Wilson County has one of the country’s strongest county fairs and this year it has a partner.

The inaugural Wilson County Fair–Tennessee State Fair starts Thursday and continues through Aug. 21 at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon.

The merger came about because the Tennessee State Fair needed a new home with redevelopment plans at The Fairgrounds Nashville.

The Wilson County Fair typically draws around 500,000 total visitors. The state fair has brought in around 110,000 to 120,000 in recent years to its event in Nashville. Neither fair was held in its traditional form last year because of COVID-19.

Here’s a look at what to expect:

A piglet waits to be petted during the Wilson County Fair on Aug. 17, 2014, in Lebanon.

Opening day

Gov. Bill Lee will help kickoff the fair during an opening ceremony starting at 6 p.m., in the Farm Bureau Exposition Center with seating for 1,200.

A flyover and parade will follow. The parade will include a float to honor directors of the Books From Birth in all the state’s 95 counties as part of the fair’s Honoring Hometown Heroes theme.