Greater Baton Rouge State Fair is back at it again

[BATON ROUGE] The Greater Baton Rouge State Fair is back in town! Fair Foundation hosts its annual fair October 26 to November 5 on 16072 Airline Hwy. According to GBRSF official page, it started in 1965. The fairgrounds are 100-acres and were purchased in 1972.

“I’ve been a part of the state fair for 40 years,” Fred Burkett, coordinator of special events, said. “In fact, I helped cleaned all of the property when we bought it.”

Fair goers enjoying one of the fair rides. Photo credits belong to Vicki Barton.

Burkett attends a Las Vegas trade show each year to find a different event. “We try to get something different every year. We used to have lawn mower races then we had tractor pulls,” he said.

The fair this year will feature drone and robot racing, a Lego building competition, and the Paul Bunyan Lumber Jack Show. The lumber jack show is the biggest feature to come to the fair this year.

“We have not had anything like this since 1980 in south Louisiana,” Cliff Barton, chairman of GBRSF, said. “They will do underhand chopping, axe throwing, and log rolling.”

The Lego building competition will reportedly bring in children from Texas. It was a huge success last year.

The fair is put together by a volunteer board. “Our fair is an all-volunteer fair so we have a base of people who work every year and volunteer their time.”

The fairgrounds a week before the fair.

If a vacancy occurs on the volunteer board, someone who works in the same portfolio will take their place from the volunteer pool. Barton’s job is to coordinate the members on the board and help them communicate.

“I work with all the different portfolios to make sure that everything is done right. I make sure that each portfolio interacts with each other and keep our lines of communication open so that everyone knows what they are doing,” Barton said.

Barton also promotes the fair by doing a radio and television run. He says the hardest thing about the fair is working his job and finding the ability to balance his job as well as running the fair.

The fair takes months to plan. “We start planning in February and we work on it all year,” Barton said.

The Fair Foundation board also has a meeting two weeks after the fair ends to discuss the successes and failures of the fair.

The fairgrounds from last year. Picture credits belong to Vicki Barton.

The fair has many attractions but one of the biggest is the food. La Toya Sampson attends the fair every year as a family tradition. “My favorite thing about the state fair is the variety of food,” she said.

Tierra Jones attends the fair every year as well since she was eight. She says her favorite thing about the fair is the food too. She tries something different every year that she goes.

“My favorite thing is everything,” Barton said. “When the fair lights come on and the people come in and the rides are running and you hear the sounds and smell of the fair food and you hear the sounds of laughter and the music is playing on the stage. It’s just something magical about it. It makes you feel like a kid again.”

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