About the Alabama National Fair

Our History

Fairs and agricultural exhibits are an old and honored tradition in Montgomery, dating back to at least 1854, 100 years before the present Alabama National Fair was established. The pre-Civil War fair was sponsored annually by the Alabama State Agricultural Society, on grounds “beautifully located upon the banks of the noble Alabama River, occupying a large, level, grassy plain, to the north of the city, ”as described in an 1858 issue of Harper’s Weekly.

That fair and its successors declined during times of war and economic troubles, and by 1930, fairs and agricultural exhibits had disappeared from Central Alabama.

The idea for a new exposition came in 1954, when the brother of a Montgomery Kiwanian looked at the busy construction site of Garrett Coliseum and said, “You know, you really ought to have a fair here.”

Within a few months, Montgomery Kiwanians had traveled to Macon to get a first-hand view of fair operations and had established the South Alabama Fair Association Inc., with a slender budget of $500 borrowed from the Kiwanis Club treasury. Kiwanians were motivated to make their venture a success, many had pledged personal funds to cover any losses from a failed fair venture. Their combined energies and talents resulted in a net profit more than $20,000 that crucial first year, and the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery was well on its way to becoming synonymous with a festive October celebration that returns year-round benefits to the community.

Some recipients of Kiwanis Club contributions funded by the Fair include: Boys and Girls Clubs, Brantwood Children’s Home, Camp ASCCA, Children’s Harbor, Cleveland Avenue YMCA, Landmarks Foundation, Montgomery Area Council on Aging,  Montgomery Area Food Bank, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Montgomery Public Schools‘ Reading is Fundamental, Girl Scouts, Group Homes for Children, and Father Walter’s Resurrection Catholic Mission.

As the Fair has grown, its name has changed to reflect its increased size. In 1969, the South Alabama Fair became the South Alabama State Fair.  In 1997, in recognition of the fact that many fair participants visit from out-of-state, the name became the Alabama National Fair.

The Fair remains an independent, self-sustaining, non-profit corporation, and is not an agency of the State of Alabama. While the Fair Association receives some support in the payment of prize money from state and county participation, the Fair Association provides most of the money that is paid out in prizes, and operates independently of the State and any other fair.

Virtually all members of the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery utilize their abilities and time in support of Fair activities. Business people serve on committees; lawyers, architects, and engineers lend their professional skills, and most Kiwanians come to the fairgrounds and actively work as admission ticket takers on the gates and on a myriad of other essential committees. The spouses of Kiwanians also donate hundreds of volunteer hours each year.

The purposes of the Fair have not changed since its operation began: namely, to put on an educational fair directed to the uplifting and building of youth; to promote Alabama industry, agriculture, and livestock; to encourage artistic and cultural pursuits among citizens of all ages, and to give everyone, at least once a year, an opportunity to have a great time at the Fair.

General Managers

Mr. Randy Stephenson, 2007 — Present


Mr. Russell Melton, 2004 – 2006
Ms. Hazel Ashmore, 1983 – 2003
Mr. Bill Lynn (deceased), 1954 – 1982



Doug Singleton — Present


Sherriff Derrick Cunningham 2023            R. Scott Williams, 2022
Seth Gowan, 2021
Todd Mote, 2020
Huey D. Thornton, 2019
Shawn Cole, 2018
Keith Norman, 2017
Daniel Stallings, III, 2016
Les Massey, 2015
John L. Baker, 2014
Robert H. McGaughey, 2013
Edward G. Reifenberg, 2012
E. Fred Woolard, (deceased), 2011
Ann Collister, (deceased) 2010
Arthur D. Baylor, 2009
Eugene C. Crane, 2008
Reese McKinney, 2007
Timothy N. McInnis, 2006
W. Ronald Drinkard, 2005
John P. Galassini, Jr., 2004
Russell S. Dunman, 2003
Paul E. Flagg, (deceased), 2002
Shapard D. Ashley, 2001
John H. Wilkerson, Jr., 2000
Richard H. Dorrough, (deceased), 1999
Charles A. Harris, III, 1998
H. E. Cauthen, (deceased), Jr., 1997
James H. Farrior, Jr., 1996
John W. Evans, Jr., 1995
Lynn A. Gowan, (deceased), 1994
John W. Davis, (deceased), 1993
Todd Strange, 1992
George A. Garzon, 1991
Charles R. McDevitt, 1990
James A. Andrews, 1989
Wayland Nobles, (deceased), 1988
Jack Rainer, Jr., 1987
Drayton N. Hamilton, (deceased), 1986
Charles C. Hubbard, 1985
Thomas K. Albrecht, 1984
Jack D. Jackson, Jr., (deceased), 1983
David H. Smith, (deceased), 1982
William L. Noll, Jr., (deceased), 1981
Thomas C. Nolan, (deceased), 1980
Jack Rainer, Sr., 1979
Thomas P. McCabe, (deceased), 1978
James W. Bailey, 1977
Earl E. Jackson, Jr., (deceased), 1976
Truxton Northcutt, (deceased), 1975
James G. Pruett, Jr., 1974
John Walter Stowers, 1973
Robert W. Miller, (deceased), 1972
Robert W. Grant, 1971
Charles M. Thompson, 1970
N. J. Bell, III, (deceased), 1967
William A. Kent (deceased), 1966
L. C. Henley, (deceased), 1965
Charles W. Summerour, (deceased), 1964
Karl E. Albrecht, (deceased), 1963
J. T. Nolen, Jr., (deceased), 1962
William F. Thetford, (deceased), 1961
Ben R. Heninger, (deceased), 1960
W. Lyle Hinds, (deceased), 1959
George E. von Gal, Jr., (deceased), 1958
A. B. Covey, 1957
George Preiss, (deceased), 1956
Mr. Graves, 1955
James G. Pruitt Sr., (deceased), 1954