By: Meredith Hamblen
The Greater Baton Rouge State Fair (GBRSF) returns in full swing on Thursday, October 23rd.
This event is expected to attract 60,000 to 70,000 guests, making it one of the largest local attractions.
The GBRSF staff, comprised of all volunteers, works to develop entertainment appealing to all ages. These organizers encourage people to come out and enjoy what the fair has to offer.
“We made sure to make sure we got a little bit of everything when it came to the music,” said Cliff Barton, Chairman of the GBRSF Board. “The musicians we have lined up for the stage entertainment incorporate country, rock n’ roll, blues, soul and more.”
Henry Turner, Jr. and Flavor, known for their ability to combine reggae, soul, funk and blues, will be opening the event’s diverse musical lineup on Thursday evening. The lineup includes other popular acts including Chase Tyler Band, Shot Time, and Dexter Lee and The Prophets.
This year, the fair includes a variety of new attractions. Daily, guests can ride exciting rides, participate in competitions, enjoy magic shows, play in the petting zoo and listen to an eclectic variety of music.
Barton said the fair will feature the return of more traditional fair fare.
“This year, we plan to bring back the Pies, Jams and Jellies competition. People can bring in all sorts of different things,” he said. “We’re excited about this because it is an old-fashioned competition, and we like the idea of trying to tie it back to the roots of the old time state fair, and this is our first step in that direction.”
In addition to reviving Pies, Jams and Jellies, the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair is implementing brand new competitions. On weekends, children will have the opportunity to participate in the “Children’s Rodeo,” in which they, depending on their age, can ride calf of sheep and win trophies and ribbons.
The fair also recently decided on having lawn mower racing in the arena, “because it’s always fun to try something new,” Barton said.
Since the fair is held over the Halloween holiday, Barton said the event will also host a “Scare at the Fair.”
“Kids who come in a Halloween costume will get in free for that night. We hope it generates an added element of fun for the younger ages,” Barton explained.
Fair goers can expect traditional, tasty fair food from deep-friend funnel cakes to hearty BBQ.
The Greater Baton Rouge State Fair staff expects this year to be even more exciting than last considering all of the new special events they have created.
“I really can’t choose what I’m most excited about. I’m sincerely looking forward to all of it. Our slogan is ‘Come Out to The Fair and Make a Memory,’ and that’s exactly what we want people to do,” Barton said.
Celebrating its 49th year, the fair is deeply entrenched in the community, donating the proceeds to different worthy family and children-oriented causes such as Boys and Girls Club of Greater Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Zoo.
Located off of Airline Highway, the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair will open on October 23rd and end November 2nd. Gate entry is $5 Guests who ride the rides must have either individual coupons or a ride wristband. Wristbands may be purchased for $25.00 and will allow for unlimited rides. Individual coupons are $1.00 each, and the number need varies from ride to ride.