Georgia State Fair wraps up in Macon

hgoodridge@macon.comMay 5, 2013 

If you want to know what was the most fun activity at the Georgia State Fair, that all depends on whom you ask.

For some teenage boys, it was checking out teenage girls. Some youngsters seemed content to just test out their boots in the many puddles left in Macon’s Central City Park by days of rain. Others just loaded up on funnel cakes topped with powder sugar or canned, sugar-laden fruits.

For 4-year-old Marcella Jones, her fair favorite was “everything fast,” she said.

“I like that,” she said pointing to the Himalaya, a string of cars that go round and round -- forward and backward -- at about 15 to 20 mph to blaring music -- R&B, rap, rock. She had just gotten off that ride. Before it, she was on the Spider. The seats are located on the ends of the massive spider legs that spin around and soar in the air about 30 feet before coming back down and back up again.

It seems this child has no fear.

“I’m going to get on that,” she said pointing to the Zumur.

“Oh no you’re not,” the girl’s father, Marcel Jones, said. “She’s not ready for that ride,” he added about the swings that raise up into the air about 12 feet and spins around.

A fair favorite everybody seemed to enjoy was Nojoe’s Clown Circus.

Located to the right of the entrance to the fair was Nojoe’s ring. Even more interesting than his show, which contained the usual circus fun, was the owner, Joey Thurmond of Dallas, Ga. He and his wife, who dresses as Wonder Woman when she playing in Nojoe’s ring, started their traveling circus in 2004.

Thurmond was a police officer in the Atlanta area. His wife, Jamie Thurmond, who now specializes in the ladder trapeze, was a jeweler.

“We both left very productive careers,” he said in between shows Sunday. “Instead of running away to join the circus, we ran away and started a circus.”

So far so good, Joey Thurmond said about the career change. “I haven’t been shot one time doing this.” He was shot twice in two separate incidents as an officer working vice and on a fugitive task force.

“The audiences have been great,” Thurmond said about the four-day fair in Macon that wrapped up Sunday.

Nojoe’s Clown Circus travels to 13 states and does 1,100 shows through out the year. Joey Thurmond enjoys the fair in Macon more than others.

He almost looks at the fair here reverently.

“These are hollowed circus grounds,” Thurmond said about Central City Park. “This is where they (turn-of-the-century circus performers) spent the winter,” he said. Thurmond said Central City Park’s Round Building was perfect for performers to hone their acts with the ceiling high enough for trapeze artist and tightrope walkers. The buildings behind the Round Building were used to house animals.

“They would come here in October and stay until May 1,” he said. “Then they’d load their train cars, conveniently located on the tracks a couple dozen yards away and head north making stops and leaving joy in their wake.”

Nojoe’s Clown Circus, which comprises six people and more than a dozen dogs, is much smaller than the circus that used Central City Park as its winter quarters. “They probably had 1,000 people ... laborers, doctors, barbers, vets.

“This is one of the oldest fairs in the nation,” Thurmond said. “It’s important the citizens here support this fair.”

To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.

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