I’m sure every state says that their fair is the best, but we all know the other 49 states are lying. Arkansas, hands-down, has the best state fair, and it’s less than a month away. Some of my greatest memories are from going to the Arkansas State Fair, and I am ecstatic that, after a break in 2020, one of my favorite events of the year is back.
Ever since I could walk I have been going to the state fair. My grandfather was a farmer, and he always took his cattle to show at the fair. (I of course tagged along for the fun.) One year, I won Little Miss Princess, and that may have been my first taste of success. Most of the memories from childhood center around days and nights spent at the fair riding rides, eating corn dogs and winning prizes at the games. A moment I will never forget is when I won the biggest Mickey Mouse stuffed animal at a game booth. With giant Mickey in one arm and fried food in the other, I didn’t think life could get any better. Fast forward into my teenage years, I was all about winning the little mirrors with different band names. The mirrors may not have been as impressive as the Mickey Mouse, but I collected them all the same and they reminded me of the fun I had.
Now in my adult years, I appreciate the state fair even more for the smiles, new memories and nostalgia it brings. Going through every phase of my life at the state fair has taught me new things to be thankful for and to never take for granted the time we’re able to spend with the people we love — especially coming out of last year.
Anne Marie Doramus, a board member of the fair and AGFC commissioner, is probably even more excited than I am to have the event back and better than ever. “My favorite memory of the fair has to be when I was a kid and going to ride the rides. The swings are by far my go-to ride, I almost get giddy when I see the swings,” Doramus laughs.
She and the board members have been working for months and are organizing the perfect comeback for the Arkansas State Fair. Safety is one of the fair’s No. 1 priorities, and they are bringing in the best of the best carnival ride workers and security guards to make sure the only thing attendees need to worry about is to have a great time.
“From pageants to livestock to concerts to food, we’re going to have it all. Our entertainment lineup this year is going to be fantastic, we’re so excited,” Doramus says.
The concert line-up for this year is insane, and I may have already bought tickets for a few of the performances. Maddie and Tae, Dazz and Brie, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Bel Biv Devoe, Zac Dunlap, Jettway Music Group, Fox Green, Better Than Ezra, Blackberry Smoke and Riley Green are all the featured artists performing throughout the week of the fair. A lot, isn’t it? Seeing that many names makes me reminisce about concert days pre-COVID, and I am so ready to get back in the groove. Of course, there will be more performers, more music and more live events scattered throughout, and those are also must-sees. Karaoke? Yes, please!
I guess it’s from spending so much time with my grandfather, but I thoroughly enjoy the livestock shows. The students in Future Farmers of America (FFA) always show up to show out. For being so young, these students really know how to take care of their animals. Raising livestock is not an easy task, but doing so instills responsibility, accountability and perseverance. The skills these kids and young adults are learning will take them so far, and we get to witness their success and journey at the fair.
The turkey legs, corn dogs, fried Oreos and all the other culinary surprises our spectacular local vendors bring are so good, I would go to the fair for the food alone if there weren’t other great things to see and do. During the week of the fair, I highly recommend grabbing your friends and heading to the fair to just sit down with some fried food and have a few laughs.
“I think what we’re most excited about this year is seeing Arkansans come back together to have some fun. We’ve had some great years of the state fair, and this one will be another to remember,” Doramus says.
Because I love the state fair so much, I would really like to share this experience with all of you. I am giving away four admission tickets and a parking pass to one lucky winner. To enter, follow my Instagram or Facebook account and comment your favorite thing about the Arkansas State Fair on the giveaway post. I cannot wait to see YOUR favorite things!
Find the link for my Instagram giveaway post here.
Find the link for my Facebook giveaway post here.