Board of Commissioners votes to deny A Community afFAIR a fairgrounds rental to operate the Sumter County Fair

Published 6:22 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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AMERICUS – At its monthly regular meeting on Tuesday, May 17, the Sumter County Board of Commissioners (BOC) voted unanimously to deny a request from A Community afFAIR for permission to rent the Sumter County Fairgrounds to operate the annual Sumter County Fair.

A Community afFAIR is a company that specializes in operating carnivals and fairs throughout the state of Georgia.

Commissioner Clay Jones brought up the subject and mentioned that in the fall of 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Andrew Stringfellow, the owner of A Community afFAIR, was denied by both the county and the city of Americus permission to rent the fairgrounds and operate the fair due to concerns over the pandemic at that time. However, Stringfellow found a loophole and was given permission from a private property owner to set up a fair on the owner’s property not far the intersection of W. Forsyth and Crawford St. Stringfellow then went ahead and set up that fair.

“I’m against him having a fair here. He put the whole county in jepordy,” Jones said. Jones went on to say that allowing Stringfellow to operate another fair here would not be in the best interests of the citizens based on his prior history of placing members of the public at risk. Jones added that he would like to take Stringfellow and his company off of the county’s list of vendors for the fair and have no more association with him. County Attorney Kimberly Reid replied that it would be better to do this on a case by case basis because, in her words, “You technically have to make the determination with each individual’s circumstance.” Reid went on to say that in each circumstance, prior history can be taken into consideration when determining if it is in the public’s best interest.

Commissioner Scott Roberson echoed Jones’s sentiments and agreed with denying Stringfellow permission to rent the fairgrounds for the purpose of operating the fair again. Board Chairman Mark Waddell entertained a motion to deny Stirngfellow’s request for the fairgrounds rental. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Jones seconded the motion. A vote was taken and the motion to deny the request passed unanimously.