Publisher's Page: Kiwanis Coweta County Fair gives back to the community


By John A. Winters, Publisher of The Shopper and The Paper
You can never really know a community until you’ve spent time with it. Even long vacations don’t give you a real sense of a place. You have to invest, and that takes time.
I’ve long said that you can tell a lot about a community by how it treats the less fortunate, its weaker members.  In every place I’ve lived, which includes six states and D.C., there were always groups that stood out in that regard.
But I have yet to live in a community where helping those in need, whether with food, housing, special education, clothes and backpacks for kids, afterschool programs, animal therapy or a host of other needs, was the norm rather than the exception.

Until we moved to Newnan and Coweta County.
I am constantly amazed at the large number of nonprofits here focusing on just about every need you can image. Apples to Zebras I’ve said more than once. I think one reason there are so many nonprofits here is because not only are they welcomed, but there are so many locals willing to donate their time and money to so many worthy causes.
And all that is my round-about way of saying the Kiwanis Coweta County Fair starts later this month.
We would be remiss if we did not mention all the livestock competitions, the myriad of ways to lose your money trying to knock over a milk bottle, the cotton candy, some pretty darn good cheesesteaks and pizza, and of course the rides.
That’s why people come. And that’s why they should. It’s a fair.
For others though, it’s something else.
Since the year 2000, the Newnan Kiwanis Club has given out back to the community’s nonprofits roughly $3.8 million from money raised from the fair. It’s important to note that the Kiwanis run the fair on a purely volunteer basis. It’s also important to note that all the nonprofits who receive funds from this great event also volunteer their time.
There is no free lunch, so to speak. Everyone pitches in to ensure the guests have a great time, which in turn helps the club raise all the money it can so it can turn around and give it away. But it takes a lot of work.
Yet we actually do have a lot of fun in the process. I say “we” because in a moment of weakness or the desperate need for more dues income, they let me join.
I am looking forward to the fair. Most importantly, I am looking forward to that one Tuesday the fair is in town. It’s the only day the fair opens early, and only a select group are let in.
You see, that’s the day the parking lot is filled with dozens of yellow school buses. Hundreds of special needs kids and adults, as well as helpers and parents, are going to be streaming off those buses.
During that period of time, a ride operator will pick a kid up out of his wheelchair and place him on the Himalaya, or the Speed Freak, the ferris wheel or whatever. For that moment, the kid is not confined. He is upside down, twirling in circles, spinning backwards. He, or she, is free.
I know this because I watch their faces.
It is one of my favorite days of the year. And I can say without hesitation, for many, many others as well.
Until next time.
John A. Winters is the president of Winters Media & Publishing, Inc.