Gosh, I haven't been to an fair in probably 30 years. Back in the 90's, my mother, aunt and I would go every year for the people watching, food and flea market. We never did any kind of 4-H related stuff, or saw concerts or rode the rides. Maybe once or twice I caught the stock car races at the racetrack on the grounds.

Back then, the Alabama State Fair was held at the fairgrounds in Central Park Birmingham and the area was a high crime neighborhood, so the fair got a reputation as being unsafe. We eventually quit going because of that, as did most of the rest of white Birmingham, apparently. While looking up info, I see the fair was disbanded at the turn of the century due to falling attendance and has only been hosted at the fairgrounds sporadically since about 2001.

In more recent times the entire fairgrounds area has been redeveloped by the city of Birmingham, so I don't think there is anywhere to host the state fair now. The grandstands for the racetrack are gone, and I think the arena is either gone or has been re-constructed with an emphasis on sports. The Kiddieland amusement park (where Bull Conner used to keep civil rights protesters on their way to jail in the 60's) is gone, too.

Down here on the coast, there's a Baldwin County Fair in Robertsdale each year, but we've never been. It doesn't seem very big, and it doesn't look like there's anything out of the ordinary food-wise to make it worth the cost+parking hassles+walking.

About the only 'fair-like' atmosphere I've been to since moving down here is the Elberta Sausage Festival. It's held twice a year to fund the city's volunteer fire department. They have a good sausage recipe and only make it for the festival. There's a lot of other food, too, and tons of arts and crafts. It's a small town thing but a great went to spend a crisp fall day.