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Oklahoma State Fair officials gear up for Thursday launch in Oklahoma City

Executives of the Oklahoma State Fair look back at changes that have been made in the last decade or so. The fair starts Thursday and continues through Sept. 23 in Oklahoma City.
by Bryan Painter Modified: September 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm •  Published: September 13, 2012
/articleid/3709215/1/pictures/1829210">Photo - boldA carnival worker sets up prizes Wednesday afternoon at State Fair Park.  Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
boldA carnival worker sets up prizes Wednesday afternoon at State Fair Park. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

“And, the same thing is true out on the Chesapeake Energy Stage. It's a safe, first-class outdoor stage.”

This is the ninth Oklahoma State Fair for O'Toole, president and CEO of Oklahoma State Fair Inc. He remembers the first one well.

“I came on in January 2004 and the board had made the decision prior to that to reduce the fair from 17 days to 11 days,” O'Toole said. “That was a learning curve for all of us.

“And we were cautiously optimistic about how the public would receive it. It's continued to grow every year and has been well-received by the public.”

Reaction is something O'Toole eagerly awaits each year.

This year, he awaits the response to Barn 4. In all, the $90 million projects include quality arenas, stalls and meeting areas, he said. Fair Park is home not only to the Oklahoma State Fair, but many state, regional, national and international equestrian shows.

“Barn 4 is the completion of our original barn and equine projects that we embarked on in 2005,” he said. “It's just part of the continuing upgrades that we've done to all of our equine and livestock facilities.

“So I'm always pleased when people get the chance to see that and experience it. We want them to see the quality of it all.”

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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