117th Kentucky State Fair Celebrated the Commonwealth’s Perseverance
Published on: August 30, 2021
The 117th Kentucky State Fair celebrated a successful year of bringing together Kentuckians, with all 120 counties represented, to enjoy 11-days of concerts, agriculture, animals, education and more.
“After a year where we were limited to a youth livestock event, we welcomed the opportunity to host a full Kentucky State Fair experience. Each year our festival highlights the best the bluegrass state has to offer and this year was no different. Even with smaller crowds, all 120 Kentucky counties were represented, proving the Kentucky State Fair is truly where Kentucky comes together,” said David S. Beck, President and CEO of Kentucky Venues.
General entries were welcomed back at the Fair this year. There were 13,485 general entries, with categories ranging culinary to crafts and more. Livestock competitors filled the West Wing, Hall and Pavillion with 7,389 entries. FFA and 4-H participants contributed 6,828 entries which were displayed in the South Wing. In total, there were more than 27,000 entries at this year’s Fair.
Championship Drive Presented by Farm Credit Mid-America
The 4th annual Championship Drive presented by Farm Credit Mid-America at the Kentucky State Fair awarded $125,000 to youth livestock exhibitors from across Kentucky. Champions received 60 percent of the purchase price, 30 percent was distributed to respective class winners, and 10 percent was divided equally among Kentucky 4-H and FFA.
Sensory Friendly Morning Presented by Kentucky State Fair and Kissel Entertainment
More than 1,000 complimentary Fair admission and midway wristbands were distributed to fairgoers with sensory processing differences through partnerships with FEAT(Families for Effective Autism Treatment) of Louisville of Louisville, the Kentucky Autism Training Center and Home of the Innocents.
Eleven days of music and more than 45 bands were all included with Fair admission. The Texas Roadhouse Concert Series was the highlight for many guests as 29 bands performed including 7 Kentucky artists. A variety of musical genres were represented including country, oldies, rock, and Christian.
The Kentucky State Fair is more than just a celebration, it’s the largest classroom in Kentucky with more than 300,000 square feet of dedicated exhibit space. From the educational exhibits in AgLand and Discovery Farm to the informative displays in Pride of the Counties and Kentucky Remembers WWII exhibit, fairgoers from around the Commonwealth learned about their state and its progress.
118th World’s Championship Horse Show
Held in conjunction with the Kentucky State Fair, the World’s Championship Horse Show is recognized as the most prestigious Saddlebred show in the world. Two thousand horses competed for Grand Champion titles and more than $1 million in awards culminating in “Bourbon Select” owned by Julia Tiller of Macon, GA and trained by rider Robert Gardiner of Harrodsburg, KY being crowned the 2021 Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion.
Record Breaking Year
For two popular events, 2021 was a record breaking year at the Kentucky State Fair. The largest pumpkin contest record was smashed with Dwight Slone’s massive 1,663 pound pumpkin on the opening Saturday of the Fair. On Thursday, August 26 another record fell at the 57th Kentucky Country Ham Breakfast Charity Auction when the Grand Champion Ham was auctioned off for $4.8 million to Central Bank and Kelly and Joe Craft.
Health Horizons Helps Kentuckians
For many Kentuckians, the Fair offers a unique opportunity to receive free health education and screenings. From COVID-19 vaccinations to cancer screenings, many fairgoers took advantage of the free healthcare services that take place each year at Health Horizons.
Plans are underway for the 2022 Kentucky State Fair with a focus on the continual enhancement to exhibits, entertainment, food and overall experiences during the eleven-day tradition. The 118th Kentucky State Fair will take place August 18-28, 2022.]
The Kentucky State Fair attendance exceeded expectations despite the pandemic as the Fair welcomed 441,327 fairgoers throughout the 11-day festival. Like other fairs around the country that are similar in size, this was a vast improvement in attendance from 2020 but a drop when compared to the 2019 Fair. Other successes, including representatives from each of Kentucky’s 120 counties present and more food vendors, made for a successful event. The Kentucky State Fair was the longest-running and largest event in Kentucky since early-2019.
Updated: 9/1/2021 to correct the date and name of the 57th Kentucky Country Ham Breakfast Charity Auction.
Updated: 10/17/21 to include a statement on attendance.