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HAMPTON, Ga. -- After more than 160 years in Macon, the Georgia State Fairhas left town for good and relocated to the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, about 20 miles south of Atlanta, reports the Macon Telegraph.

This year's fair begins there Friday.

"This town has lost an asset, a gem that for years took place in our midst," Hank Clark, a former member of the fair's board of directors, told the Macon paper.

The fair began in Stone Mountain in 1846 before moving to Macon in 1851. The Exchange Club took over the fair's operation in 1942 before Universal Fairs bought it and operated it for the first time in 2012.

The fair says on its website that the fall fair in Hampton a year ago "was so successful the State Fair decided to make the permanent move to the Speedway."

The fair previously was held for 10 days in Macon and helped raised millions for charity, The Telegraph said. The Georgia National Fair in Perry, which has been held since 1990, has chipped away at attendance, the paper added.

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