Home / Features / Cover Story / 2018 Louisiana State Fair
Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018

2018 Louisiana State Fair

State Fair

“Kick Up Your Heels”

It matters not your age, social status or wealth, when the weather turns cooler and the night air crisp, excitement and anticipation fill your inner being when you know it's time again for the State Fair of Louisiana.

“People ask me all the time about my favorite part of the fair … it’s tradition. I want our kids and their kids to be able to continue the tradition of going to the fair,” said Chris Giordano, who has been president and general manager since 2006, following his father, Sam Giordano. “But what gives me the most enjoyment during the fair is standing out on the midway or sitting in my golf cart and watching families having a good time together.”

People watching. And people have been coming to the State Fair to have a good time for 112 years.

"Kick Up Your Heels" is the theme for this year's event, scheduled for Oct. 25 through Nov. 11 (with the exception of Mondays and Tuesdays).

The lights and sounds of the midway and the carnival rides are definitely a big draw, but many don't realize the many facets of the fair that include events free to the public after the initial the cost of general admission. Carnival armbands may be purchased all 15 days of the fair with gate admission.

"People want and expect certain traditional aspects, and I know our carnival will have at least four or five new rides that haven't been at the carnival before," Giordano said. "The State Fair of Louisiana does host the largest carnival midway in the state of Louisiana."

Some free attractions with admission will be the same such as State Fair Zoo with Hollywood Racing Pigs, the Friesian Horse Show and the Double Hump Camel Show.

"Circus Hollywood is a circus that performs in a big top during the fair," he said. "They change the acts each year."

Giordano said he is very excited about one new act that is very popular around the fair circuit – Sea Lion Splash Show.

As fair-goers stroll the midway, they may encounter Dallas The Fire Guy, who eats and breathes fire while juggling, along with his son, Nick, who is an escape artist.

"We have Rock-It Robot, who will be wandering the grounds, the Clown of Many Faces, and then a new street performer this year named Wacky Chad. He does tricks on a pogo stick and a unicycle … he's a juggler, as well," Giordano said.

For gaming aficionados, Giordano said he is helping the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum bring in a new exhibit called "Pinball: An American Game Experience."

"It will be in one of the wings of the museum, but it will feature pinball machines from the 1930s to the 1990s," he said. "Guests will be able to play the pinball machines for free and learn a lot of history on pinball – I didn't realize for a long time pinball was illegal in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago."

In addition to the largest midway, the State Fair hosts the largest livestock show in the state.

"The livestock brings in a ton of people – they come from all over,” Giordano said. “The junior shows, which are for FFA (Future Farmers of America) and 4-H, those exhibitors come from all over the state of Louisiana … a lot come from South Louisiana.”

The fair also hosts open livestock shows. "Those are kids and adults that are showing animals – breeding animals – everything from Angus to Brahma to Herefords, cattle, goats, sheep and such," he said. "Those exhibitors come from all over the country."

Giordano’s hope is that people will understand that while they have to spend money to park, gain admission, enjoy the carnival rides and eat, there is so much to do that is free.

"You can go to a concert, the circus, all these other shows, like Ag Magic, which is an agricultural exhibit, and go through the livestock shows – there are some free events in the coliseum,” he said. “We start off on our opening day with a Seniors’ Expo. We have a big Cheer and Dance Expo and a Baton and Dance Competition – all free.”

All concerts are free with fair admission, as well. Some performers include SiDE fx, Jeter Jones & The Perfect Blend Band, Cupid & Dance Party Express Band, Cypress Spring, Frank Foster, KANDU, BOYZ, Ying Yang Twins and many others that are listed on the fair’s website.

The LRCA Rodeo, however, is a ticketed event.

"Last year's Saturday night rodeo sold out," Giordano said. "We had a very good crowd on Friday, and this year we are introducing a new promotion for Thursday and calling it ‘Heroes Night,' giving any first responder that requests it two tickets, including law enforcement, fire, EMS and military."

Coincidentally, Navy Week in Shreveport corresponds with the fair this year, which works to the event’s advantage.

"The Navy Pride Band is performing at the fair Sunday, Oct. 28," Giordano said. "That will be their grand opening of Navy Week at the fair."

Veterans and Military Appreciation Day is the last day and the best day of the fair, as far as Giordano is concerned.

"On this day, we allow all military and their families to come to the fair free – free parking, free gate admission – and it's open to current, active military, retired, former, if you've ever been affiliated with the military," he said. "At 2 p.m., we have a veterans parade down the middle of the midway. There will be all types of military organizations, high school bands, groups and such that participate with the parade."

Giordano said a formal impact study of the fair has not been conducted since 2003. At that time, the LSU Center for Business Research concluded the State Fair of Louisiana had a $24 million impact on the area.

“I’m trying to get another one done this year or next year,” he said. “It’s time because the fair has grown a little bit.”

With a budget of $2.5 million, about a quarter of a million dollars is spent on security to ensure all attendees are safe.

"It is not dangerous at the fair – just about the whole police force is at the fair," Giordano said with a laugh. "We spend a ton of money on security, and we really don't have problems at the fair. We have one deputy that is 24 hours in our livestock barns, and typically, inside the fair there are no problems.”

And while the lights, sounds and smells at night bring people to the fair, Giordano recommends people bring their small children earlier in the day, if they are concerned about safety.

"Come in the afternoon and enjoy it, then let the sun go down, stay a little while and leave around 8:30 or nine o'clock," he said.

An Advanced Discount Ticket Sale Campaign is underway. Gate admission tickets are $8 in advance and $12 at the gate. Once the fair opens, fair-goers will be able to take advantage of other discounts that save money, such as discount days and armbands.

By providing these discounts, the State Fair of Louisiana hopes that every family will have the opportunity to attend this year's fair and create lifetime family memories in a safe and friendly environment.

Carnival Midway

Enjoy all the fun of Crabtree Amusements Inc. Carnival Midway! The largest carnival midway in the state of Louisiana featuring over 60 exciting rides, games and food. There is also a separate Kiddie Land. Smoking and alcohol are not permitted inside Kiddie Land. You must be at least 36 inches tall to ride many of Crabtree Amusement's rides including kiddie rides. There are approximately eight rides that have a height requirement of 30 inches tall. Some of the larger rides have taller height requirements. Carnival rides accept magic money credits and armbands. Please follow rules that are posted on carnival rides. The rules are in place for your own safety. Carnival games accept tokens. Food booths accept cash. For your convenience, token dispensers are placed throughout the carnival midway.

“Kick Up Your Heels”

Exhibits & Concessions

Each year the State Fair of Louisiana brings in many fair food concessions from all over the U.S. and local concessionaires as well. There is a midway full of both traditional fair foods and new fair foods. Some of the traditional fair foods include: cotton candy, corn dogs, funnel cakes, turkey legs, candy apples, caramel apples, pizza, cinnamon rolls, gyros, BBQ, salt water taffy, chicken-on-stick, shrimp-onstick, hamburgers, ice cream, Mexican food, etc. Other fair foods include: Wisconsin cheese, gator-on-stick, bacon-covered caramel apples, cricket pizza, scorpion pizza, maple bacon funnel cakes, red velvet funnel cakes, fried watermelon, Rocky Mountain oysters, Texas fried ribs, Kool-Aid pickles, donut burgers, fried cookie dough on stick, cookie dough parfait, fried cheesecake, etc.

Special exhibit this year: "Pinball: An American Game Experience." The Louisiana State Exhibit Museum is bringing in this very cool, interactive pinball exhibit featuring pinball machines from the 1930s to the 1990s. Admission is free and gameplay is free.

For more information on the 2018 State Fair of Louisiana, please visit our website at: www.statefairoflouisiana.com

Dates: October 25 – November 11 (Closed Mondays & Tuesdays)

Special Election Day Opening: Tues., Nov. 6

Hours: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Wednesdays, Thursdays & Sundays) 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Fridays & Saturdays)

Carnival Hours: 12 noon – 10 p.m. (Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays) 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Saturdays & Sundays)

Ticket Prices: Gate Admission - $12

P.O.P. : $47 gate admission + carnival armband

FunPass: $100 gate admission + carnival armband all 15 days of the State Fair

Advance Discounted Tickets (On Sale Sept. 19 – Oct. 24 Only)

Online: Gate Admission - $8

P.O.P. : $32 gate admission + carnival armband

FunPass: $100 gate admission + carnival armband all 15 days of the State Fair

Brookshire’s/Super 1 Foods: Gate Admission - $8

P.O.P. : $32 gate admission + carnival armband

Special Promotions

Free Fair Days:  Free parking/gate admission, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Wed., Thurs. & Fri.)

Discount Wednesdays: Gate Admission - $5 after 3 p.m.

Carnival Armbands: $20, 12 noon til close $2

Thursdays: Parking $2 after 3 p.m.

Gate Admission: $2 after 3 p.m.

Carnival Rides: $2 each, 12 noon til close

Special Election Day Promotion: Tues., Nov. 6. Free parking and gate admission from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gate admission $5 after 3 p.m.

Carnival Armbands: $20, 12 noon til close

Street Entertainers

*Street entertainers are free with your gate admission to the State Fair and perform several shows per day each day.

Dallas The Fire Guy
The Clown of Many Faces
Nick The Escape Artist
Wacky Chad
Rock-It Robot

LRCA Finals Rodeo

Presented By: Good Neighbor Chevy Dealers & SB Sports Commission
Powered By: CINCH Jeans & Shirts
When: Thurs., Nov. 1 / Fri., Nov. 2 / Sat., Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Where: Hirsch Memorial Coliseum
Ticket Prices: Advance: Upper Level
GA: $15
Box Seats: $25

Competitive Events

17th Annual Antique Tractor Show & Pull

When: Fri., Oct. 26, from 6 to 10 p.m. Sat., Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

State Fair Cheer & Dance Championships (Free)

When: Sat., Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. til over (approx. 6 p.m.)
Where: Hirsch Memorial Coliseum

State Fair Baton & Danceline Competition (Free)

When: Sun., Oct. 28, from 11 a.m. til over
Where: Hirsch Memorial Coliseum

State Fair Cooking Contests

When: Tues., Nov. 6, through Sat., Nov. 10
Where: Cooking Contests Tent next to State Fair Administrative Office.

Talent Contest

When: Sat., Oct. 27, at 11 a.m.
Where: State Fair Livestock Sale Arena

Livestock Quiz Bowl

When: Sat., Oct. 27, at 2 p.m.
Where: State Fair Livestock Sale Arena

Free Concerts & Entertainment

Free with your gate admission to State Fair.

Oct. 25: SiDE fx: 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 26: Jeter Jones & The Perfect Blend Band: 7 p.m.
Cupid & The Dance Party Express Band: 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 27: Frank Foster: 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 28: Navy Pride Band: 5 – 9 p.m.

Oct. 31: KANDU: 7 p.m., 8 p.m. & 9 p.m.

Nov. 1: Casey Martin Band: 7 p.m., 8 p.m. & 9 p.m.

Nov. 2: Ole Whiskey Revival: 7 p.m.
Cody Cooke & The Bayou Outlaws: 9 p.m.

Nov. 3: KYPER: 7 p.m.
69 BOYZ: 8 p.m.
Ying Yang Twins: 9:30 p.m.

Nov. 4: Fiesta at the Fair: 2 – 10 p.m.
La Energia Nortena: 8:30 p.m.

Nov. 6: The Rockin’ Redeyes: 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.

Nov. 7: Shayliff: 7 p.m., 8 p.m. & 9 p.m.

Nov. 8: Gospel Mega Fest: 4 – 9:30 p.m.

Nov. 9: Total Choice: 7:30 p.m.
Windstorm: 8:30 p.m.

Nov. 10: A Tribute To Music Royalty: 7 p.m.
Bobby Miller performing as Prince & Michael Jackson along with Timeless Tina performing as Tina Turner

Nov. 11: Bayou Boogie: 3 p.m.
T-Broussard & The Zydeco Steppers: 5:30 p.m.


The Forum News