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The Arkansas state fair: a Southerner’s heaven wrapped in deep-fried fun

Submitted by LaToya Sergent on October 15, 2010 – 9:19 amNo Comment

It’s that time again, the Arkansas State Fair is back with good music, new rides and more food than you can shake turkey leg at.

At the state fair media event on Oct.5, I got a sneak peak at all the cool things going on.

Hopefully, you got a chance to see one of the greatest bands in the world, The Guess Who on Friday. And if you don’t know who they are, you don’t know jack about music. Sure the band is before a lot of our times, but “Baba O’Reily,” (sometimes incorrectly called, “Teenage Wasteland,”) “American Woman,” and “These Eyes” are classics; you should know them. The Guess Who was added after Tesla cancelled. Ralph Shoptaw, general manager of the State Fair Complex, said one of the band members had a family emergency. Tesla’s cool, but I think The Guess Who is better anyway.

If you didn’t get a chance to see them, you can still catch some of the lesser known artists, Easton Corbin and Bucky Covington this Thursday, and Loverboy this Friday.

Aside from the music, the main draw to the fair is all the greasy, artery-clogging, make-you-wanna-slap yo-mama-good deep-fried foods. Of course there will be old favorites like corn dogs, fried Twinkies and funnel cakes, but there are some new editions to the family: the Texas twister and the pig licker.  Shoptaw described the Texas Twister as “a weenie on a stick with a spiral potato.”
At the media event luncheon, I saw one of the creations when one of Fox 16’s photographers came back to our table with it. It was interesting for sure.

They didn’t have the pig licker, bacon dipped in chocolate, but Shoptaw said it’s pretty popular.
“It was a real big item at the Minnesota state fair, and I saw it up there, and I thought we had to have that here in Arkansas,” he said.

It looks like those of us trying to watch our weight will be hard-pressed to find anything less than a million calories. It looks like the healthiest thing at the fair is the chocolate-dipped banana. Healthy or not, this dish sounds cool because it reminds me of “Arrested Development.”

After you finish stuffing your face, you can puke your guts out after riding the new Nemesis 360.
“It’s a big A frame with a big pendulum-type thing that swings and goes up and all the way over,” Shoptaw said. Just to show how up-to-date Arkansas is on the latest fair fun, Shoptaw added we have one of only 14 Nemesis 360s in the country.

Don’t worry parents, there’s stuff for the kiddies, too. There are about 20-30 kid rides, and Shoptaw said
they have gotten bigger over the years.

“Kids are more braver these days than they used to be,” he said.

With all the cool stuff going on, the $8 admission price doesn’t seem so bad, but if you are paying for more than one person (like my boyfriend), it turns into $16, and added with the $5 parking, it can get expensive really fast. But don’t sweat; there are tons of great promotions.

Wednesday from 6 p.m. to close, college students get free admission; and Thursday is all about showing love to the ladies. From 6 p.m. to close, ladies 18 and older get in for free!

The best promotion is probably on weekdays from 11a.m-1 p.m., when admission and parking are free!
Are you still here? I just told you how awesome the fair is. Get off your bum and go enjoy it while you can. Sunday is the last day!

Want more information? Go to www.arkansasstatefair.com.

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