From Pronto Pup eating contests to an Explore Kansas Festival and a draft horse parade, this year’s Kansas State Fair has something for everyone
The Kansas State Fair begins its 10-day run in Hutchinson Sept. 6, and from viewing the rich yellow butter sculpture to filling your stomach with all things deep-fried, there is no shortage of things to experience.
Moreover, the 2019 Fair mixes traditional with NEW activities and events for everyone to enjoy.
Enjoy what is new this year — whether you like thrills, music, or just pigging out, there should be something on this list just for you. Here are a few highlights.
Kansas State Fair App
Want to find the nearest cheese curds? Need a bathroom in a hurry? Searching for a product — may be a new mop or a fancy grill — to help make your life easier? Or, perhaps, you just don’t want to miss any of the Kansas State Fair action. The answers — plus more — can be found in the Kansas State Fair’s new mobile app. The app, sponsored by Mattress Hub, is free to download for both iPhone and Android devices. It will help plan your day at the Fair. It will also send real-time notifications — such as when the next calf at the birthing center is being born.
Trams will again circle the grounds during the 2019 Kansas State Fair thanks to generous sponsorships from Westar Energy and Alliance for a Healthy Kansas. The new trams, rented from Trams R Us, are self-contained with company-provided drivers. These trams offer a safe way to navigate the Fairgrounds. Check out the new Fair map in the guide or on our app for tram stop locations.
With more than 12,000 students visiting Kansas’ Largest Classroom each year, the Fair is expanding its education initiative — creating a learning hub in the middle of the Fairgrounds. Previously called Do-Art, the new Education Center features a variety of activities, including lessons on the importance of pollinators and the growing Kansas dairy industry. Kansas Cosmosphere’s Dr. Goddard’s Lab can be found here. Hours/Location: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at the intersection of Bison Boulevard and Lake Talbott Avenue. Sponsored by Kansas Farm Bureau.
Pollinator Gardens: Teaching about pollinators is a big part of this year’s education curriculum. Several new pollinator garden plots have been planted across the Fairgrounds. These gardens are full of native Kansas wildflowers and grasses, attracting butterflies, bees and even bats. With habitat destruction causing declines in monarch butterflies and other pollinating species, the pollinator gardens are part of the Fair’s educational curriculum. Find each location on our new State Fair App. Sponsored by Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever and Kansas Farm Bureau.
Sudsy’s Barn: After wandering through the Fair’s livestock areas, stop at Sudsy’s barnyard handwashing station that promotes healthy lifestyles and makes handwashing fun! Hours/Location: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at the corner of 20th and Fort Riley Boulevard. Brought to the Fair by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation.
This year, draft horses, which are normally shown pulling carts or wagons, will participate in barrel racing during the draft horse show Sept. 6 and 7. It’s a first for the Fair and one of many new events taking place over the 10 days. The Fair is adding a working equitation clinic, mounted archery and other competitions, as well as demonstrations. Children’s educational activities also will take place. Build-your-own stick horse and stick horse races take place during our Draft Horse Shows. Story time with Brandy Von Holten, author of “Adventures at the Von Holten Ranch.” Tuesday, Sept. 10 at the Expo Center.
Explore Kansas Festival
This festival — first weekend of the State Fair — will feature the treasures and attractions found in Kansas communities. More than 40 Kansas communities will be represented from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 7-8 in Gottschalk Park. Other communities and Kansas products are in the Pride of Kansas Building to the west. The festival is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
Talking Tombstone Train Tour – Friday, Sept. 6.
Travel back to the early days of the Kansas State Fair on the Talking Tombstone Train Tour. This unique nighttime event is in partnership with Hutchinson’s Stage 9 and raises funds for the theater’s programming. Learn about four real people who were instrumental in building the Fair’s foundation while riding the KSF Railroad. Purchase tickets in advance at the Fair’s Ticket Office or call (620) 669-3618 to purchase tickets.
Outdoor Kansas Day – Sunday, Sept. 15
Discover Kansas trails, wildlife, fishing and more during Kansas Outdoor Day Sept 15. Among the Highlights: Learn about archery through the state’s Archery in the Schools Program. Also, Pheasants Forever will have its Daisy BB Gun Range. Plus, Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism will have displays all 10 days in two buildings. Among the attractions: a 3,200-gallon aquarium stocked with Kansas fish.
Bandaloni, the One-Man Band
Back by popular demand is the one and only Bandaloni. This one-man band performs with bass and rhythm guitar, harmonica, kick drum, two high-hats, snare drum, cowbell and tambourine. And, he can sing. The magic doesn’t end there as Bandaloni is also known for his great sense of humor, audience interaction and novelty guitar tricks. Find him performing daily throughout the Fairgrounds.
Jason D’Vaude (that’s Vaude as in Vaudeville) is a self-taught one-man circus. The Kansas City entertainer brings his comedic juggling, fire and clowning show to Fair audiences, delighting them with his charming humor and distinct but refined awkwardness. Watch him juggle sharp items, climb up precariously balanced objects, ride an extra tall unicycle and manipulate fire like a master. Look to the sky or spot the flames to find this roaming act on the grounds.
The Strong Man
The Kansas State Fair will have its own version of Superman. Strongman John Beatty can bend steel, flip over cars and pull one-ton pickups. Beatty can also turn a horseshoe into a heart, lift 10 kids in the air at once and drive a nail with his hand. Beatty has performed at world strongman competitions and muscled his way to the quarterfinals on Season 5 of America’s Got Talent. Find him at Grandstand Avenue/Fort Riley Boulevard intersection (by the Lair/Steckline Fountain).
Fearless Flores Family: Gottschalk Park: The Flores family will do death defying stunts at Gottschalk Park. Part of the action: Globe of Death motorcycle madness and acrobats on a sway pole from 50 feet in the air. The family’s feats landed them a spot on America’s Got Talent. The Fearless Flores Thrill Show is sponsored by Hutchinson Clinic.
Hours/Location: 1:30 and 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6; and 11 a.m., 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7-Sept. 15 at Gottschalk Park.
Draft and Miniature Horse Parade
This new parade will circle the grounds beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6.
There is a lot to do and see for the price of gate admission — including two free evening concerts with up-and-coming country acts. Mason Ramsey, the 12-year-old “Little Hank Williams,” will perform Tuesday, Sept. 10. Lindsay Ell, this year’s Country Music Association’s Newcomer of the Year nominee, will take the stage Thursday, Sept. 12, with special guest Madison Kozak. Both concerts are at Bretz and Young Injury Lawyers Arena and start at 7:30 p.m. Ell’s concert is sponsored by First Choice Communications, an authorized AT&T Retailer.
All Star Monster Truck Tour, Sunday, Sept. 15: Tickets from $5 to $35. Rev up your engines, the All Star Monster Truck Tour, featuring BIGFOOT, the king of monster trucks, will invade the Nex-Tech Wireless Grandstand. The VIP Monster Experience is $35, which includes gate admission, admission to the show, reserved seating, meet and greet with drivers and a ride in a monster truck. Purchase Tickets: Call 620-669-3618 or go to fair’s website, www.kansasstatefair.com. To have the $5 handling fee waived, visit the Fair’s ticket office in person at 2000 N. Poplar, Hutchinson.
There are lots of new foods — here are just a few for your taste buds.
Krispy Kreme Hot Dog
Just when you thought Carousel Cafe’s Krispy Kreme hamburger was quirky. Behold, the Krispy Kreme hot dog covered in bacon. A fresh jelly stuffed Krispy Kreme donut is used as the bun. It’s filled with an Angus beef hot dog topped with more jelly and finished off with thick Applewood smoked bacon.
Fresh beef patties from Yoder Meats are sandwiched between two warm Honey Buns, then topped with fresh veggies, often served with a slice of melted cheese. To top it off, you can add Applewood smoked bacon OR chocolate covered bacon, which serves as the perfect complement to this sweet and salty burger! Location: Carousel Cafe
Fried Cheesecake Bites
A new twist on cheesecake! Deep fried and bite sized. No mess, just deliciousness. Topped with powdered sugar and cherry drizzle. Located at Brackett Concession’s cookie dough stand, 303 Fort Riley Boulevard.
Pronto Pup Eating Contest
Here’s an excuse to eat all the Pronto Pups you physically can in 10 minutes. And we’re giving out awesome prizes! Our 2019 entries are full, but come watch the action. The contest takes place at noon, Sunday, Sept. 15 on the Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System Stage at Lake Talbott. Sponsored by D&J Pronto Pup.
Miniature butter sculptures
The butter sculpture in the Pride of Kansas Building is legendary. But this year, you can test your skill at butter sculpting. This first-ever contest takes place at 1 p.m. Sept. 7 in the Pride of Kansas Building. The fair will provide a pound of butter and a few plastic utensils. Participants can bring an additional item such as wire, tubing or special carving tools.
Live Scarecrow contest:
The Fair still has a traditional scarecrow contest, but this new competition involves teams building a scarecrow – dressed and stuffed to perfection – in “real-time.” The on-site competition is at 11 a.m. Sept. 14 in the Pride of Kansas Building.
Red, White and Brew
Brewers will be judged and critiqued by members of the Kansas craft beer industry and the Beer Judge Certification Program. The competition includes several beer styles: American Lager; American Pale Ale; American IPA; American Amber Ale; American Brown Ale; American Porter; American Stout; and American Wheat Beer. A best of show award will recognize the best overall beer in the state of Kansas. Find the winners in the Domestic Arts Building. Sponsored by Brew 56. 5 p.m. at Domestic Arts.
Governor’s Tea Cup:
Besides the traditional Governor’s Cookie Jar category, the Fair is now adding a Governor’s Tea Cup. Professionals are eligible to enter a hand-painted china teacup in this contest. The winner will present the cup to Gov. Laura Kelly during the Governor’s Award Ceremony. The teacup will be on display in the Oz Gallery Arts Building.
Barn Quilt Competition:
The Barn Quilt competition is bigger. Past years, the Fair has had a category for 2-foot-by-2-foot quilts. This year’s competition consists of larger sizes — 4-foot-by-4-foot and 8-foot-by-8-foot quilts that will be displayed around the fairgrounds. A map will allow fairgoers to view and judge each quilt. The overall winner will receive a $150 prize and his or her quilt will become the property of the Kansas State Fair to display, adding to the Fair’s permanent Barn Quilt Trail. Sponsored by Mennonite Friendship Communities.
OTHER CHANGES IN 2019
The Kansas State Fair unveiled its new sunflower blue ribbon brand in January. See the new signage around the grounds, plus stop by our new merchandise booth at Gate 9 to buy branded
Where to buy tickets: Only a handful of gates will be selling tickets this year. Purchase your tickets at Gate 1, Gate 3, Gate 4, Gate 5, Gate 7, Gate 8 and Gate 9. Signs will be posted at gates directing patrons to where they can purchase tickets.
DRIVE ONLY GATES Gate 2, Gate 6, Gate 10 and Gate 11 are drive-only gates. Those walking in will be directed to another gate for entry.
MILITARY DISCOUNT AND TICKET OUTLET
Show your military ID for $4 gate admission anytime! A new ticket outlet at McConnell Airforce Base is also selling gate admission and Nex-Tech Wireless Grandstand Concert Tickets.
Celebrating 25 years, the birthing center is one of the Fair’s top attractions. This one-of-a-kind agricultural education exhibit is the birthplace of calves, lambs, goats, chicks and piglets. Learn about the birthing process from Kansas State University veterinary students — plus gain insight about animal agriculture, food production, veterinary medicine and responsible pet ownership. Hours/Location: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 20th Avenue and Fort Scott Boulevard.
20th Grand Drive:
The State Fair has always been the drive of the state’s finest livestock since the first official Fair in 1913. And, since its first show in 2000, the Grand Drive has expanded on the opportunity to show the best. The annual show, which is going into its 20th year, has attracted thousands of purple-ribbon hopeful youth from all corners of Kansas — some who have even raised their animals since birth — for their biggest state competition yet. The event takes place the first weekend of the Fair.