GRAY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The 97th annual Appalachian Fair kicked off on Monday with a good turnout at the fairgrounds in Gray.

The Appalachian Fair features rides, games, live animals, food, craft vendors, pageants, contests, concerts and much more.

Jim Drew, President of the James H. Drew Exposition company, said his family has been providing the rides for the Appalachian Fair since the 1950s.

“I’ve seen a lot of opening nights, and this is a really good opening night,” Drew said. “So, we’re pleased with it. We’ve got some new things here.”

The Sub-Zero, a new ride from the Netherlands, made its first appearance at the Appalachian Fair.

“It’s a thrill ride,” Drew said. “Teenagers should really like it. It was made in the Netherlands and it was brought into the United States back in the spring.”

This year there are two Ferris wheels. One model has made its return after not being there last year.

“That Ferris wheel was built originally for the Seattle World’s Fair in the 1960s,” Drew said. “And it has probably been to this fair, I would imagine over 30 times.”

Drew said the Appalachian Fair does a great job hosting concerts.

“A lot of fairs don’t have the concerts like the way they used to,” Drew said. “And this fair has really done whatever they had to do to keep that alive and keep a really good venue here to have a place for these concerts.”

To see a full lineup of music artists performing and other events at the 2023 Appalachian Fair click here.

On Tuesday night, the Second Harvest Food Bank is hosting a food promotion. If you donate at least three cans or boxes of non-perishable food items, you’ll get two free ride coupons.