 

There will be live entertainment every day.

The annual Demolition Derby will be Saturday night.

Gates will open at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Saturday it will open at 11 a.m., and Sunday, the fair will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

You can learn more about the fair and how to purchase tickets here.

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