By Nancy Hinchliff, freelance writer/innkeeper
Hank Williams Jr. in concert Thurs, Aug. 16th, Main Stage
OK, so you can’t afford that trip to Disneyland or to some other exotic location. You and your kids can still have fun camping in the woods or even in the backyard, or maybe visiting grandma. The goal is to get away together. Throughout the summer, cities typically have lots of special events happening and Louisville is no exception. A perfect combination of all things good and fun for everyone is the Kentucky State Fair/, August 16-26. And, this year, it will be bigger and better than ever. It’s a good idea to plan your visit now.
Since 1902, Louisville has hosted Kentucky’s State Fair. The Fair is obviously known for its tradition in agriculture and food. This year it will not disappoint you. Among other delicacies, you’ll find elephant ears, funnel cake, corndogs, polish sausage, pineapple whip, lemon-slushies, roasted corn, BBQ and Krispy Kreme donut burgers! Everywhere you look, there’s another food booth or cafe. The kids will love the cotton candy, delicious hot dogs, and ice cream.
Thousands of awards will be given in categories such as fine arts, crafts, agriculture, and live stock. One category still popular in today’s modern culture is “housewifery”. The competition judges everything home-made from Textiles to Cherry Pie. But the largest entry department is still agriculturally-based, an acknowledgment to Kentucky’s largest industry and history.
The live stock exhibitions and competitions range from Rooster Crowing contests to Blue Ribbon contests for cattle, goats, horses sheep and pigs, as well as exhibits of poultry, pigeons, and rabbits. An assortment of dogs will show off their special tricks and Border Collies will demonstrate the technique of herding. There is also a Discovery Farm where the kids can pick up and cuddle the baby animals. And, if you love horses, there’s a World Championship horse show
4-H and FFA
Cloverville is a village set up to allow 4-H participants to display their skills and compete for champion honors in entomology, geology, forestry, electric, foods, horticulture, woodworking, clothing, knitting and crocheting, home environment, consumer science management, technology, country hams and photography. Check out the diversity of skills that are developed and offered through 4-H programming across the state. The West Hall is also home to the Kentucky FFA (Future Farmers of America) exhibits showcasing the best among youth in agriculture, including products such as tobacco, hay, corn, floral arrangements, mechanics and woodworking.
During the Sale of Champions, eight 4-H and FFA exhibitors sell their champion livestock to hometown and national supporters. The animals represent the Grand and Reserve Grand Champions in each of their respective species as selected during the Fair’s livestock show. The Kentucky State Fair features one of the most esteemed livestock shows in the nation and winning a class is highly coveted.
One area popular with the kids is the Thrillway, with all its many exciting rides. Tickets may be purchased ahead of time
Main Stage Concerts
Tickets for the Kentucky State Fair Main Stage Series events will be available at Kentucky Exposition Center Ticket Office, KFC YUM! Center Ticket Office, Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) Ticket Office and all Ticketmaster outlets. Out of town visitors may purchase tickets through Ticketmaster. Tickets purchased through Ticketmaster are subject to a convenience charge. There is no service charge at the KEC or KICC Ticket Offices. To charge by phone, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. For accessible seating, call (502) 367-5144 or (800) 231-8085. artists include Hank Williams Jr, Journey, with Pat Benatar and Rascal Flats.
Many concerts are free with paid admission to the Fair. All shows begin at 8 p.m. (expect August 26) in the original Cardinal Stadium at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Gates open at approximately 6:30 p.m.Some of the musical artists include Ted Nugent, Boys II Men and the Oak Ridge Boys.
Food and Music
Many of the dining areas combine music with their special food offerings…a nice combination where you’re, tired, hungry, and just want to relax. You’ll find a variety of foods that will interest the whole family, from hamburgers to Bar-B-Q to salads and desserts.
Be sure to check out Louisville’s many bed and breakfasts on line for availability. Many of them are within 5-10 minutes from the fairgrounds, some are offering special “Kentucky State Fair” rates, and all of them are reasonable and comfortable…..See you at the Fair!