Infectious country music, hard-hitting rock and Friday-night dance music will roll into Fort Smith next month.
Pat Green, All That Remains and Polos Urias y su Maquina Nortena will be among this year’s headlining entertainment for the 2014 Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair, which will be Sept. 19-27 at Kay Rodgers Park, 4400 Midland Blvd. Like last year, the all-ages concerts will be held inside the park’s Hugh Hardin Arena and will serve as a "festive," greatest hits-type atmosphere for all fair attendees, said Mike Looper, fair chairman.
"We’re excited to be presenting these concerts for the community," he said. "These concerts are free to the public, with paid gate admission, and they will be part of a great fair."
Polos Urias y su Maquina Nortena will kick-off the fair’s evening, main-stage entertainment at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 19, while All That Remains will play an assertive rock sound at 7 p.m. Sept. 20, Looper said. Green’s concert will begin at 8 p.m. Sept. 26 to round out the live-music schedule, he said.
"We think these concerts will be a great thing for people to see and hear," Looper said.
Also set to draw large crowds will be the 40/29 Youth Talent Contest Finals, formerly the Channel 5 Youth Talent Contest, at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at the park’s Choctaw Casino Stage, he said. The fair’s Hangin’ Judge Bull Riding Event will begin at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25, while the Rumble on the River Demolition Derby will kick into gear at 7 p.m. Sept. 27, both in Harper Stadium, Looper said.
Admission to the Talent Show Finals, the bull riding event and the demolition derby is free with paid gate admission. Gate admission to the fair is $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 3-11; children 2 and younger can attend free.
This year’s fair also will offer a plethora of free entertainment on the fair’s Independent Midway section, located between Harper Stadium and the Expo Hall, Looper said. Among the free activities and displays will be local and regional performers on the Choctaw Casino Stage. The performers will include Crooked and Steep, Ashley Hollis, TonyKing & Switch Track, Olivia Battles, Niki Waters, Alex Trusty, Savannah Boster, New Creation, Heavens 2 Betsy, Misty Womack, Doug McCutchen, Kenedy Holland, Bailey Sexton, Keli Pyle, Brittany Hollis, DC Basham & Jayson and Alexandra Salamone, among others.
"We’re happy to be offering such a variety of things for people," Looper said.
Fans of food and fast-moving rides will be in for a treat when the Mighty Thomas Carnival returns to the fair for its 36th consecutive year, he said. The carnival boasts such favored rides as the Thunderbolt, the Martian Maze, Frog Hopper, the Mini Jet, the Fun Slide and the Fun Zone Fun House, among others.
"For the Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair this year, we’re thinking that we’ll bring in between 110,000 and 130,000 people through the gates," Looper said. "We’re hoping for large crowds this year."
The fair’s economic impact will most likely equal or surpass last year’s numbers, he said.
"Last year, we had people crunch numbers to see what the economic impact was to our community," Looper said. "Last year, the fair had an impact of $4.3 million on the community. We’re talking about a nine-day event here, so that is huge."
Tickets for the concerts and other events can be purchased at www.arkansasoklahomafair.com. All advance tickets purchased after Sept. 12 will be available for pick up at Will Call only; all advance will call tickets must be picked up by 1 p.m. daily during the week of the fair or the purchaser will be required to purchase a gate admission to pick up the tickets.
"We’re going to put as many great things as we possibly can inside Kay Rodgers Park for the state fair," Looper said. "We’re doing this to give people the fair they deserve. We’re hoping this fair is a big, big deal again this year."