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Louisville Public Media’s can’t-miss list for the Kentucky State Fair

Goats at the State Fair were ready to greet judges and attendees alike on opening day.
Breya Jones
Goats are a highlight of the Kentucky State Fair.

The Kentucky State Fair is here and there’s so much to do. Never fear. The staff at Louisville Public Media have you covered with their must-do fair activities.

All over the fairgrounds and expo center, there are things to see, smell, do and taste during the Kentucky State Fair.

It can be overwhelming to narrow down which activities and attractions to check out,so I asked Louisville Public Media staff for their recommendations.

One thing they highlighted is the spectacle of the agriculture and livestock on display.

LPM business and development reporter Jacob Munoz said he’s only been to the fair once, but the weighing of the giant produce impressed him.

Last year, he saw a 1,500-pound pumpkin win the grand prize. He was with LPM city politics and government reporter Roberto Roldan, who said he got to take home seeds from that pumpkin.

“I would highly recommend going to see what kinds of crazy things the farmers and people in this state are growing, and why they're doing it,” Munoz said.

Animals at the fair are also LPM favorites.

“Take a look at those farm animals. Get your eyes on some goats, some pigs, some big old rabbits,” said John Boyle, LPM’s news editor.

I’m partial to the goats myself — particularly the costume contest. The children who show the goats wear matching costumes. I’m expecting lots of Ken and Barbie-themed looks this year.

LPM staffers also suggested seeing the rooster crowing competition, herding dogs and baby chick incubator.

Of course, there’s also the baby duck slide. LPM employees agree you can’t miss seeing the cutest ducklings slipping down a tiny slide after they jump to get food.

Then there’s the food. Deep-fried Oreos. BBQ pork butt on a stick. Deep-fried Derby pie. Bourbon ball milkshakes. Deep-fried anything and everything.

“Every state fair has its own unique things,” said Gabrielle Jones, LPM’s vice president of content. “Here in Louisville … some of my favorite vendors that I know will be at the state fair: the lemonade lady, the Seafood Lady.”

Chefs at the fair get inventive, but some LPM employees prefer the classics.

“I like simplicity. And there's nothing better than a corn dog, a hot fresh corn dog dipped in a little bit of mustard,” said energy and environment reporter Ryan Van Velzer.

And once your stomach has settled, it’s time to take in the attractions.

LPM digital director Cara Hicks suggested stopping by the quilting competition.

“There are some really interesting quilts. And I like to see if they're hand-stitched or machine-stitched,” Hicks said.

There’s also the state fair concert series. Many LPM staff, even those who said they aren’t fans of the fair in general, mentioned it as a highlight.

And don’t forget the rides.

For those willing to brave the rides, here are some words of advice.

“I'm deeply anti-Ferris wheel,” said health reporter Morgan Watkins. “I went on the state fair’s Ferris wheel and had some issues up there emotionally. So don't go on that unless you're really sure you're going to enjoy that.”

If you’d rather stay on solid ground, podcasts and special projects Laura Ellis recommended taking in the lights of the midway at night.

Whether you’re a foodie, farm animal fan or a roller coaster aficionado, the state fair probably has something for you.

The Kentucky State Fair runs Aug. 17 through Aug. 27.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.