One of the lures of the Oklahoma State Fair is the chance to haul a giant, stuffed animal away from a game booth.
It's evident from the sounds of rings clanking against glass bottles, balloons popping, spraying water guns, and baseballs banging against tin and the occasional glass bottle that go nonstop at State Fair Park's midway.
For self-professed “fair junkie” Glenn Ashmore, playing the carnival games is a state fair ritual he has been doing for more than 50 years.
“I grew up in this neighborhood just north of here (fair park), so when I was a kid, I would just walk to the fair back when you could come by yourself,” said Ashmore, 62, of Oklahoma City.
“I never miss.”
Spending about $500 at the fair since it opened Thursday and winning 15 toys Saturday, Ashmore wasn't done entertaining his three grandchildren who were with him and his wife Sunday afternoon.
While his wife watched, Ashmore won another stuffed animal at a skeeball booth.
The six toys, plush and inflatable, overflowed from his wife's arms.
“I've got this skeeball game down,” Ashmore said.
As his grandchildren tugged on his shorts, Ashmore reflected on what he thinks of the state fair now.
“The state fair is looking good and much improved, and I'm really excited,” he said.
Louis Leon, 42, of Lawton, said he has been going to the state fair every year for the past 13 years.
This year, he won his daughter, Desirae, 15, a giant red bear with white polka dots at the first game booth he tried.
“He's the one that plays all the games,” Desirae said, pointing to her father as he scanned the line of game booths.
Leon said winning at the games is more about luck and not so much skill.
Not all are so lucky to win an extra large stuffed animal, but for Kimberly Roberts, 18, and Nathan Frabott, 18, both of Las Vegas, it's about having a fun weekend together.
Frabott is a student at Oklahoma State University, and Roberts, Frabott's girlfriend of four years, said she planned her weekend trip around the first OSU home football game and the Oklahoma State Fair.
“It's been really fun. We won this thing (a small OSU plush glove) and it's actually a Cowboys, OSU thing, and it was at the first game (we tried),” Roberts said with a giggle. “It's been a really good weekend.”
The carnival area opens at noon Monday, 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closing times are at the discretion of carnival management, according to the Oklahoma State Fair's website.