Once known as Sasserville in the early 1800s, Gay, Georgia acquired its current name when the town’s first post office was opened and named in honor of William F. Gay. A flourishing agricultural area, Gay’s primary crop was cotton until the 1930s. Gay began to expand its agricultural holdings when large landowners began to grow also grow peaches. But today, it’s tourism that is the main contributor to the town’s economy.
Gay, Georgia is a quiet hamlet of less that 150 residents ‚ mainly comprised of retirees who seek a quiet, simple lifestyle. But four days a year the town comes alive with thousands of visitors who come to enjoy the now famed Cotton Pickin’ Fair.
Held on the first weekend in May and October, the fair brings more than 300 exhibitors who sell their arts and crafts to ready shoppers. The public is drawn to the rustic setting of the 1891 plantation house, its warehouse, and old cotton gin. Once there, fair goers enjoy an abundance of traditional Southern food and live entertainment.
A perfect complement to the Cotton Pickin’ Fair is right across the street ‚ at the Great Gay, Georgia Marketplace. The marketplace boasts of nearly 300 dealers and craftsman peddling their wares.
Wildly popular throughout the region, the fair attracts nearly 100,000 visitors each year. While the economic influence from the fairs is great, Gay doesn’t sit back on its laurels. The town is focused on other positive economic development influences such as main street revitalization and structural enhancements that continue to add to the community’s charm and appeal.