State Fair

September 5, 2013

Fair’s novelties, oddities offer something a bit different

It’s fun to go to the State Fair and peek at the pigs, admire the agricultural equipment and take pictures of the giant pumpkin.

It’s fun to go to the State Fair and peek at the pigs, admire the agricultural equipment and take pictures of the giant pumpkin.

For awhile.

After that, a fairgoer needs a distraction – the weirder, the better.

The fair is the perfect place for fans of the absurd, strange and just plain head-scratching. Following is a list of fair attractions, both new and standard, that attendees may want to check out.

Mama Lou: American Strong Woman

She looks like Rosie the Riveter – if Rosie the Riveter were ripping phone books in half with her bare hands and crushing apples in her arm as she flexed her giant muscles. Mama Lou: American Strong Woman, also known as Linsey Lindberg, is a Kansas native whose traveling novelty act is popular at fairs and festivals across the country. She will roam the streets of the fair Wednesday through Sept. 15 performing her feats of strength.

Barney of Mayberry

North Carolina comedian Scott Epperson looks and sounds a lot like Barney Fife, the beloved bumbling deputy famously played by Don Knotts on “The Andy Griffith Show.” Epperson uses his skills of impersonation to entertain crowds at festivals and fairs across the nation. He hilariously provides backup “law enforcement” and regularly reminds attendees to “nip it in the bud.” He’ll roam the fair Friday through Tuesday.

Welde’s Big Bear Show

The fair always recruits an interesting act to perform throughout the day at Gottschalk Park, and this year’s choice is an act called Welde’s Big Bear Show. The bears come from a place in Florida called “Bearadise Ranch,” and they perform tricks as well as offer the crowd educational information. The bear show can be seen at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily in Gottschalk Park.

Synthetic ice skating

How will the fair offer an ice skating rink in early September? By putting down a synthetic ice rink, a new trend in the ice skating world. The ice is made of a solid polymer material, meaning it’s not cold. Skaters who participate, in fact, will likely get sweaty. Fair officials are putting plenty of fans inside the Oz Breezeway, where the 30-by-70-foot rink will be set up.

Helicopter rides

The fair last had helicopter rides in 2009, and this year, they’re back. Fairgoers who want to get an aerial view of the fairgrounds can purchase a ride for $40 a person. The helicopters load by the north end of the midway.

Lego Road Trip

This traveling Lego attraction will be at the fair from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday and will offer families a chance to take pictures with life-sized Lego models, build with Legos and win Lego prizes. Tiny fairgoers can play with the Lego Duplo blocks.

Every-year oddities

The fair has lots of weird attractions that visitors can see every year, but a refresher never hurt anybody. Don’t miss the butter sculpture in the Pride of Kansas Building, the pig races north of the Bison Arena, the chainsaw woodcarver north of Lake Talbott and the celebrity goat milking championships at 3 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Sheep, Swine & Goat Building.

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