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Gut-busting food, rides, baboons join state fair

Associated Press Published: October 11, 2012

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Fried Kool-Aid on a stick, livestock shows, carnival games and a troupe of performing baboons await patrons of the Arkansas State Fair, organizers said of the annual event, which opens Friday.

For the first time in more than a decade, the Little Rock fairgrounds will feature a roller coaster among its spinning and twisting rides — sure to be a challenge to keep all that fair food from reappearing. Who would want to lose a roast beef sundae?

Fair director Ralph Shoptaw said one culinary innovation offered this year is Oreos, funnel cakes and Kool-Aid, all deep-fried and on a stick.

But fear not, unadventurous eaters: "We have the traditional stuff too — corn dogs and pineapple whip ice cream," Shoptaw said.

More than 400,000 people are expected to attend the fair during its run through Oct. 21. The fair opens daily at 11 a.m.

Jim Youker of Raleigh, N.C., will sell quart tumblers of regular and flavored lemonade, including bacon, a recipe he said took a while to perfect.

Youker said he tried infusing simple syrup with his own bacon flavoring but the quality was inconsistent. Youker somehow found a commercial supplier of the flavoring, and the drink was born.

"You only need half a squirt," he said as he offered samples during a fair preview. The smoky flavor lingers, but refills for those with a taste for it are $4, a dollar cheaper than the first quart.

Food and fast-moving rides aren't the only attractions. The baboon act, Wild About Monkeys, will have three shows daily, alternating with pig races and Welde's Big Bear Show, which features performing grizzly bears.

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