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Venture across the U.S. at Saturday's Girl Scout 'State Fair'

Amy Millhorn Leonard • Jan 30, 2020 at 4:30 PM

On Saturday, Feb. 1, Kingsport-area Girl Scouts are going to travel to more than a dozen states and they won’t even have to leave Tennessee to do it!

The Girl Scout State Fair for the Holston River Service Unit of Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians takes place Saturday in the St. Dominic Catholic Church gym, located at 2517 John B. Dennis Highway, in Kingsport. The opening ceremony begins at 1 p.m. followed by the Parade of Flags, where the girls will share some facts about their chosen states. Afterward, there’ll be time to browse through the booths created by 14 different Girl Scout troops. The event ends at 2:45 p.m.

“The Girl Scout State Fair exposes our girls, many whom have not traveled out of our area, to other states. I love seeing what facts and things from each state the girls come to share with other girls,” said Jessica McCain, this year’s event chairperson and a leader with Troop 425.

The Girl Scout units decorate their respective “state” booths, decide on the menu of foods that are popular or manufactured in their chosen state to serve, and compile facts about the state to share.

Girl Scouts, their families and friends, and even the public is invited to attend this year’s State Fair to visit states, including Tennessee, Rhode Island, New York, Virginia, Arizona, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida and Hawaii. Fairgoers will visit and learn all about what makes each state unique, from facts, flags, history and geography to foods and more.

Featured foods and beverages from the state booths are available to sample for a minimal charge of 10 cents each. Purchasing tickets totaling $3 to $5 (cash only) is recommended, and the tickets will be available at the door.

The annual Girl Scout International Tea event has been around for many years. International Tea engages girls into learning about and experiencing many countries from all over the world. A few years ago, a new version of the event — called State Fair — was introduced and is now held in alternate years from International Tea. State Fair events focus on U.S. states rather than countries of the world and challenge each participating Girl Scout troop to learn all about a particular state. On event day, they display and highlight everything they’ve learned about their chosen states.

Kinley, a Girl Scout Brownie, loves the State Fair event and said, “I like it because we get to learn about the state we pick and get to try new things from other states when we go around to the booths.”

The Holston River Service Unit encompasses not only Kingsport, but also Blountville, Mount Carmel, Church Hill and Southwest Virginia. Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians includes the eastern section of Tennessee from the Tri-Cities to Chattanooga. If you know someone who would like to be a Girl Scout, call the council office at (800) 474-1912. Members are accepted year-round. And be on the lookout for Girl Scout cookie booths in February.