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Monday, Oct. 12, 2015

Magic On The MIDWAY

Unique food, entertainment and high rides are a big draw to State Fair of Louisiana


Unique food, entertainment and high rides are a big draw to state fair of Louisiana

The State Fair of Louisiana is a “Whole lot’a happy!” this year with carnival rides, midway games, the food, music concerts, livestock exhibits and a rodeo – and these are just a few of the entertaining treats the event has to offer.

The State Fair of Louisiana marks its 109th anniversary this year. State Fair of Louisiana President and Manager Chris Giordano said the fair began in 1906 and has always been held in Shreveport.

The fair kicks off Oct. 22 and will be in town through Nov. 8.

Giordano said up to 450,000 people visit the fair each fall and not all of the visitors are local. Fair attendees come from Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma as well.

Many fair-goers attend with their families.

Giordano said the fair is a way for many families to spend time together having fun.

“I think what my family likes most about the fair is the family time,” Paige Bounds, of Vivian, said. “We look forward to it every year.”

The fair brings with it a midway packed with more than 60 rides, plus tons of games.

There will be a few new rides, such as the extreme carnival ride “Sky Trip,” as well as familiar favorites such as the Arctic Blast, Starship, Crazy Dance and Super Shot. Riders on the Super Shot are taken up a 90-foot tower and then dropped down. It may take a moment for stomachs to catch up with the rides.

Naomi Fuller, of Frierson, said her 7-year-old daughter loves the “Yo-Yo” because she loves to go high in the air while her 3-year-old son enjoys all of the rides. “The experience is still new to [him], so all the rides he loves give him a rush and make him feel like a big boy,” she said.

Rachael Bird, of Bossier City, said her children love the stomach churning extreme rides. Their favorites include the roller coaster, as well as bumper cars. She and her husband prefer the carnival games. “The contents of my stomach are safe that way,” she said.

There is a children’s section with kiddie-sized rides for smaller children. Rides include trains, motorcycles, a child-sized roller coaster and, of course, a carousel.

Many attendees just want to fill their bellies with some of the tasty offerings the fair has available – much of it fried! “We love anything fried,” Fuller said. “I do love the jumbo corn dogs and turkey legs.”

Corn dogs are a favorite of the Bounds family as well, along with cotton candy and caramel apples. “Those are the three must-haves at our visit to the State Fair,” Bounds said.

Bird said she enjoys the funnel cakes most.

Some fans like theirs plain with powdered sugar, while others like it served with whipped cream, chocolate or fruit toppings. Bird said she likes hers with cinnamon powdered sugar.

Other food concessions available will include fried cheese, doughnut burgers, kabobs, lemonade, fried watermelon, frog legs and even pizza with unusual toppings like worms or scorpions.

“My wife likes the caramel apples, and I like all the food. I never know what to choose,” Shreveport resident Brian Fleming said. “Always get the trusted corn dogs and the old fashioned root beer though!” Giordano said some new shows have been added to the fair’s line-up. Dog-lovers may want to check out “JUMP! The Ultimate Dog Show.” It showcases dogs performing tricks with their trainer like Trick Freestyle Frisbee, “Step-up” High Jumping, Speed Agility, Head to Head Weave Pole Racing and Dock Diving.

“Another new attraction this year is the Ives’ Brothers Wall of Death which is a motorcycle motordrome. The riders are in a barrel,” Giordano said.

“It’s kind of an old school fair attraction.” “Wild Wacky Emu Races” is also a new event that will be held in the fair’s zoo. It involves the world’s second largest birds – emus – racing against each other as the audience cheers their favorite to the finish line. There will also be a chance to pet the big birds.

Opportunities to see other exotic animals and petting zoo animals up close will be available in the popular zoo attraction. Fuller said her children love the zoo and the animals. The giraffe, with its long black tongue, is always a crowd favorite. “[My boys] feed that giraffe every year,” said Bird.

Other shows include a Friesian Horse show, live chainsaw wood carving, pig races, a cheerleading competition and Circus Hollywood. Circus Hollywood is a free event that takes places daily under the Big Top. A free mobile dinosaur fossil museum will also be on hand for those who love prehistoric creatures.

Another fair favorite of the Bounds family is the western-style photos. “I think my favorite thing [at the fair] is the old time pictures you take,” Bounds said. “The boys also enjoy dressing up like ole cowboys.”

Fleming, who is a big fan of live music performances, is most excited to see some of the musical entertainers lined up for this year’s Fair, especially David Allen Coe with Cody Cooke & the Bayou Outlaws. “David Allen Coe is a country legend from the outlaw days,” he said. “I grew up listening to his music – love him!” Other musical acts include Frank Foster with Lainey Wilson, Cole Vosbury, Black Water Bride and Bayou Boogie.

A concert with Juvenile and P-Funk Connection will follow the Red River Classic – a college football game in Independence Stadium between Grambling State University and Texas Southern University.

Back again is the PRCA Pro Rodeo featuring bull and bronc riding, barrel races, calf roping and, of course, rodeo clowns.

This year’s rodeo has been moved from its traditional slot in the second week of the fair to the first. This was done to avoid competing with Halloween. The rodeo is a separate ticketing event and tickets cost $10-20.

“My favorite part about the fair is watching people come out with their families and put their troubles behind and just have a good time,” Giordano said.

“It’s just a great time for family to enjoy being just that, a family,” Bird said.

Want to go?

The fair is open from 10 a.m. To 10 p.m. oct. 22-nov. 8. It is closed on mondays and tuesdays. Gate admission and parking are free on weekdays until 3 p.m., wednesdays are half-price admission until 3 p.m. and carnival armbands are $15 instead of $30. For more information on the state fair of louisiana, go to www.statefairoflouisiana.com.


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