Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation lineman James Crowder flipped a ceremonial switch to light the midway at the 2016 Tennessee State Fair on Friday, Sept. 9.
Attendees of the opening ceremony heard from legislators and elected officials, including Nashville Mayor Megan Berry and Robin Conover, editor of The Tennessee Magazine.
“Like the fair, electric cooperatives have a tradition service and innovation,” said Conover. “Our local cooperatives are leaders in their communities and are constantly working to find new and creative ways to better serve their members. Tennessee’s electric co-ops make a significant impact on the state’s rural counties and small towns. We serve more than 2.5 million Tennesseans, and our service areas cover 71 percent of the state. We provide jobs for 2,600 employees and pay more than $63 million in taxes. We also keep the lights on 99.96 percent of the time and invest about $10 million each month in infrastructure. Clearly, we believe each small town and community plays its own vital role in the fabric of Tennessee.”
Co-op linemen from across the state presented “Everyday Safe” demonstrations during the fair, educating students, farmers, first responders and others on the importance of electric safety.
“For more than 150 years, the fair has been a celebration of rural Tennessee life,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “It is where World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York showed his prize Hereford and generations have marked the beginning of autumn. It is an honor for Tennessee’s electric co-ops to be a part of this great event.”