LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – The 115th Kentucky State Fair kicks off this this week with a 10-day lineup of rides, free music concerts, a horse show and more. The fair, which annually draws 600,000 people, runs Aug. 15-25 at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.
Activities begin Thursday with the Kentucky Commodity Breakfast at 7 a.m. at the Great Kentucky Cookout Tent. Kentucky Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles and other dignitaries will serve a hearty breakfast provided by Kentucky commodity groups. The official opening ceremony will follow.
For the second year in a row, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture will host the AgLand exhibit in the South Wing, highlighting Kentucky’s rich farming heritage and bright agricultural future. AgLand exhibits include the 4-H Cloverville space, FFA projects, the Discovery Farm, sponsored by Kentucky Pork Producers, and other ag attractions.
Ag Department employees will work the livestock shows and review the health papers of animals entering the fairgrounds. Inspectors will check the amusement rides to make sure they are operating according to the manufacturers’ specifications. Employees will staff the AgLand exhibits and manage the fruit, vegetable, crop and bees and honey exhibits in the West Hall.
Another major annual tradition is the Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast on Aug. 22 at 7:30 a.m. The grand champion country ham will be auctioned for charity, with bids possibly reaching seven figures. Last year’s champion ham, produced by Broadbent B&B Foods of Kuttawa, attracted a record $2.8 million from Central Bank and Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn.
The World’s Championship Horse Show, the most prestigious saddlebred show in the world, is in Freedom Hall Aug. 17-24. Top saddlebred horses from around the world take center stage during the show, with harness and hackney ponies, roadster ponies and horses competing in the show ring as well. Divisions include Three and Five-Gaited, Fine Harness, Saddlebred Pleasure, Equitation, Hackney/Harness Pony, Roadster, In Hand Division and American Saddlebred. Show days, hours, parking and ticket prices vary.
There are free concerts nightly, with music geared towards every taste, including country, rock, oldies, R&B and contemporary Christian.
Quarles says he considers the Kentucky State Fair an event that brings the best of Kentucky agriculture together in one location.
“The fair is a golden opportunity for farmers to talk to the non-farming community about how they produce the food and fiber we all depend on and why they love the agricultural lifestyle,” he stated. “It’s also the highlight of the livestock show season in Kentucky, where the best of the best compete for prizes and bragging rights.”
Gates open daily at 7 a.m. while exhibits open at 9. The exhibit halls close at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Some areas close earlier on Sunday, Aug. 25. The midway rides, known as “Thrill Ville,” opens at 2 p.m. weekdays and noon on weekends and closes at midnight.
Admission to the Kentucky State Fair is $10 per person; children 5-and-under are admitted free. Parking is also $10 per vehicle, although there special days with reduced or free prices.
For more information and a schedule of events, go to https://kystatefair.org/.