PHOENIX— From October 6th through the 29th, 2017, the Arizona State Fair celebrates 133 years of history. With new exhibits, must-see performances, record breaking fruits, new fried foods on the menu and more community involvement, Arizonans can join crowds of their friends and neighbors at this annual 18 day event.
Every great state fair happens because of the stories behind the scenes. Oct. 6 to Oct. 29, even more stories will be told.
Angel Morales heads out to the barn to feed his favorite steers and heifers an2017 Arizona Exposition and State Fair Begins Oct. 6ecalls showing pigs at the state fair in his youth. That experience “really opened my eyes to all the job opportunities there are,” he says.
Joanna Couch pours the goats’ milk mixture into the 9, 200th soap mold and hopes for the prize-winning recognition this product achieved in other years. Her soap making business began with an entry in the state fair.
Janette Barnard started showing animals, and winning prizes, at the state fair when she was 8 years old. Now an entrepreneur, she says, “The core skills I rely on in business of goal setting, grit, resilience, and building strong teams were cultivated while showing livestock at the Arizona State Fair.”
These are just a few of the players who will take to Arizona’s main stage for a show that began in Arizona Territory in 1884 where the best of what Arizonans have to offer goes on display. Students are practicing their tunes, costumes are being hemmed, local employees being recruited, animals are being groomed, art works are being framed and food is being cooked—soon to be shared with crowds of appreciative onlookers.
NEW THIS YEAR
Lights of the World Lantern Festival
Lights of the World Lantern Festival, the largest lantern light experience in North America makes a new home at the Arizona Exposition and State Fairgrounds. Fairgoers will experience a sneak preview of one of USA Today’s “Five Over the Top Light Displays Across the United States,” a production developed by the U.S. – China Cultural Education Foundation based in Chengdu, China.
Over 40,000 hours of work created thousands of handmade lantern creations that immerse guests into recreated landmarks from across the globe. “This major attraction furthers our vision to highlight culture and education,” says Wanell Costello, Executive Director of the Arizona Exposition & State Fair. “It extends the excitement of the fair through the holidays and into the new year.” Look for the display in the northeast section of the Backyard sponsored by American Furniture Warehouse.
The Magical World of Dragons, Wizards, and Beasts
Arizonans will feel some heat this fall when they come in contact with life sized, fire breathing dragons. The Dragons Den takes guests into the mythical world of dragons, where they can learn about the creatures through an interactive experience.
Step inside a castle that takes you to a realm of fantasy, imagination and experience. Visit dragon perches and engage with interactive exhibits filled with pop culture references. Listen to Merlogan, the tale-spinning wizard.
Concerts, Acrobats and Lobsters, Oh My!
In 2017, the Arizona State Fair offers an assortment of musical performances, including Grammy Award winners Rick Springfield, Halestrom, Gin Blossoms and Cafe Tacvba and Grammy nominees including Billy Currington, Marilyn Manson and Snoop Dogg. Gary Allan, CAKE, Jake Miller and Randy Houser are headline talents, along with DNCE, one of the hottest Top 40 bands out now.
Enjoy live outdoor music every night in the The Backyard featuring tribute bands crossing all genres, from boy bands to country, 80’s rock favorites and metal gods.
Also taking the stage this year are Chinese acrobats. China’s Leshan Chenglong acrobatic troupe is a world-famous, 45-member ensemble, all of whom have showcased their talents all over the world. Nearly six million people watched the breathtaking performances that won multiple international awards, including the prestigious Chinese Acrobatics Competition Award. Leshan Chenlong offers a mix of modern and classic Chinese acrobatics. Nine of their best performers are coming with the troupe to Arizona for the fair.
When you arrive at the fair, be hungry for something new! There are eight concession stands making a debut on or near the midway in 2017 and they’ll offer over 50 new menu items. Sample the fare at Baja Lobster then go Drink a Fruit from a Fruit. Try Sweet Cheeks’ Deep Fried Little Debbie Oatmeal Cookies, The Grill’s Flaming Hot Cheeto Dog, Sally’s Ice Cream’s Cotton Candy Burrito—maybe not all on the same day because there are several other foods of interest to be found at the fairgrounds.
Animals, Plants…and Pies
Thousands of blue ribbons will be given out to livestock this year as at least that number are competing to be named the best of the best in Arizona. There are eight different livestock competitions, and seven that are specific to youth who raise livestock for competition..
This year, two fruits will make history at the Arizona State Fair. The fair’s first ever pumpkin entry weighs in at 450 pounds, while a giant squash set a state record at 313.5 pounds.
It’s the pies, and jams that put the frosting on the cakes at the state fair, right? Other competitive handmade items as varied as quilts,cookies, furniture, wood and metal working.
Susan Krevitsky Law wishes everyone knew how easy it was to enter into the culinary competitions. She should know, because she’s been entering for the last 46 years. She fondly remembers her best year, right before college, when she won seven blue ribbons, two red, and a rosette. She laughs when she “had to explain what that meant,” when she put it on a bumper sticker and received many questions like “what the heck are blues, a red and a rosette.” She proudly remembers her first entry a the seasoned age of nine. Susan entered ginger snaps because her mother said, “not a lot of people enter those, you might have a decent chance.” She’s entered ginger snaps every year since and won many times so they’re now referred to as Susan’s Blue Ribbon Ginger Snaps.
COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY
Since Arizona was still just a territory, the Arizona State Fair and Exhibition has been connecting the community and giving organizations and citizens a voice and a chance to be seen and heard. This year several organizations will benefit from the organization’s long-standing commitment to community.
St. Mary’s Food Bank
For the seventh year in a row, the State Fair and St. Mary’s Food Bank bring We Care Wednesdays (Oct 11, 18 and 25 from noon to 6 p.m.). Guests who show up at any of the four entrances to the Arizona State Fair with three cans of food to donate will receive a voucher for free entrance to the Fair. Sponsored by Sanderson Ford and Operation Santa Claus, the drive is the most successful of only two food drives each year and helps the charity kick-start meals they provide to people during the holiday season.
One Community PRIDE Night happens on October 27th. Hosted by One Community and sponsored by iHeartMedia and Lyft, the celebration includes engaging the LGBT and allied community about the need for housing, employment and public accommodations available without judgment for LGBT people in Arizona. Those attending the fair that evening who sign the UNITY Pledge, the nation’s largest LGBT equality pledge, will receive free admission. Look for ONE Community volunteers near the admission gates. Additional activities include raffle prizes and giveaways, a meet-and-greet session with Phoenix Mercury stars as well as a conversation with LGBT leaders about equality. The Phoenix Mercury team is scheduled for a one-hour appearance at the Central Community Stage on the evening of October 27th.
Volunteers for the Annual Veteran Stand Down
In addition to exhibitors, entertainers and employees, there are many volunteers who work at the Arizona State Fair. United States military veterans (along with friends and family) will spend at least 900 volunteer hours at the fairgrounds in 2017.
As part of the partnership, the Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum hosts the three-day, two-night Maricopa County StandDown,January 25, 26 and 27, 2018.
This event targets homeless and at-risk veterans, and it is the nation’s largest outreach event to those who’ve provided military service—and now need service themselves. At the Stand Down, veterans are offered shelter, a bed, meals, clothing, shoes, hygiene products, a haircut, shower and restroom facilities as respite from poverty or life on the streets. Because homeless veterans whose basic needs are met are better able to access social service agencies for long-term care, over 70 such providers come to assist them at the Stand Down. These include a fully functioning court system, MVD, DES, the Phoenix VA, and Social Security.
In this way, barriers are addressed, “red tape” is cut, and veterans are offered hope as their needs are met with efficiency and compassion—all because of the amount of time volunteers spent at the Arizona State Fair and Exposition in 2017.
HOURS TICKETS AND SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Admission Gates Open Wednesday to Sunday
Wed: Noon – 9pm
Thur: Noon – 9pm
Fri: Noon -10pm
Sat: 11am – 10pm
Sun: 11am – 9pm
Midway, food stands and outside vendors open for approximately one hour after the admission gate closes. Actual closing time varies with attendance
$10 – Adult Tickets (ages 13-54)
$7 – Friends Over 55+
$7 – Kids (ages 6-12)
FREE – Kids (ages 5 and under)
Veterans Memorial Coliseum Concert Series
Reserved seats for the Coliseum Concert Series are available and general admission seating is FREE with paid Fair Admission.
Ride and Game Tickets
The number of tickets vary with promotion times.
Grandstand Series shows are FREE with paid fair admission.
Dragons Den Tickets, VIP and Fast Pass
Special rates available for Dragon’s Den, preferred parking, unlimited rides and more. Visit https://azstatefair.com/hours-ticket-info/ for details.