The 100th State Fair Kicks Off Today

By: Jordan Shefte Email
By: Jordan Shefte Email

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Friday, September 7, 2012

The carnival, 4-H, and fried food all returns to Hutchinsonfor the Kansas State Fair today.

This year marks 100 years of the fairs' existence, while next year is its 100th birthday.

Over this past century, many changes have transpired.

"It's like coming home again," said Zags Popcorn vendor Frank Hockridge.

Rides are being assembled, vendors are stocking up. West Moreland has been a vendor at the fair for almost half of its' existence.

"I first came in 1973," Moreland said.

He says that the fair is much different today than it was 50 years ago.

"Seen a lot of changes, you know, it used to be all lumber and tents and all of that and now you see the $200,000 trailers and all that," Moreland said.

He'e not the only one who's noticed the transformation over time.

"Compared to what you see 40 years ago, a lot of them probably didn't have running water or hand washing sinks, which is now all in there, lot of them are modern, air conditioning," Hockridge said.

But not everything has changed.

"There are some things that we are doing today, as far as competitions, that are almost identical to what they were back then, and that tells you the tradition of the fair, has maintained itself and sustained through all these years," said fair general manager Denny Stoecklein.

Even the carnival rides have similarities to those that were giving thrills 100 years ago.

"Actually they did have double-spaced sky wheels, they had Himalaya type rides, there were similar type rides, carousels, tilt-a-whirls, so really, it's evolved, but pretty much it's the same standard as before," said North American Midway General Manager Pat Repp.

One-hundred years of providing laughs, fun, and fried foods.

"I hope they make it another 100 here, I probably won't be here, but I hope they make another 100," Hockridge said.

The fair opens at 11 a.m. Friday and it will run for 10 days, until Sept. 16.

For a fair schedule and more information
click here

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