The Kentucky State Fair is upon us once again. The best 11-day fest will pack the Expo Center full as ever with live music, food, rides, farm animals and more.
Below, here’s our guide to all the general info you need to check out this year’s fair.
How much are tickets and where do I get them?
General admission tickets are $10 per person, and you can get them at this link. (Children 5 and under get in free.)
Buying an advance ticket also gets you free parking. Otherwise, it’s $10 per car at the gate.
That said: the World’s Championship Horse Show requires its own admission ($11), which you can purchase via the link.
The “Thrille Ville” midway rides cost money, but you can buy a one-day unlimited ride wristband for $30 at this link until tomorrow at 11:59 p.m. or $50 for the VIP option. The regular unlimited wristbands cost $35 at the fair.
Where do I park?
There’ll be plenty of parking on-site at KEC. The whole venue is basically a gigantic parking lot with some buildings in the middle.
What are the hours?
They vary per day, but you can see the full calendar here. Expect 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. The “Thrill Ville” rides have different hours.
Can kids be dropped off on their own?
Anyone under 18 who enters after 6 p.m. has to be accompanied by an ID-carrying adult who is 21 or older.
When is Noah Thompson gonna be there?
Noah Thompson, Kentucky’s first American Idol winner, will be opening for John Michael Montgomery and Walker Montgomery on Aug. 24 at 8 p.m.
Who else is performing and when?
Here’s the full schedule for the Texas Roadhouse Concert Series, which is located in Parking Lot L, near Kentucky Kingdom. Admission to all of these shows is included with a ticket to the fair.
- August 18 at 8 p.m. — Russell Dickerson with special guest Tyler Booth
- August 19 at 8 p.m. — Con Funk Shun with special guest Midnight Star
- August 20 at 8 p.m. — Black Stone Cherry with special guest Ayron Jones
- August 21 at 8 p.m. — Oak Ridge Boys with special guest Lorrie Morgan
- August 22 at 8 p.m. — We The Kingdom with special guest Ann Wilson
- August 23 at 8 p.m. — Happy Together Tour
- August 24 at 8 p.m. — John Michael Montgomery and Walker Montgomery with special guest Noah Thompson
- August 25 at 8 p.m. — Night Ranger with special guest Noah Guthrie
- August 26 at 8 p.m. — Trace Adkins with special guest Brassfield
- August 27 at 8 p.m. — Niko Moon with special guest Alex Miller
- August 28 at 4 p.m. — Lee Greenwood with special guest Darryl Worley
Gates open for each show at 6:30 p.m., except for Sunday, Aug. 28, when the gates will open at 2:30 p.m.
What is there to do besides ride the rides and see those shows?
- Enjoy classic State Fair food like funnel cakes
- Learn about Kentucky counties’ history and local culture
- See FFA and 4-H students exhibit their work
- See more live music in the Budweiser Entertainment Tent
- Learn about Kentucky’s “education, government, the environment and the arts”
- See some livestock — sheep, goats, rabbits, mules, pigs, cattle, and more (here’s the full schedule)
- See prize-winning livestock in The Championship Drive
- Watch Kentucky chefs do cooking demonstrations at the Farm to Fair Cooking Stage
- Check out larger-than-life pumpkins and watermelons
- Watch the World’s Championship Horse Show
- Watch Border Collies demonstrate their herding skills
- Watch the as-seen-on-America’s-Got-Talent Porkchop Revue, where trained pigs perform “stunts and laughable antics”
- See a one-man circus show
- Watch a “musical comedian”
- Watch a family R&B/pop/hip-hop a capella group
- Watch a pirate-themed high wire show
- Get free coffee
- Watch talented young singers from across the state compete
- Watch the Little Miss and Mister pageant
- Check out an educational exhibit about 9/11
- Meet firefighters and learn about fire safety
- Play bingo
- Donate blood
- Look at medical displays
- Get free samples of medical products (not what it sounds like)
- Get free health screenings
- Play a “Trivia Tractor” game show
- See touring “RoboCars”
- And more!
That’s a lot! Where can I find a schedule and a map for all of those things?
Here’s a map, and here are the schedules for each day of the fair:
- Thursday, August 18
- Friday, August 19
- Saturday, August 20
- Sunday, August 21
- Monday, August 22
- Tuesday, August 23
- Wednesday, August 24
- Thursday, August 25
- Friday, August 26
- Saturday, August 27
- Sunday, August 28
What will the weather be like?
According to AccuWeather’s forecast for the month as of this writing, most days will have a high of 85º and a low in the high 60s or low 70s. The general forecast is mostly sunny.
I have a disability or other access need(s) — what do I need to know?
The State Fair website says, “All restrooms are wheelchair accessible and all buildings can be accessed by ramps. Elevators are located in the lobby of Broadbent Arena and in the east and west concourses of Freedom Hall. For accessible seating at a concert or the World’s Championship Horse Show, call (502) 367-5144 or 1-800-231-8085.”
If you’d like to rent a scooter, contact Scooter Time Rentals at 423-569-1933 to make a reservation or 423-569-1934 for on-site assistance during the fair.
(Note: there’ll be a sensory-friendly morning from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, August 24, but the Fair says that all tickets for the session have already been distributed due to demand.)
Any other general tips?
Wear plenty of sunscreen. Bring a refillable water bottle. Refill it often. Consider bringing a hat. Use the bathroom before you leave home. Make sure your phone is charged. Share a ride if you can. Prepare to spend money. Wear comfortable shoes. Don’t drink and drive.