The Arkansas State Fair kicks off Friday. Brian Chilson

The Arkansas State Fair kicks off Friday.

11 a.m. Arkansas State Fairgrounds. $4-$8.


Autumn is once again upon us, and as is custom since time immemorial, the Arkansas State Fair (Oct. 12-21) will awaken from its slumber to offer the people of this fine state one of the best entertainment bargains around.

There will be concerts on a nightly basis, free with regular fair admission. On Friday, the classic rock band America will perform, with guitarist Mike Shipp as opener. Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players will bring the funk to the masses on Saturday, while Think Floyd USA will recreate the Pink Floyd concert experience on Sunday. Joe Darr and The Vista Cruze Band take to the stage Monday, and Austin K. Jones and Dueling Pianos follow suit on Tuesday.


Other options include The Welde family and their cadre of bears (ranging in size from 200-1,200 pounds), who will perform feats and tricks while also reminding us all about the perils of lost wildlife habitat. The Show-Me Safari Pig Races will surely please young and old alike with the little porcine competitors vying for a treat at the finish line.

There’s a petting zoo and a monkey show. There will be all manner of pageantry, as well as animal judging, a pie contest, a wine competition (commercial and amateur divisions) and many other face-offs, such as a flower arranging contest, bake-offs of all types, a Spam championship and more. The full schedule is available here.


UPDATE: Also, the Diamond State Rodeo Association will be selling beer and accepting donations for the 2013 Rodeo In The Rock at the Budweiser tent outside of the Hall of Industry, beside the Main Stage. They’ll be there throughout the fair daily until 10:30 p.m.