Oh, how I love the Kansas State Fair.
For ten days in September, the little town of Hutchison welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the Sunflower State. The roadways become packed, restaurants overflow, and “No Fair Parking” signs crop up in hastily manicured terraces. A city best known for its Cosmosphere and salt mine evolves into the state hub for pretty much everything for ten epic days of all-things-Kansan.
The Kansas State Fair is an annual festival that’s been going on for over 100 years. Thanks to a multitude of helpful volunteers and supporting organizations, the state fair provides both educational and entertainment opportunities for all ages. Some of the exhibits are predictable, like the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Fisheries mobile aquarium (super cool), while others breathe new life into the annual event, like a surprise visit from the Budweiser Clydesdales (the 2015 fair rocked).
A State Fair to Remember
Throughout my family’s travels and relocations, I’ve had the opportunity to attend many a state fair, and can confidently say Kansas’ is one of the very best (Mississippi’s is one of the worst – think perfect setting for a 48 Hours episode). The Kansas State Fair offers a wide variety of interactive farming exhibits, a great line-up of livestock shows, and some really interesting demonstrations (Chicken Bathing Demonstration at 11 AM, anyone?). While I’m not much for carnival food, games, or rides (the ferris wheel is stretching it), the Kansas State Fair’s schedule of uniquely Kansan events can entertain even the biggest of fair fuddy-duddies.
Kansas State Fair Must-see’s
When planning your trip to the fair, you’ll definitely want to check the current schedule at www.kansasstatefair.com to make sure you don’t miss any traveling exhibits (like those Clydesdales).
Here’s my round-up of always-there fair favorites that you won’t want to miss:
- Pig races (beyond awesome – ‘nough said)
- Birthing Center (who doesn’t love a barn full of baby animals?)
- Chainsaw artists (my husband’s bound and determined to enter this contest)
- Milking Parlor (for all you city slickers out there that don’t know how to milk a cow)
- Butter sculpture (will make Jennifer Garner and Ty Burrell’s Butter movie come to life)
What State Fairs Mean to Farmers
While most may associate an endless supply of funnel cakes and outdoor concerts by washed out celebrities with state fairs, it means something totally different to those of us in agriculture. The fair gives rural residents, like me, an opportunity to connect with other farmers that live on the other side of the state (Kansas is big, y’all). While many of us only get to see each other once or twice a year, the state fair gives us a chance to grab a root beer, watch a hog show, and talk some serious (and not-so-serious) farm-shop.
Why the Kansas State Fair Should be on your Bucket List
As the modern world continues to replace in-real-life (IRL) interactions with Live streams and hashtags, the state fair offers a window into a world that once was. From cow milking demos to poultry shows, fair activities provide visitors an opportunity to connect with neighbors, statesmen, and organizations that all share a common love of Kansas. By attending the Kansas State Fair, you’ll not only be treated to a great time and learn lots of neat things, but you’ll also get to experience a side of the Sunflower State that you may have never known existed.
So go ahead, mark your calendars for September 2018. We’ll see you at the next Kansas State Fair.
I’ll save you a seat at the Pig Races.