The Shake Up

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Take a picture. It’ll last longer!

Memories last a lifetime and the memories you make at the Kentucky State Fair will be cherished for years to come. Whether you never miss the Fair, or this is your first year, make sure to take advantage of these 9 photo opportunities. You can remember your fun at the Fair all year long.

This strolling tree with a 7 foot wide canopy of leaves and twinkling lights will walk, talk and even take pictures with you.

Stop by and chat with Freddy Farm Bureau and then get your picture made with Kentucky State Fair’s best friend!

Get your picture made with Kentucky farm animals including various cattle, goats, llamas, sheep, poultry and a sow and her litter.

What’s better than a corn dog at the Kentucky State Fair? A 12-foot corn dog at the Kentucky State Fair!

Whether you’re a Louisville Cardinal or you bleed blue, the Balloon Masters is a must see!

Get a feel for what it’s like to sit in the seat of a Louisville Police helicopter.

Stop by the Grayson County booth in Pride of the Counties in South Wing B and take a picture in the oversized rocking chair. You may be able to get the entire family in the chair!

Get in the mood for fall with this award-winning 1,034 lb. pumpkin!

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The Chipper Experience: Where Magic and Comedy Collide

Magicians always have audiences in awe with their ability to make things disappear and reappear right before their eyes. The most often-asked question, “how did he do that?” is turned upside down as Chipper actually shows the audience the trick of the trade while mixing in comedy and audience participation.

The Chipper Experience is a magic show that isn’t exactly magic. At least not like any magic show we’ve ever seen. Chipper starts the show with an empty brown paper bag and a bottle. Chipper then placed the bottle in the bag and smashed the bag. It appeared as if the bottle had disappeared until he pulled it out of the bag and showed the audience it was a blow up bottle. 

Chipper not only entertained the audience, he got them involved. He pulled one man out and made him choose a playing card. Chipper grabbed a huge notebook and began to sketch out what card he thought the other man was thinking. When Chipper turned the notebook around he had written “Max” on the piece of paper. He went on to explain that he asked the man to literally name the card.

The Chipper Experience is located on the Select Kentuckiana Chevy Dealers Family Stage daily at 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 7:00 p.m. If you are looking for a great show for the entire family to watch, The Chipper Experience is the show for you!


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Military Receive Discounts at Select Vendor Locations for Military Monday

In honor of those who serve or have served our country, the #kystatefair would like to thank active duty and veteran military for their service. Various vendors are offering discounts on food for Military Monday. A valid ID is required. Discount varies by vendor. 

Fairtown Food Court

Location: Rear of South Wing

 International Catering - Taco cheese dog, wraps, nachos supreme, hot plate, veggie plate, stuffed potato, breakfast items and fried Kool-Aid; Fries, burgers, bologna, caramel apples, jalapeño poppers, popcorn shrimp, popcorn chicken and drinks; Italian food, Greek food, smoothies and cold drinks; Ice-cream, bakery items and drinks 

Kentucky Aquaculture Association – Trout, fried chicken, fried biscuits and apple butter, lemonade

Front Circle

Location: Outside Freedom Hall

Dairy Delight Concessions – Ice-Cream Products and Bottled Water

K & J Concessions – Fried Veggies, Hot Wings, Bloomin’ Taters, Bloomin’ Onion, Chicken Tenders, Fries, Cold Drinks

Kentucky Pork Producers – Pork products

M & M Homemade Ice Cream – Made by a John Deer Hit and Miss Engine

Pat’s Footlongs – Foot longs, corn dogs, Chicago-style dogs, chili cheese dogs and cold drinks

WE Serve Concessions

Great Kentucky Cookout Tent

Location: Broadbent Lawn

Kentucky Aquaculture Association – Trout, fried chicken, fried biscuits and apple butter, lemonade

Kentucky Country Ham Producers – Ham sandwiches, assorted ham products and cold drinks

Kentucky Pork Producers – Pork products

South Wing C

Morgan’s Fudge

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South Wing Superlatives: Commercial Exhibits

Many high school yearbooks crown senior students with superlatives such as “Best Smile” or “Most Likely to Become President.”  We shopped through the Commercial Exhibits in South Wing C and gave some booths their own superlative.

Best Free Samples

Dipper’s Delight – This booth features pretzel dips in an assortment of flavors including Pepper Jack, Beer Cheese, Birthday Cake and Strawberry.  Grab some pretzels and get sampling, but please no double dips!

“Safe”est Purchase

Misty Morn Safe Company – After shopping ‘til you drop in South Wing C, make sure your valuable purchases are safe once you return home! This safe company has so many shapes, sizes and colors to fit all your safety needs.

Most Likely to Cause a Sugar High

Mile High Chocolate Cake – If cotton candy, corn dogs, ice cream and deep fried Snickers aren’t enough to satisfy your sugar craving, this Mile Chocolate Cake might just do the trick!

Largest Possible Purchase

Trading Post Homes – Some people buy a foot long corn dog and others want a thousand square foot home. Tour one of these homes equip with a kitchen, living room, bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry room.

Most Unique Purchase

Top Dog Bakery – Now your four legged friend can enjoy fair food of its own. This bakery makes all dog food look just like human food so your dog will never feel left out.

“Shady”est Purchase

Sunglass Connection – Don’t miss all the outside food and fun during the Fair! Get a pair of stylish, name-brand shades so you can enjoy it all.

Most Candy in a Single Area since Halloween

Candy Country Warehouse – Tour through a maze of candy and hand select your favorites.  Mix-and-match sour gummies, lollipops, bubble gum and more.

The Commercial Exhibits are open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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The Gantry Show: A Circus Flipped Upside Down

The Kentucky State Fair stands for all that is Kentucky including agriculture, history, basketball and now, acrobatics. The Gantry Show subtly takes the generic circus and flips it upside down. Literally. 

The set intrigues the average onlooker at first. A tall metal frame proves to be more than just a prop as it moves on wheels assisting the performers. The show begins as a man and woman climb to heights deemed dangerous by most. The two performers balance and lift each other in outstretched positions seen in the photos below.  

As the show continues, a juggler performs handy tricks will his batons. Another cast member takes center stage on a hanging trapeze gracefully spinning up and down the framed set. She changes positions so quickly that fairgoers are heard gasping and wooing. 

And the show goes on, but you’ll have to see for yourself! The Gantry Show performs daily in the South Wing Parking Lot at 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

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Share Your Fair: Years and Years of a #1 Fan’s Favorites

I’m a BIG fan of the Kentucky State Fair. I first started going to the fair in 1969. Our method of attending the fair was via truck camper. Our family would make the 3 hour drive on Friday morning and stay until Sunday afternoon. We’d pull in the gates and usually complain some about where they “stuck” the campers this year. But soon enough we’d be setup and studying our daily program to arrange our schedule for the day. 

What did we do at the fair? Well, the first time you go through the cattle barn it is interesting – just be careful where you step! The fair always has free shows which are entertaining. I’ve seen awesome singers, daredevils, BMX bikes, why I’ve even seen a horse jump 50 feet into a pool of water! Back in those days, they had a rodeo. That was the one event we would pay extra to attend, and during intermission, a country singer would perform. I’ve seen Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, and Lynn Anderson. All this fun stuff and I haven’t even talked about “the junk room.” We called it that, I think the proper name is “The Exposition Wing.” It’s a place for vendors to promote their products. If you don’t need it, you can find it in the junk room! It has everything from politicians campaigning, invisible dog collars, cookware, rain gutter systems, and new cars! Best of all they give you FREE stuff! I can’t tell you how many plastic bags with VOTE FOR ME slogans, yardsticks, paper fans, bumper stickers, etc. I’ve picked up over the years. 

What else? Food! We always had to have a corn dog. Then they started putting up this big tent called “The Cookout Tent.” Man, it smelled good!  We passed by and they were grilling inch thick pork chops. I think they were about $4 a sandwich.  We splurged, got one and from then on Dad would get one every year. They are YUMMMMMY! 

What do I like about the fair? It is a combination of everything: the entertainment, food, exhibits, people watching, and memories. Memories of good times with my family. I want to go every year! If you’ve never been, I encourage you to try it – you might just like it. Then you’ll start making your own family memories.

- Doug Blankenship

*Edited for content. Photo provided by Doug Blankenship.

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Share Your Fair: The East Wing, A Place of Wonder

Recently a friend mentioned a Slinky toy.  Since he is considerably younger than I, I think his stimulus to get one during his tender years came from a TV commercial.  I can remember when no one we knew owned a TV.  Back then, the first glimpse, as well as the “urge to buy,” came from an awesome, up close and personal demo at the annual Kentucky State Fair. 

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, a popular way to see what was new and different and “all the rage” was by making a full day of it at the Kentucky State Fair. Big, ornate wooden barns, numerous shade trees and a sawdust midway, among other amenities, gave it a 19th century appeal. 

Then, of course, the State fairgrounds was moved to where it remains today.  But, while vintage sawdust charm gave way to concrete and steel and miles of asphalt, in the new digs, we had room for many more “pitchmen.” 

The East Wing of the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center was a place of wonder for me.  I wanted one of everything. I was particularly fascinated by the hard-sell gizmo demos.  Pitchmen, much like carnival barkers, were great crowd-pleasers.  They would step up little stages in the exhibition aisles and do a fast-talking show to attract a crowd.  Whatever their product, they would do a magical introduction of the new thingamabob — and the gathered crowd would be spellbound. 

We often went home with new impulse purchases and high hopes for the new doohickey.  The pitchman would make his product “sing.”  Most all of us know a Slinky toy can “walk” down a staircase, but the pitchman could make it walk up one arm, across his back and down the other.  Of course, this was due to his agility and much practiced acrobatics, not to any capability of the coiled spring toy. If I were the first in my neighborhood with one of those, I’d be the envy of all my friends.  I had to have one.

I don’t recall the price for a Slinky, but it must have been some convenient rounded-off figure, because people would surge forward to the stage, hold one or more dollar bills in the air, and the pitchman would relieve them of their cash and hand over a boxed Slinky. After a magical demo, crates of them would walk right out the door! 

The Sperry Gyroscope Company, founded way back in 1910, marketed a toy gyroscope at the Fair for several years going.  The pitchman would pull on the wind-up cord and that little apparatus could walk a tightrope string like a circus high wire aerialist; we were mesmerized.  The pitchman would pump up the crowd, crowing about this device’s technological potential in today’s modern world as it balanced on the tip of his finger.  More hands would shoot into the air with money.  My dad thought this “scientific marvel” was just the thing for his only kid, so he was willing to foot the bill, whatever the price might have been. 

I still have my Sperry gyroscope, and my Slinky, too, but not all such family purchases were merely for my educational benefit.  My mom was fascinated with the kitchen gadgets demonstrated and sold on spot by State Fair pitchmen in the East Wing. What we purchasers discovered at home later was that washing and cleaning the crevices of these multi-bladed molded plastic gizmos was altogether another story.  

Not everything was a disappointment though. The very best kitchen knives I’ve ever owned were sold in this manner, and I have several to this day.  Each had a “no questions asked,” lifetime, free replacement guarantee — if only I’d kept the boxes with the warrantor’s address on it.  They seemed to stay sharp for a very long time.  

I still have three or four of those “state fair knives” in my drawer right now. For years, I’d ask friends who were headed out to the Fair, “Please get me a couple more of those state fair knives.  I’ll gladly pay you back!”  What a delight when they took time to do just that.  

If I had a truckload of those state fair knives, I bet I could demo them myself in the East Wing and sell a bunch. In my case, people might conclude, “If that fumbling, old duffer, can use one, I can, too!”  I’d grab up the proffered cash money and hand them a boxed. Then I’d make like a Slinky, head for the nearest stairway and bounce along toward home.

 - Jim Reed

*Edited for space.

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Artist Spotlight

If rock music is your thing, clear your schedule for August 17 and 24. Rock bands Chevelle and Theory of a Deadman will be performing for FREE at the 2013 Kentucky State Fair.

Chevelle is a perennial alternative rock favorite. They have released six albums and sold more than four million copies in the U.S. Their most recent album’s first single “Face to the Floor” quickly became the No. 1 most added record at Active and Alternative Rock radio.

Up-and-coming band The Whitewall Gentlemen will be opening for Chevelle. Their music is best described as an eclectic blend of soul, southern rock, blues, and funk.

Platinum-selling quartet Theory of a Deadman has solidified their place at the top of modern hard rock. “Bad Girlfriend” from their breakthrough album became a No. 1 Mainstream Rock radio hit.

Opening for Theory of a Deadman and hailing from Edmonton, KY, Black Stone Cherry will bring their unique Southern Rock sound to Cardinal Stadium. In their most recent album, the band used everything from turkey calls to washtub basins to create their distinct and original musical offering.

All concerts are FREE with paid gate admission into the Kentucky State Fair.  Concerts will begin at 8 p.m. and gates into Cardinal Stadium will open at approximately 6:30 p.m. 

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Plans include free and off-site weekend parking for annual summertime celebration

Louisville, Ky. (July 25, 2013) – The Kentucky State Fair Board unveiled a plan to help alleviate the weekend parking congestion and improve the experience for fairgoers and travelers during the 2013 Kentucky State Fair.

In addition to more than 19,000 parking spaces at the Kentucky Exposition Center during the Kentucky State Fair, additional options and lots will be added to accommodate the extra weekend traffic.

The new parking plan, approved by the board today, uses existing parking resources at neighboring Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, new entry points and off-site parking to create a solution for weekend parking congestion.

“These improvements reflect a new approach to make parking at the Fair a more positive experience with multiple, convenient and lower-cost options,” said Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe, Kentucky State Fair Board President and CEO. “Drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, area business owners and residents can all expect our new plan to improve their experience.”

Free off-site parking will be available on the weekends in the Green Lot of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium off of Floyd Street. Open Friday through Sunday, August 16-18 and 23-25, more than 3,000 parking spots will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. Shuttles sponsored by Miller Transportation and the Louisville Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, will run continuously to bring patrons into the Fair. Fairgoers can purchase Fair admission at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium or present advance discount tickets prior to boarding the shuttle.

In addition, the new Five Dollar Lot will be opened adjacent to the Kentucky Exposition Center on the site of the former Executive Inn Hotel. Shuttles will bring fairgoers from the lot to the pedestrian admission gate. This lot will accommodate up to 3,000 vehicles and will be available on a first come, first serve basis during both weekends only of the Fair.

A new entrance point into the Kentucky Exposition Center will also be opened on the weekends. Drivers can turn at East Adair Street off Phillips Lane to park. This entrance point is accessible best from Crittenden Drive, alleviating Gates 2, 3 and 4 backup. Parking is $8 per vehicle.

To better serve patrons at the parking gates, wireless pay stations will be staffed by additional attendants at Gates 1 and 4 during the entire 11 days of the Fair to speed up the payment process and allow double the amount of traffic to filter into the Fair.

In addition to vehicle parking, bicycle riders will also be better accommodated every day of the Fair. All gates will provide bike racks inside each gate to riders, including a bike corral located at Gate 4 in Lot H, directly across from the shuttle stop. Bicycle racks will also be available at the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Green Lot.

The plan, which included studying other fairs and festivals and working with Louisville Metro Police Department, has been a long-standing issue for fairgoers.

"Our visitors have told us how important parking and easy access to the Fair are, and today we are taking a significant step," said Rippetoe.

Parking at the Kentucky Exposition Center will remain unchanged at $8 per vehicle.

The 2013 Kentucky State Fair is August 15-25 at the Kentucky Exposition Center.  For more information and continued updates on the 2013 Kentucky State Fair, visit the official website at

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