A Beginner’s Guide to a Great Time at The 2023 Kentucky State Fair
I had the time of my life on the opening day of the Kentucky State Fair yesterday. I had been to concerts (Heart and Journey!) and the awesome Carnival rides in previous years, but never the FULL experience. Well, as it turns out, my lovely co-host Chad Benefield, is basically a State Fair Expert. He was the PERFECT guide to show me all of the sights, sounds, and smells at the Exposition Center in Louisville. I want to share some of the highlights with you!
We started our journey in the West Hall and some delicious fudge from The Sweet Shoppe out of Hodgenville, KY before heading in to check out the award-winning produce and baked goods.
You can see the best of the best of all things agriculture from tobacco plants, to honey, to gigantic cabbages!
I LOVE the creative produce entries that were artistic interpretations of vegetables found in people's gardens. Like Tina Turnip!
And Squashquille O'Neal the basketball playing Butternut Squash had me rolling!
Check out the amazing Sunflower heads that were judged for the largest sunflower contest.
After "oohing" and "aahing" over the various impressive eggplants and watermelons, we headed to another favorite part of the day, the livestock exhibits and showroom. Earlier that morning before we left, Chad said "Oh, I should have warned you to wear closed-toed shoes in case you step in manure." But, you know what? I didn't have any close calls in my sandals, thank goodness. I was pleasantly surprised at how well everyone cleaned up after animal messes over there. Even Chad pitched in and scooped a fresh cow patty!
Kenzie Jaggers from Grayson County gave us the scoop (no pun intended) on what the judges are looking for in the heifers they show. Feminine form, size, balance, etc. These gals are pampered to the nines! Spa treatments, manicures, and another gal showing cows, Courtney, from Warren County shared some cow beauty secrets including the fanciest hairdryer I've ever seen and good ole Aussie hairspray!
Next up were rabbits, chickens, and goats, oh my! I have never seen so many different kinds of bunnies in my life! They were all SO CUTE. This one REALLY wanted to be my friend.
And this one really DID NOT. Doesn't it look like they have eyeliner on!? Emo Bunny, "It's not a phase, Mom!"
Our colleague and friend Heather who went with us is deathly terrified of birds. Thanks to sweet Chloe who is already an expert at raising chickens at a young age, she helped Heather conquer that fear with some exposure therapy. I would love to know what choice words Heather was thinking as we forced her to pet the chicken. Her name was Rachael, by the way. Here we are with Chloe, Rachael, and family. I loved seeing all of the kids and their supportive grown-ups learning how to care for animals. What a worthwhile and rewarding hobby. You go, Chloe!
Montana from Henderson was just slaying the competition in the goat arena. She was proudly wearing her new enormous belt buckle from winning first place as a showperson. That means she really knows her stuff!
Now we obviously were VERY excited about the food situation. The Kentucky State Fair is known for creative and let's be honest, artery-clogging epic food like donut burgers, corndogs, ice cream, and funnel cakes, but I was most excited about the fresh sweet corn on the cob. What I didn't know is that it comes in a cup with melted butter in it. That way you can dip the corn down in there or POUR the butter right onto the cob. Pictured on the table is a delicious pork burger and "Crazy Taters" from the Kentucky Pork Producers AKA my best friends. The Kentucky Proud tent is a great place to find all kinds of local yummy goodness. Chad put together a list of ten foods you should try while you're there!
With full and VERY happy bellies we made our way to see the beautiful quilts, baked goods, and other creative hand-crafted items displayed for judging. I loved seeing all of the Kentucky art and some of the projects were unreal! I am crazy about tiny things, and there was a whole miniatures exhibit where folks from all over made these teeny tiny landscapes and houses by hand! This little Hobbit hole house won first place. Look at those amazing details.
For the rest of the afternoon, we moseyed around the enormous AgLand visiting our friends from all over Western Kentucky and beyond. I loved learning about all of the events and festivals Kentucky has to offer. Muhlenberg County and Grayson County Tourism Commissions were well represented there!
And look who we ran into! Mallory Hudson, Miss Kentucky 2023 was supporting Kentucky agriculture and even made a guest appearance with our friend Jim Gilles from Hillview Farms on the Farm to Fair stage. There's no telling who you'll run into at the fair!
Of course, we had to go say "hello" to Freddie Farm Bureau. Did you know his mother-in-law is from Utica? So funny!
It was an amazing day celebrating Kentucky and all of the incredible farmers and people that make it great. I wish we could have stayed for the Texas Roadhouse Concert, but we had to get back for the show this morning. Did you know the shows are all free with your fair ticket? Here is the official lineup for this year so you can plan which day you want to go. Check out The Kentucky State Fair website for more information or to purchase your tickets ahead of time. What is your favorite thing about the Kentucky State Fair?