News And Notes
Jul 17

Top State Fairs in the U.S.

State Fairs are about more than agricultural competitions and blue ribbon pie contests. (Although, there’s nothing better than indulging in state fair foods, like funnel cakes, caramel apples and deep fried everything). Across the U.S., millions of people flock to state fairs to celebrate the culture of the region through food, fun and entertainment. Along with amusement rides and indulgent treats, state fair concerts offer some of the best live music experiences. Most are held in late summer and early fall so we’ve compiled seven top state fairs across the country:

wisconsin state fair

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

1. Wisconsin State Fair
Where: West Allis
When: July 31 – August 10
What: There are way too many activities to list here. (Check the website for an overwhelming look at everything the Wisconsin State Fair offers.) A few highlights include the fair’s famous cream puffs, SpinCity amusement park rides, a performance by Lady Antebellum with Kristian Bush, and a myriad of competitions — from junior livestock to jalapeño eating. There is plenty of beer and free entertainment, too. Ticket information here>>

2. California State Fair
Where: Sacramento
When: July 11 – July 27
What: Taste local California produce and prepared dishes at The Farm exhibit, or attend a brewer’s festival and state fair at the same time. After one or two beers, head over to Sweet-California’s Tasty Journey for delightful candies and treats. The Beach Buddy Adventure, with its frolicking otters and gigantic sandcastles, is great for families. For more animal activities, check out the petting zoo and baby barn, where you can milk cows and goats.  Ticket information here>>

3. Kentucky State Fair
Where: Louisville
When: August 14 – August 24
What: The Kentucky State Fair celebrates the best of the Bluegrass state. Experience Kentucky bourbon, culinary demonstrations and unique cultural and historical facts in specified areas. Fairgoers can also watch various horse shows, including the World’s Championship Horse Show, which runs in conjunction with the fair. Multiple livestock competitions run throughout the duration of the fair, as well. Don’t leave the grounds without trying some Southern food at the Kentucky Cookout tent! Ticket information here>>

4. NY State Fair
Where: Syracuse
When: August 21 – September 1
What: One look at the concert lineup for The Great New York State Fair and you might confuse it for a music festival. With Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood and Florida Georgia Line slated to perform, country music fans better snatch up tickets now. (For alternative music fans, Phish, Young the Giant and Barenaked Ladies will also perform.) Possibly more enticing than crowded, stifling outdoor concerts are the wine- and cheese tasting seminars indoors. Ever wanted to milk a cow? You can do that too, at the Agriculture Extravaganza. Ticket information here>>

5. Ohio State Fair
Where: Columbus
When: July 23 – August 3
What: The variety of attractions are astounding. From pig racing to free Zumba classes to sand sculptures, there is truly something for everyone. The Mountain Dew Midway boasts more than 60 rides from the traditional to the thrilling, and if you’re bringing little ones, check out Kiddieland and the LEGO® train club display. There are also plenty of competitions (cornhole, spelling bee, fashion) to enter or enjoy. Ticket information here>>

6. Iowa State Fair
Where: Des Moines
When: August 7 – 17
What: Reality TV stars of the hit shows Duck Dynasty and The Willis Clan will make special appearances at the fair, as will country stars Jake Owen and Lady Antebellum. However, fair foods seem to be the real stars. Notable delicacies include smoked brisket and bacon mac ‘n’ cheese,  funnel cake sticks, chicken-fried bacon and 60+ foods on a stick — although it’s advisable to hit up Midway first, home of amusement rides like the Tornado, before ingesting copious amounts of fair food. Ticket information here>>

7. Minnesota State Fair
Where: St. Paul
When: August 21 – September 1
What: Country veterans Toby Keith and Tim McGraw will provide free entertainment at the Grandstand, but if you’re looking for a little more interactive experience, the Giant Sing-Along might be for you. There are also two Farewell-to-Summer dance parties for teens and young adults. For those interested in intellectual exhibits, visit the Sustainability Stage for the Eco Experience. This unique fair activity informs fairgoers about greener living and provides an outdoor play area for kids. On the food front, try all-natural JonnyPops, beer gelato and pretzel curds, which are made with Wisconsin cheese, beer batter and crushed pretzels. Close out the night with the fair-wide laser show. Ticket information here>>

News: State Fair Concerts, Country Music Tours and Events>>

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