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Posted: October 22, 2013 10:18 a.m.

Georgia State Fair moves from Macon to speedway

MACON, Ga. (AP) — After more than 160 years in Macon, the Georgia State Fair has moved to the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton.

This year's fair begins at its new location on Friday, The Telegraph reported .

"This town has lost an asset, a gem that for years took place in our midst," said Hank Clark, a former member of the fair's board of directors.

The fair began in Stone Mountain in 1846 before moving to Macon in 1851. The Exchange Club took over the fair's operation in 1942 before Universal Fairs bought it and operated it for the first time in 2012.

The fair has seen declining revenues in recent years. The arrival of the Georgia National Fair in Perry in 1990 -- held each October -- proved to be stiff competition for the Macon fair. No state fair was held in 2009, and in 2010 the fair was shifted to the spring to avoid competing with the national fair, held each October.

The first state fairs in Macon were held on the old fairgrounds just south of Seventh Street. In 1871, the fair moved to its permanent location at Central City Park in Macon.

Extensive new facilities erected in 1871 at the park included an entrance gate, seven exposition buildings, a bandstand and a terraced river bank for viewing regattas.

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