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The pipe-smoking contest and the ugly lamp competition are among the dearly departed, but the 113th rendition of the Kentucky State Fair has a bunch of new offerings to entertain, educate and amaze.
The changes include a fast-entry traffic plan, some new eats, and a renamed and relocated midway.
The 2017 fair, set for Aug. 17-27 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, traditionally attracts more than 600,000 visitors, and Jason Rittenberry, the president and CEO of Kentucky Venues, formerly the State Fair Board, said changes are intended to improve the guest experience.
This will be Rittenberry's first State Fair since he took the job late last year, and fair spokeswoman Amanda Storment said many of the innovations, including traffic-related changes such as express entrance lanes, are mostly his ideas.
Here are some of the new things in store:
1. Welcome to Thrill Ville
If you're looking for cheap thrills on the Ferris wheel or the tilt-a-whirl, you won't have to look hard. The midway is being relocated from its longtime site on the west side of the fairgrounds to the area in front of Freedom Hall, just to the left as you enter Gate 1 off Phillips Lane.
The midway is also being renamed Thrill Ville. The ride sector is a signature component of the fair, and the new location "will be front and center -- where the rides and fun are," Rittenberry said. "The new location of the midway will be closer to food, music and entertainment tents, and also to the air-conditioned North and South Wing exhibit areas.”
Kentucky Kingdom's rides will be open, with a separate charge for access.
Important to know: Fair rides to face random inspections, officials say
Important to know: Fair rides to face random inspections, officials say
2. There's an app for that
A new app designed to help fair-goers get the most bang for their buck and plenty more has been developed.
Short on cash? The app tells you how to buy advance parking and admission tickets at a lower cost. It also provides daily event schedules, special deals and lists what concessions are available, like alligator bites or fried mac 'n cheese balls. Plus you can keep up with what's "trending" at the fair and get up-to-date weather reports and parking and traffic data.
Find the "Kentucky State Fair - 2017" app for free at Google Play or in the App Store.
The Kentucky State Fair kicks off Thursday, Aug. 17 with a range of new foods that will attempt to fill every visitor's desire. Topping the list are Hot Brown Tater Tots, alligator burgers, and fried mac & cheese balls. Bailey Loosemore/Courier-Journal/USA TODAY Network
3. A whole new set of concerts is on tap
The fair will have nightly free concerts on the field at Old Cardinal Stadium — the stadium grandstand has been condemned and is off limits — along with three paid concerts at Freedom Hall.
The paid performances will feature the "I Love the 90s" tour led by Vanilla Ice and Salt N' Pepa on Aug. 17, Alabama on Aug. 18, and Travis Tritt and the Charlie Daniels Band on Aug. 27.
Among the outdoor "turf" concerts will be ones headlined by Ginuwine, Blues Traveler, For King & Country, the Oak Ridge Boys, and the Happy Together Tour with the Association, the Turtles and the Cowsills. The free concerts are rain or shine, with seating first-come, first-served.
*A mini music festival is planned from 6-11 p.m. Aug. 24, featuring "all things local," Storment said.
4. High-wire acts, kangaroos and reptiles
Many acts are booked around the grounds, with most of those performances several times daily. The card includes the famed Flying Wallendas on the high wire and trained cuddly wallabies and kangaroos, and not so cuddly reptiles. Another freebie: A hip hop juggler from Harlem.
5. But wait, there's more ...
The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs is coordinating a large interactive exhibit in the South Wing commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I. It will feature a walk-through barracks replica and include a trench made of 480 sandbags, donated by Fort Knox, containing 20 tons of sand.
Other new offerings will include a "cooks vs. Cons" competition — asking onlookers to pick the real chef and the pretender — and the Owsley Brown II Portable Planetarium.
Of course, the fair will pause for a viewing of the much-heralded eclipse on Aug. 21.
The fairgrounds' gates open around 7 a.m., with buildings opening at 9 a.m. There are several special promotions with special deals — military Sunday on Aug. 20 and Senior Day on Aug. 22. Carload day is Aug. 24, with $20 per vehicle entry before 5 p.m. (parking included).
Some discount tickets, including admission and parking, are available through Aug. 16 at Kroger stores, at kystatefair.org and via the State Fair app.
Reporter Sheldon S. Shafer can be reached at 502-582-7089, or via email at email@example.com.FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInThe strangest foods of the Kentucky State Fair, past and present> Fullscreen
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Source : http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2017/08/11/kentucky-state-fair-2017-5-things-and-more-know/544452001/