The Robins Region offers the best of small-town living, but its entertainment offerings are big — and getting bigger.
Living in Middle Georgia has its advantages. For instance, the Robins Region already boasts venues and events of all sizes, from the massive Georgia National Fair (which draws half a million visitors each fall) to intimate live music at cozy local bars and cafes. And thanks to recent population growth, choices are continually expanding.
At 1,100 acres, Perry’s Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter (GNFA) dwarfs the competition. Chief marketing and business development officer Maggie Lane says most fairgrounds in the U.S. are under 200 acres. At over five times that size, GNFA can house over 1,000 RVs and 960 horses on the property.
“A thing that surprises people — even in the agricultural world – is that we are a premier agricultural facility across the entire world,” Lane says.
All that space means GNFA hosts an event for everyone. Last year, over a million visitors, walked through the gates for happenings ranging from the Georgia National Fair to agricultural shows (including crowd-pleasers like miniature horse and canine agility shows) to classic car shows, kid-friendly exhibits and sporting showdowns.
“I’m always struck by how unique every event is,” Lane says.
GNFA is currently expanding with an eye toward attracting more commercial events and conventions while maintaining its reputation as a leading agricultural venue. Construction of an on-site hotel is expected to begin in early 2023. The 200-room hotel will be attached to GNFA’s largest commercial building and eliminate the need for out-of-town guests to head down the road to Warner Robins or even Macon to secure lodging.
Fun is No Axe-ident
During the dog days of summer, cool down with thrilling water slides, a lazy river and mellow waterfalls at Rigby’s Water World in Warner Robins. And don’t despair when the temps start to drop. The adjacent Rigby’s Entertainment Complex is a splash with kids of all ages year-round. Guests can throw strikes at one of the 10 bowling lanes; explore a two-story, 6,000-square-foot laser tag arena; putt their way through a 19-hole mini-golf course; race around a go-kart track; strap on roller skates, and master a slew of arcade games. After a day of fun, the over-21 crowd can take the elevator to the fifth floor of the nearby Best Western hotel for a more sophisticated evening at Gracie’s Rooftop Bar. The spot opened in late 2020 and serves up wine, charcuterie plates and cocktails on a rooftop deck with expansive sunset views.
Those looking to inject a bit of danger into their day can also hit up Splinters Axe House.
It’s been open since the fall of 2020 but expanded with the addition of a full bar in May 2022. After a hard day of work — or to celebrate a birthday or any other big occasion — a Splinters coach will teach you how to handle a chopper, and then you, your cocktail and your throwing arm are on your own.
Is Live Music Your Jam?
Enjoy great spots like the Bodega Brew, Wild Wing Café, Black Barley Kitchen & Taphouse and the Muse Theatre, which all showcase live music and other events in more intimate, friendly venues.
Retail, Dinnerand Theater
Centerville’s Houston County Galleria is home to 50 retailers, including national brands American Eagle, Victoria’s Secret, Aéropostale and Bath & Body Works.
But there’s far more to enjoy than the thrill of a good deal — make a night of it by visiting one of the mall’s 10 restaurants (they serve everything from comfort food to Japanese fare to lobster tails and nightcaps) before taking in a first-run movie on one of the Galleria Mall Cinemas’ 15 screens.
Also, be sure to enjoy a spectacular evening of theater through entertaining productions from the Perry Players Community Theatre, Warner Robins Little Theater, the Muse Theatre and high school fine arts programs.
If you’d like to learn more about the Robins Region, check out the latest edition of Livability Robins Region.