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Gut-busting food, rides, baboons join state fair

Associated Press Published: October 11, 2012

Shoptaw said there are about 7,000 animals entered in an array of blue-ribbon competitions with between 3,500 and 4,000 exhibitors. In the barns, patrons can find cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, rabbits, chickens and goats. There are also about 4,000 entries in the arts and crafts divisions.

Fair admission includes nightly entertainment that ranges from country performers to a Pink Floyd tribute band and classic rock acts. Daily admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children; ride coupons cost extra. Tickets for professional bull riding at Barton Coliseum on Oct. 19 and 20 start at $10.

The fair also has two museums, one devoted to the fair itself and one on rock 'n' roll music, which features memorabilia from acts from years past.

Shoptaw said state police and Little Rock police will provide security on the grounds, with Pulaski County Sheriff's deputies patrolling on horseback.

New this year, 34 Little Rock police officers will be on foot patrol in the neighborhoods around the fairgrounds, as residents have complained about car break-ins and other crime in the past.

Fair organizers had sought to move to new grounds, scoping out sites near Jacksonville and Cabot. But in June, they accepted a $3 million offer from Little Rock to keep the fair on about 100 acres in the central part of the city, where the fair has operated since the 1940s.

Under the new plan, the grounds could double in size and add parking in the years ahead.