We strapped a GoPro onto the head of a state fair carnival rider
School starts. Labor Day weekend passes. And suddenly, it’s Kansas State Fair time.
This year’s annual party runs Friday through Sept. 15 on the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, and it will include all the Pronto Pup-eating, butter-sculpture gawking, giant-pumpkin-weighing fun that fairgoers look forward to every year.
But as always, it will also include a few updates, changes and new attractions.
Here’s what’s new and different this year:
Timberwork’s Lumberjack Show: Every year, the fair hires some sort of act to perform daily shows at Gottschalk Park, and this year, it’ll be lumberjacks who will perform feats of log rolling, speed climbing, ax throwing, speed carving and more. Shows happen daily at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.
“Moo U” Barn Tours: This year, people can learn about the animals in the fairgrounds’ barns with guided tours. Each tour will take about 45 minutes, and tours will be available daily starting at the Livestock Annex at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 7 p.m. (No 10 a.m. tour on Friday.)
The Butterfly Experience: Fairgoers will be able to visit an enclosed butterfly garden this year, which will also have plant-munching caterpillars. It opens at 9 a.m. daily on the east side of Lake Talbott.
Laser Light Shows: After the concerts end at the Grandstand, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, the venue will light up with an “encore laser light show” that will be set to popular music and will fill the night sky with color.
Roaming performers: Among the roaming performers in this year’s lineup will be a group of percussionists performing on buckets and barrels and a group of comical stilt walkers called High Pockets Parade.
Kiddieland: This new attraction, which will be set up west of 4-H Centennial Hall, will feature inflatables, mazes, face painting, temporary tattoos and balloon twisters.
Stand up paddle boarding: Always wanted to try it? You can for free at this year’s fair. The boards will be available for test drives at Lake Talbott from 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Crazy fried foods: The fair will feature the usual lineup of crazy fried foods, including this year’s weirdest addition — deep-fried deviled eggs. To learn all about the food at the fair, visit Dining with Denise on Facebook.
Grandstand concerts: As usual, the fair will feature a near-nightly lineup of well-known musical acts. So far, say fair organizers, the top selling shows are The Beach Boys (Sept. 15) followed by Dan+Shay (Saturday) followed by KC & The Sunshine Band, who will headline this year’s $5 Grandstand Night (Friday.) To see a full list of concerts, visit www.kansasstatefair.com
Trolley changes: The tractor-towed trolleys that have always picked people up in the parking lots and taken them to the fair gates will still run as usual. But this year, fair administrators have decided, for safety reasons, to stop operating the trolleys inside the fairgrounds. Instead, stretch golf carts will roam the grounds transporting people who need rides from attraction to attraction.
Ticket deals: Monday is Dillons Dollar Day, and it’s $1 admission for everyone, free for those who can show their Dillons cards. Also on Monday, all carnival rides are $1 all day
Don’t miss standards: Butter sculpture, giant pumpkin judging, pig races, Comic Hypnotist, Oscar the Robot, Give A Chicken a Bath demonstration, Birthing Center, Domestic Arts displays, free stuff
Kansas State Fair
When: Friday through Sept. 16
Where: Kansas State Fairgrounds, 2000 N. Poplar, Hutchinson
Admission: Tickets at the gate are $10 adults, $6 seniors and children ages 6-12, free for 5 and under
Information and lineup: https://www.kansasstatefair.com/