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31 Days of Louisville Love: Kentucky State Fair

You know what starts in less than a month, when we will most likely already be gone? My favorite annual event, the Kentucky State Fair. 

I look forward to the duckling slide all year. 

I look forward to the duckling slide all year. 

If you’ve followed this blog or the Louisville, Not Kentucky podcast, you know my love of state fairs developed over eight years of annual attendance at the Texas State Fair in Dallas. I’ve loved living in a city that hosts the state fair again. When I talk up Louisville to friends considering a visit, I tell them to come for the state fair, not Derby.  

Since moving to Louisville, I have been to the fair every year. Two years ago, I went twice, once by myself, just to spend more time with the quilts and cakes (it was the second weekend, and those baked goods do not last that long. If you’re going for the food entries, go the first weekend, unless you’re specifically going to see mold grow on cake). You really do need more than one day to see everything, but these are the things I try to visit each year: 

1. The duckling slide — this is in the Discovery Farm, which I believe is in South Wing B.

2. Entries - specifically the cakes, the quilts, aquariums, and antiques. The art entries are also entertaining, but there are too many to see if you only have a day and have to check what politically incorrect antiques won first place this year. 

3. The prize-winning animals, especially the rabbits and poultry. There are some super fluffy rabbits in the world, and some really fantastic-looking chickens, and you can find them at the state fair. 

4. The bees - I love the the wall of honey jars, looking for the queen bee, and making my own candles.

Beeswax candles

Beeswax candles

This is a beauty queen made from a tomato. 

This is a beauty queen made from a tomato. 

5. The giant produce in the West Hall (this is by the bees). Who will have the biggest pumpkin this year, and how grotesquely huge will it be? 

6. Freddy Farm Bureau - he’s more interactive than Big Tex and will actually have a conversation with you. 

Then I also have to have a turkey leg and possibly a taste of whatever bizarre food they’re presenting this year (no to the donut burgers, yes to fried Girl Scout cookies). 

After my first fair visit, I now avoid the equine areas (allergies) and the “Commercial Exhibits” in South Wing C. There are too many people and too much junk in there. But if you want to see the Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky booth (and you do, because they have a tiny owl and a bald eagle), you do have to brave this hall. Fortunately, that booth is along the wall, so you don’t have to wade through too many dream catchers and violent mascot t-shirts to get to it. 

I am really sad that we will be out of town for the fair this year. I’ve heard about Massachusetts’ “Big E,” but it’s about 100 miles away from Boston (which is not that far. We definitely drove from Houston to Dallas to go to the fair one year). I do have a goal to attend all the states’ fairs, so this seems like a great time to tackle that. I’ll just miss that duckling slide.