PERRY -- Gawkers on Interstate 75 will have sights to see as they drive past exit 135 starting Thursday as the Georgia National Fair opens its gates for Sneak-A-Peek day at 3 p.m.
The large LED-lit Ferris wheel, along with the numerous other rides, will be going at full tilt.
Preparations for the fair started weeks ago, with the arrival of the fine arts show pieces. Those items are judged before the fair and are put on display before the first person buys a ticket.
Along with rides and art exhibits, the 23rd annual event will have the usual array of fair food, including everything fried and on a stick, said Michele Treptow, director of communications for the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter.
The Facebook page for the Georgia National Fair has been active all year, but as vendors started to arrive, Treptow said the photos of closed ticket booths began getting liked. The food trucks came in a close second.
At the end of the day, its the experience of the fair, she said, that draws people year after year to come to the 11-day event, which runs through Oct. 14.
For the first day, Average White Band and Grapevine will perform a free concert.
It will be a great street party, Treptow said.
Livestock shows start Friday and bring almost 4,000 goats, cows, sheep and pigs to the fairgrounds.
School groups as well as the Georgia National Schoolhouse, which hosts events for STEM, FBLA and DECA members to name a few, will bring in more than 30,000 students during the 10 days.
New shows this year will include Mama Lou: American Strong Woman and the Axe Women Loggers of Maine.
Just from their photo, they look pretty fierce, Treptow said of the women who will perform logging techniques.
Back this year are familiar favorites such as the Eudora Farms Petting Zoo and the Royal Hanneford Circus.
Also returning will be the Wool Riders Only Mutton Bustin, where children can compete for prizes based on how long they can stay on a sheep.
Members of the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives will face off Saturday at 4 p.m. in the second annual Legislative Livestock Show, which follows the Heifer Show in the Sutherland Livestock and Equine Arena. There will be five members of each paired with an FFA student to be judged on showmanship.
No matter the age or the distance, the fair has a huge universal appeal, Treptow said.