Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter to allow guns as of July 1

awoolen@macon.comMay 14, 2014 

PERRY -- A new law concerning gun owners will be in effect starting July 1 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter.

Anyone who owns a Georgia firearms license will be allowed on the grounds and in buildings with a gun, according to House Bill 60.

The act is known as the “Safe Carry Protection Act,” according to the bill.

It states that “a license holder shall be authorized to carry a weapon in a government building when the government building is open for business and where ingress into such building is not restricted or screened by security personnel.”

During the Georgia National Fair, however, Reaves Arena will be exempt from the rule because it houses government officials as well as the concerts. The building will have deputies screening for weapons, said Stephen Shimp, public safety director.

Shimp explained to the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority during its monthly meeting Wednesday that the rule was for valid license holders only.

In previous years, weapons were not permitted in any of the buildings.

Fair plans in progress

Preparations for the 25th anniversary of the Georgia National Fair are well underway.

Gov. Nathan Deal will once again be the speaker for the opening day ceremonies, said executive director Randy Moore. Sneak-A-Peek day will be Oct. 2. A grand marshal for the parade has not been named, but Moore expected to have someone in place by the next board meeting, which is in June.

Ticket sales for the concerts at the Georgia National Fair will begin Aug. 16, said Stacy Campbell, director of communications. The performers will be announced Aug. 4.

Meanwhile, all of the free entertainment for the fair, which will run Oct. 2-12, will be paid for by the fairgrounds at an increase of $30,000 over last year. This brings the total cost of the free entertainment to more than $600,000, Moore said.

“I’m very pleased with where we are,” he said.

During the month of April, the fairgrounds earned $355 million in revenue, including more than $75,000 from the Peach Blossom Cluster Dog Show. Three horse shows produced nearly $82,000 for the fairgrounds.

“April was a pretty good month,” said Ron Goldsby, chief administrative officer and comptroller.

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