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    The Kentucky State Fair officially began yesterday. It runs August 20-30, daily from 9am-9pm. Each night the midway, rides, and tents are open later. See this bulleted list for tips, ideas, and insider information about heading to the Kentucky State Fair with children of all ages.

    General Information

    Sign up to become a "Friend of the Fair" on the state fair website. Here you'll have access to inside tips, giveaways, coupons and more. Check out the live Twitter feed as well for quick tips about parking, directions, a schedule and a fair map.

    Head to the official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages of the Kentucky State Fair. They update daily and may be able to answer questions from fair-goers as well. Share your photos and your good times here (use hashtag #kystatefair)!

    Tickets/Admission Cost at the Gate

    Adults: $10
    Child (ages 6-12): $6
    Senior (55+): $6
    Children ages 5 and under are admitted free
    During the span of the fair, any passenger riding TARC buses will be admitted for $5 to the fair. The TARC route to the Expo Center is at the stop at Fifth and Market Streets downtown. It will run every 60-70 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., with the last bus leaving the fairgrounds at 11:58 p.m.

    On August 20 and August 27, the Kentucky State Fair is bringing back Carload Days. For $20 per carload, any and all in your car enter for $20, and that includes the parking fee! This deal is only available at the gate and goes until 5 p.m. that day. Load up your vehicle and enjoy it! For the Midway rides, the fair sells an all day/one day wristband for $12 for children ages 12 and under. You can purchase the wristband at the gate or in advance. Adults can purchase a wristband for $25.

    If you want to check out Kentucky Kingdom while you're visiting the fair, be sure to stop at local area Kroger stores and buy a discounted ticket to Kentucky Kingdom. They are $9.95. If you wait and purchase a ticket at the gate, it is $19.95. Have double the fun!


    Gates open at 7am; exhibits open at 9am. The Midway rides open at 12 p.m. during the weekends and 2 p.m. during the week. Midway and tents close at midnight; the exhibit halls close at 9pm Sunday-Thursday and 10pm Friday and Saturday. Some areas do close early on the last day of the fair, Sunday, August 30.


    Available onsite at the Kentucky Expo Center; cost is $8
    Free parking is available at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on the weekends August 21-23 and August 28-30. Tram service will be provided from the stadium to the fairgrounds.

    Daily Schedule

    On the website, there is a link to each daily schedule. It’s recommended that you download each one depending on which day you plan to attend. It outlines exactly what is happening each day; they are also available for pick up at any yellow information booth located throughout the fair. Here are the links for each day of this weekend:
    Friday, August 21 
    Saturday, August 22
    Sunday, August 23
    This Saturday, August 22 is University of Kentucky Day at the Fair to celebrate the university's 150th anniversary. So dress in your UK Blue!

    Looking ahead to next week:
    Sunday, August 23 is Military Sunday
    Tuesday, August 25 is Senior Day

    Kids Entertainment and Special Areas

    These areas will be especially interesting to families and those with younger children. Be sure to catch the Miracle Dancers show on both Saturdays of the fair, August 22 and August 29.

    Kentucky Pioneer Homestead
    War Commemorations
    Main Street KY
    Pride of the Counties
    Gourmet Garden
    Heritage Hall
    Balloon Masters
    Discovery Farm
    Freddy Farm Bureau
    Children’s Coloring Mural
    Giant Corn Maze
    Miller's Border Collies
    Chinese Acrobats of Hebei
    Jump! Ultimate Dog Show
    Spin Master Mobile Tour-August 22-23 only; see lovable characters from Paw Patrol, Little Charmers and Chubby Puppies
    Matt's Family Jam
    Kidz Biz
    World Championship Horse Show-fair goers can watch the show free at 9 a.m. August 24 through August 29. Seats are available in the upper sections of Freedom Hall.

    Of course, the highlight of the state fair for my family is getting to see all of the animals on display. Head there this weekend to get up close and personal with them!

    See this fact sheet for more tips from the website. On the Kentucky State Fair Facebook page they have also been listing a Tip of the Day, so be sure to check that out. Have fun heading out to the 11 day celebration of history, heritage, and culture highlighting our great Bluegrass state.

    Photos within article courtesy of Erin Nevitt. Cover photo courtesy of the Kentucky State Fair

    Erin Nevitt's picture

    About Erin Nevitt

    Longtime Louisvillian, I am a children's librarian at heart and have a passion for children's lit. I am most recently a stay-at-home mom who is always on the move, searching for family fun in Louisville. If it's free, it's preferable!

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