10 Things to Do at the 2018 Arkansas State Fair
Are you ready for rides, slides, livestock competitions, rodeos, funnel cakes and cotton candy? From Oct. 11-21, families from across the state will stampede into Little Rock to visit the Arkansas State Fair. And it's no wonder why, with all of the family-friendly attractions—here are 10 things to do with your family at the 2018 Arkansas State Fair!
1. Be Amazed by Arkansas Circus Arts
Professional acrobats, stilt walkers, jugglers and other performers will have you on the edge of your seat with their gravity-defying feats. After you see this high energy act, you just might want to run away with the circus! Find them on Hiland Hill just off the midway.
2. Hop On the Midway Rides
Did you really go to the fair if you didn't take a spin on a crazy ride or two? Spectacular rides include the blitzer roller coaster, euro slide, giant wheel, Mach 3 and mega drop. Kiddie rides include balloons race, bumble bees, kite flyer, lollipop swings, spidermania and undersea adventure. And of course, there will be a Ferris wheel for those who would rather skip the adrenaline rush during their visit.
Rides are not inluded in gate admission. But, on Monday, Oct. 15, kids ages 6 and under can ride the kiddie rides free from 9-11 a.m. and regular rides are only $1 each all day long.
3. Watch the PRCA Rodeo
Get a hitch in your get-along on the way to watch some rodeo action at the state fair. The PRCA Rodeo rides into Barton Coliseum Rodeo Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 21 with shows starting each night at 7:30 p.m. Newcomers and enthusiasts alike will enjoy roping, barrel racing, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and more.
Advance tickets are available online through Oct. 18; general admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. After the advance purchase date, tickets prices go up by $5.
4. Chow Down on Fair Food
Tis the season to deep fry everything. Perennial favorites such as funnel cakes, cotton candy and corn dogs will be served up. Some of this year’s creative new dishes include taco tots, shrimp burgers, fried strawberry shortcake, chicken salad stuffed cucumbers, mac 'n' cheese baked potatoes and more.
If you're going just for the good, visit Friday. Oct. 12 or from Oct. 15-19 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and get free parking and free gate admission at lunch time.
5. Watch Live Concerts
The best part of all the live music at the fair is that every single concert is included in regular gate admission. Check out the concert lineup: Redhead Express opens the series (6:45 p.m., Oct. 12), followed by Charlie Daniels Band at 8 p.m and P.O.D. at 8 p.m. on Oct. 13. Other performers throughout the fair include Joe Nichols, Blane Howard, Mark Chestnut and Twista. For the full lineup of concerts (there's a show almost every day of the fair) or to purchase premium seating tickets, click here.
6. Check Out All Kinds of Animals
Livestock competitions showcase some of the state's finest beef and dairy cattle, swine, sheep, goats, poultry and rabbits. The Fair will welcome nearly 4,000 Arkansas 4-H and FFA members and nearly 10,000 animals are expected to be at the Fairgrounds. Livestock competitions will also be held daily on the fairgrounds. Families can also wander through the livestock stalls to chat with the competitors and meet the animals.
The Exotic Animal Petting Zoo is an educational, hands on experience located in the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas’ Family Land. The attraction (included in general admission) features exotic animals from around the world and pony rides for the children.
7. Tour the History Museum
Do you know the fair has its very own Arkansas State Fair History Museum? In just a few minutes, visitors can learn interesting facts about the Fair’s storied 79-year history. The The State Fair Museum is located adjacent to the Farm Bureau Arts & Crafts building and is open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.
8. Visit Lots of Attractions
Take a break from the high-flying rides in the midway to enjoy a few popular attractions, including The Moogician, a family-friendly comedy and magic act. Then check out Sea Lion Splash, a show featuring performing sea lions doing tricks like shooting hoops, dancing and more! And don't forget to pay a visit to Wildlife Wendy and her Tropical Birds. Wendy and her precocious parrots put on an entertaining show that mixes fun with fact, bringing awareness and appreciation of these intelligent creatures.
9. See What's Happening With Creative Arts
In the Farm Bureau Arts & Crafts Building, visitors will see artists displaying their crafts, hobbies and even cooking skills. Highlights of the 2018 schedule include the Arkansas Honey Cooking Competition, the Arkansas Farm Bureau Ice Cream Making Contest, the Arkansas State Fair Pie Competition, the Cooked Perfect Meatball Challenge and the Kids Cookie Contest. The schedule for all the creative arts competitions is available here.
10. Cheer On Talent Show & Pageant Contestants
All hail the Fair Queen! The Arkansas Building will be the venue for regionalcompetition for pageant and talent contestants. The pageant finals begin on Saturday Oct. 20 at 5:30 p.m. and the evening concludes with award ceremonies and the crowning of the 2018 Arkansas State Fair Queen.
A Kids Talent Contest will take place Sunday, Oct. 14, beginning at 4 p.m. for ages 4-12. The Little Mr. and Miss Rodeo Pageant will take place Saturday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. For the details on all of the talent shows and pageants, click here.
Advance Purchase Ride Passes are available at participating Tropical Smoothie Cafes in Arkansas and redeemable for a one-day unlimited ride armband and gate admission at the State Fair. The special $30 pass can be redeemed at midway ticket booths any day of the fair, except Dollar Day (Oct. 16).
Advance gate admission tickets are $7.99 for adults and $3.99 for children and seniors. Advance gate admission tickets may be purchased online at ArkansasStateFair.com through Oct. 22.
Regular gate admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12 and seniors ages 60 and older; fairgrounds parking is $10 per vehicle. Unlimited ride bands are $30 per person.
Families can also take advantage of daily deals and specials, including Dollar Day in which admission, parking and rides are $1 each (Oct. 16); Kiddie Day in which children ages 6 and under can ride Kiddie Rides free from 9-11 a.m.(Oct. 16); and more. Click here for all fair promotions.
For more information, visit ArkansasStateFair.com.