Between the smell, the heat, and the mullets, some people aren’t County Fair people, and I can totally understand them. The Kentucky State Fair was my first fair because the Ohio State Fair is held in Columbus, and no one I ever knew in Cleveland cared enough to make the two-hour drive, me included.
With the Kentucky State Fair being held in Louisville, I could not rationalize not giving it a try. After all, with over 60,000 visitors in 11 days on 520, there really should be something for everyone. Below is a list of some things to do at the Kentucky State Fair that are fun for people who don’t have anything to do with livestock, don’t have kids, don't like country music, and generally don’t think state fairs are fun:
Live taping of the local TV show, “Secrets of Louisville Chefs” – Gourmet Garden Stage (South Wing A) on Saturday, August 28 at 4pm
• Most of the cooking shows and demonstrations at the Gourmet Garden Stage use locally produced ingredients. A visit here gave me great ideas on recipes using local produce and definitely showed me the wide extent of Kentucky farming. Exhibits held until the end of the fair.
Kentucky Cookout Tent (South Wing Parking Lot)
• Junk food justification! I had a barbeque pork sandwich from the Kentucky Pork Producer’s Associate stand, and it melted in my mouth. That sandwiched proved that the quality of the ingredients in any meal, even a fast-food item, is very important. It was delicious, and I’m betting so are the rest of the dishes from the several vendors serving homegrown food at the Kentucky Cookout Tent.
Thrillway (South Wing C)
• The Thrillway, even with its expansion, is a sad replacement for the real amusement who’s ghost looms over the fair. However, it is successful as a large carnival, and I have never said no to one of those. There are very few fun “grown-up rides,” but a Ferris wheel can’t be done wrong, there are plenty of opportunities to win your date a teddy bear or a gold fish, and deep fried carnival food as far as the eye can see. Check the fair site for special deals, some days are listed as "wristband days" so you can get unlimited rides for $25 (as opposed to only 22 tickets for the same amount).
Timber Tina’s World Champion Lumberjills - (South Wing Parking Lot) on Thursday, August 26 at 1:30pm, 4:30pm, and 7:30pm
• The state fair press release packet said to come early to a Lumberjills show, and they were correct. I saw Timber Tina and her two tree-chopping associates a few days back and arrived about 30 minutes early to their demonstration. By then the bleachers were mostly filled. The women that call themselves the Lumberjills, led by a Maine woman who goes by Timer Tina, compete against each other in events that involve fighting on logs in the water, sawing tree trunks, and throwing axes, like they do in real competitions (yes, they’re a real thing). I'm not much of a lumberjack, or jill, kind of girl, but I love the level of mastery that these women have reached. All in all, it was definitely entertaining. I have posted their Thursday schedule above, but they will be performing throughout the rest of the fair.
And a final note - bring a lot of cash with you because the ATM lines are too long, and while the state fair is definitely interesting, it's also just as pricey. Most Thrillway rides that would interest an adult even somewhat are four tickets, and the fair apparently brings out the exceptionally rowdy side of cows and children alike. However, I did enjoy my time at the fair and found interesting events.