A fair to remember

One of my favorite summer memories comes around every August in Kentucky.  The Kentucky State Fair has been a tradition in the Commonwealth since 1902.  As a child, I remember competing in 4-H in my elementary school for the coveted honor of representing my school and community as a contestant at the state fair.  It didn’t matter what the competition area was, I signed up for it just to compete.  One year, it was a poster contest about “What Kentucky Means to Me.”  Another year, it was land judging and public demonstrations.  I even baked muffins and got an Honorable Mention for my recipe of lemon muffins.  Each time, my family would make the faithful pilgrimage to Louisville for me to compete against my fellow Kentuckians.  I always felt a sense of pride as I stood next to my creation when the judges would come by to see what I was capable of producing.  I learned a lot of valuable skills from those experiences including public speaking, demonstrations, presentation of product and cooking skills.

This year’s state fair is no exception with a host of competitions for Kentuckians to vie for the coveted title of State Fair Champion fashioned in the form of a colorful purple or blue ribbon.  In addition to the competitions, there are musical performances from some of the biggest names in music both local and national. There are rides for kids of all ages.  And there is food…glorious food in abundance.  All of the flavors of our great state can be found in a sea of food trucks and tents all over the grounds.  It truly makes one Kentucky Proud to sample the best products our state has to offer.  There’s even a Gourmet Garden to show off the best culinary arts in Kentucky.

At the Pride of the Counties section, you can take an exciting trip around the state without ever leaving the grounds as you pass through exhibits, seeing many of the wonderful things that the commonwealth has to offer. Every county has a different story to tell, revealing its unique culture and industry in displays of items ranging from historic objects and crafts to local treasures and commercial commodities. You can learn many interesting and historical facts about the Bluegrass State. Booths contain information on everything from the lakes of Kentucky to the floral clock in Frankfort, to the birthplace and boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln in Larue County.

The Main Street Kentucky section offers exhibits that represent the cultural heritage and diversity of the Bluegrass State. The exhibit’s creative displays provide numerous hands-on activities for people of all ages and interests. Main Street Kentucky’s exhibitors offer information on anything from education and government to the environment and arts.

The Young Adult Project (YAP) Tent is an initiative of the Kentucky State Fair, aimed at building a community of young adults, ages 14-20, who will plan, promote, and experience 11 days of music and special events including youth band performances, jam sessions and songwriter competitions.

The Kidz Biz stage features daily entertainment from dancers, musicians and crazy characters of all kinds.  Fairgoers are also sure to find regular visits from the Fairbears. This year’s exciting entertainment includes Steve the Pretty Good and The Scott Land Marionettes. Don’t miss any of the excitement and laughter found at the Kidz Biz stage during the Kentucky State Fair!

The Kentucky State Fair runs Thursday, Aug. 15 through Sunday, Aug. 25.  Gates open at 7 a.m.  Tickets for adults are $10 and tickets for children, ages 3-12, are $6.  Check out the full schedule at www.kystatefair.org.

Chris Cathers, branch manager

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