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Our State Fair is a great one 

click to enlarge BIG WHEELS: Find them at the fair.
  • BIG WHEELS: Find them at the fair.
Free concerts, food, livestock displays, professional rodeo, a Monster Truck event, the huge midway and more are rolled into 10 days of the Arkansas State Fair, which opens Friday, Oct. 7. Classic rockers Grand Funk Railroad will perform at 8 p.m. Friday in the first of a series of free outdoor shows, which require only an admission to the fair. Country performer Billy Currington is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8, and Urban Mystic headlines a hip-hop and R&B show from 5-10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9. Next week, the shows are Matthew West and Shawn McDonald on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m.; LoCash Cowboys at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13; New Orleans modern rockers Better Than Ezra at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14; and the Ultimate Tribute to Elvis at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15. There is more free music and entertainment on other stages throughout the fair. The Demolition Derby Super Series is Friday, Oct. 7, starting at 7:30 p.m. and the Monster Truck Racing Super Series is Saturday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. The $18 adult admission ($8 for children) gets you through the fair gates for free. The State Fair Rodeo runs Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 13-15. Celebrities will kick off the rodeo on Thursday with a cow chip toss. Degeller Attractions of Stuart, Fla., again brings the midway to the fair with new additions to the carnival rides: Silver Streak, Avalanche, Zero Gravity, Starship Exodus, Scorpion and the Skyscraper. Also, more than 40 food vendors will be set up throughout the complex. Hours for all areas are noon to 11 p.m. daily. Regular daily admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children and seniors age 60 and over. Children under 6 are admitted free. Fairgrounds parking is $5. Various packages for families and groups are available. Harvest Foods is offering 50-cent gate admission tickets for opening day. Opening day and the finale, Oct. 16, are “Ride-O-Rama” days with $19 wristbands for unlimited carnival rides noon to 11 p.m. Other sponsored $19 ride days will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, and noon to 11 p.m. Sunday. Sunday is also “Fiesta at the Fair” with live Spanish/Latino music from noon to 4 p.m. Kiddie days in Family Land are 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, Oct. 10-14, while Monday’s sponsored “Dollar Day” means gate admission, parking and rides are only $1. Two media outlets will sponsor free admission from 6 p.m. to 7:38 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Also, some of the nation’s top competitive eaters will gather at the fair at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, for an official stop on the GoldenPalace.com® World Grilled Cheese-Eating Championship circuit. Eaters will vie for $1,750 in prizes. An additional $20,000 is up for grabs for the eaters competing in GoldenPalace.com’s 15-contest circuit. The current world record belongs to Tim Janus, the No. 7-ranked eater in the world, who consumed 31 grilled cheese sandwiches in 10 minutes at the Nebraska State Fair qualifier. For more information, see the fair’s website at www.ArkansasStateFair.com or call 372-8341.
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