Fairgrounds director looks to rebrand facility 'Nashville Expo Center'

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 11:57am

The Metro-owned-and-operated Tennessee State Fairgrounds is likely to undergo a name-change, a move the facility’s director hopes will better reflect its full scope of operations.

Its new name under a proposal that will go before the Metro fair board: “The Nashville Expo Center, home of the Tennessee State Fair.”

“I’m trying to get everybody away from calling it the Tennessee State Fairgrounds,” said Buck Dozier, executive director of the fairgrounds. “It hasn’t been in 30 years the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.

“It’s the Nashville Expo Center, home of the Tennessee State Fair,” he added. “If people don’t understand that concept, they have missed what goes on out there.”

The change is aimed at encompassing the flea markets and other events that take place over the course of the entire year inside the facility’s expo center buildings. The annual state fair occurs during just two weeks in September.

“People confuse the event with the grounds,” Dozier said.

Dozier, who discussed the issue with The City Paper at Monday’s fairgrounds master plan open house, said his staff is already using stationary that dons the new name. The facility’s website has been reformatted to highlight the expo center.

Dozier, who has manned his current position since 2008, said he would introduce a name-change proposal to the five-member fair board, likely in October.

“The general public still thinks of it as the fairgrounds,” fair board chair Ned Horton said. He called the proposed name a “re-branding” of the site. “There’s a lot of input being gathered at the moment,” Horton said.

The move would come after Gov. Bill Haslam in May signed into law a bill that allows the state agriculture commissioner to appoint a state fair advisory commission to oversee the annual state fair.

The city has overseen the state fair for the event’s entire 106 years, but the state’s action has raised some uncertainty over Metro’s future role with the event — and whether it would remain at the fairgrounds.

For now, a group of state tourism and agriculture leaders called the Tennessee State Fair Association insists it plans to keep the event at Nashville’s fairgrounds property.

Asked whether the new state law spurred the change, Dozier said it didn’t. “That didn’t have anything to do with it,” he said. “I’ve been wanting [this name change] since I came here four years ago.”

11 Comments on this post:

By: shinestx on 7/24/12 at 2:46

Good gawd.. the fairgrounds have been mismanaged for decades now. And from reading this article, it appears still to be the case. Right from the "new" name, they're making boneheaded mistakes. Like right off the top, I say they should name it Tennessee Expo Center. Also, where are hotels around it? And how will it differentiate itself from the Municipal Auditorium and the new convention center? Will it be primarily an agricultural venue?

By: jimmie on 7/24/12 at 3:45

Thats exactly what you get when the Head Guy there was placed by Karl Dean as a political payback from the 07 mayors race. Had nothing to do with experience and the performance has shown.
Don't believe me, Look at how Revenues have Declined every year since Dean and Buck Took over while Expenses have gone up.
Don't take my word for it, look it up. It's a fact.
Where is Howard Gentry Employed today ?
Same deal. Political Payback.
Dean is dirty.

By: njmccune on 7/25/12 at 6:38

a muddy dog by any other name is still a muddy dog...

By: Rocket99 on 7/25/12 at 7:26

jimmie, what politician isn't dirty? Think it just goes with the job.

You would think that with it being the State fair, it would be the BEST in the state. Not true. The best in the state is in a neighboring county.

By: whitetrash on 7/25/12 at 7:41

Buck Dozier knows his time making a $100,000 plus per year will be coming to an end when the Dean administration is no longer in office...

By: govskeptic on 7/25/12 at 8:29

Expo Center as the name will be fine for attracting extra events we all
want to see this facility used for. Several counties have them under the
same name, but most just consist of one large building. Let's hope
Metro isn't planning to reduce this to just that and sell off a large
part or make it a Metro facility of some other nature! Good and even
better things can take place there given the right plans and true effort.

By: tenn.Big Dog on 7/25/12 at 10:04

Tenn. Big Dog** YOU CAN TAKE A VOLKSWAGEN AND WRITE MACK TRUCK ON IT, BUT IT IS STILL A VW... UNTIL THIS MAYOR AND HIS CRONIES DECIDE TO SPEND SOME OF THE MONEY WHICH IT TAKES IN, BACK ON THE PROPERTY, IT IS STILL GOING TO BE AN UGLY DUCKLING... THE TRUTH IS, WITH DEAN WANTING TO SELL IT OFF AND WASTE THE MONEY THAT IT BRINGS IN ON SOME OF HIS PET PROJECTS, IT JUST SITS...TAKE THE RACE TRACK AS AN EXAMPLE, IT JUST SITS AND IS USED ONE DAY PER MONTH, FOR 6 MONTHS OF THE YEAR. NO CAPITOL IMPROVEMENTS, NO MONEY SPENT. IT USE TO BE SELF SUPPORTING, WHEN IT WAS USED EVERY WEEK, AND KEPT UP, LIKE UNDER FULTON, BRILEY, AND THE OTHER MAYORS THAT ALLOWED LONG TERM LEASES TO TRACK PROMOTERS.
NOW YOU BRING IN THE YUPPIES THAT HAVE BOUGHT HOMES IN THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD, AND TRIED TO MAKE OLE VARMINT TOWN INTO GREEN HILLS , WHICH IT WILL NEVER BE. THEY WANT TO CHANGE THE USE TO FIT THEIR SELFISH AGENDA. I PERSONALLY GREW UP IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, AND HEARD THEM EVERY RACE, BUT LIKE BEING CLOSE TO A RAILROAD TRACK, IT WAS PART OF THE GIVE AND TAKE FOR THE PLEASURE OF LIVING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE WE LIVED. IF YOU MOVE CLOSE TO THE SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT DOWNTOWN, BE PREPARED FOR THE STENCH OR MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE. THE PEOPLE TOLD DEAN LAST YEAR AT THE POLES WHAT THEY DESIRE AND WANT. WHEN IS HE GOING TO LISTEN. I PERSONALLY WISH THAT HE WOULD GO BACK TO BOSTON, OR WHERE EVER HE WAS RAISED AND LEAVE NASHVILLE'S LANDMARKS ALONE. OR IF HE STAYS, IMPROVE THEM NOT SELL THEM.. OH WAIT A MINUTE, DO WE NEED ANOTHER HALF MILLION DOLLAR STUDY FROM ANOTHER OUT OF STATE COMPANY? OH YEA I FORGOT, WE MUST SPEND NASHVILLE MONEY WITH OUT OF STATERS, AS WE ARE TOO DAMN DUMB TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS OF OUR OWN.. HELL I'LL DO IT FOR FREE. NO WAIT I'M FROM NASHVILLE, I'M TOO DUMB.

By: fair_minded on 7/25/12 at 11:04

Dozier said: “It’s the Nashville Expo Center, home of the Tennessee State Fair,” he added. “If people don’t understand that concept, they have missed what goes on out there.”

Buck is the one who doesn't understand the concept-- it's "The Tennessee State Fairgrounds, home of the Nashville Expo Center."

The property has historically been named the Tennessee State Fairgrounds for over 100 years. Whether we continue to have the State Fair there or not, we are still bound by the Metro Charter to hold a county fair on that property. But even so, with or without a fair, the property is still named the "Tennessee State Fairgrounds."

Communities all across the country have expanded the scope of their local Fairgrounds properties for the same reason we should-- to provide more activities for the public to enjoy instead of letting the Fairgrounds sit idle for much of the year.

But they still retain the "Fairgrounds" name and so should we. After all, there is still the racetrack and flea market which have not been considered a part of the expo activities.

By: gm0168 on 7/25/12 at 1:39

Speaking on behalf of the rest of the state, we thank you for taking the "Tennessee" out of the name and changing it to "Nashville". You have embarrassed the rest of us long enough with that eyesore!

By: jimmie on 7/25/12 at 7:38

The racetrack with each race this year has brought in $50k in parking revenue alone. Name another Nashville Property that has MADE money for the city. You can't because the Fairgrounds is the ONLY Metro owned property that doesn't lose money. And it makes money while they are undermining it at every opportunity.
Think about that.

By: RJP on 9/13/12 at 8:49

rjp Where is the advertising for the fair? You don't hear.on the news,the radio isn't talking about it,and try and find a bill board that has any thing about it.It is being handled to fail. The Mayors office should be ashamed of it's staff for poor leader ship in this area.Any other event around town gets flooded with free media coverage! Shame on all of you! How bout it KIA Eye IN THE SKY!