The annual Central Texas State Fair is all set to provide another round of carnival rides, professional bull riding and Texas music concerts.
The fair will take place Thursday through Sunday at the Bell County Expo Center, 301 W. Loop 121 in Belton.
The fair will kick-off Thursday with a carnival and performance from Dirty River Boys on the fairgrounds. The carnival is provided by Pride of Texas Amusements and will offer a variety of rides, games and other attractions. Keith Smith, fair manager, said they will offer free gate admission and $1 carnival rides on Thursday.
“We’ll have our vendors open that day,” he said. “We’ve got over 60 vendors, so if you’re a shopper come on out. This’ll be the place to go.”
This year’s fair will also see the return of the Twisted Metal Mayhem Demolition Derby 7 p.m. Friday in the Garth Arena.
Pat Wilson, derby promoter, said this year’s event will have more than 50 cars, and will be the largest indoor demolition derby in the state of Texas. Wilson said the derby will feature drivers from all over Texas, as well as Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and one from Washington.
This year, the demo derby will introduce a new class for minivans. With that, Wilson said there will be three female drivers. It will be the first time for female drivers to participate in a Twisted Metal Mayhem derby.
There will also be a Power Wheels derby for kids ages 5-9 years old. Wilson said the Power Wheels will have balloons attached to the side. Once a vehicles’ balloons are popped, the driver is done.
“It’s the only place in Bell County on I-35 that you can crash cars and be legal,” Smith joked. “So you can come watch that, and then see 38 Special.”
Southern rock group 38 Special will perform on the fairgrounds after the derby. The carnival will also be open from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday.
The livestock show will take place Saturday morning in the Exposition Building.
“We’ll have kids all across from the state of Texas coming to our facility,” Smith said.
Whitney Grantham, county extension agent, said the barns will open noon Friday to exhibitors for the lamb, goat, heifer and steer show Saturday morning.
“We’ll have lots of volunteers helping out and lots of kids from across the state, so we invite you to come watch these exhibitors on Saturday morning, and we’ll go right until after lunch on Saturday afternoon,” she said. “So we hope to see you there.”
Smith said one fair attraction that continues to improve every year is the Professional Bull Riders Touring Pro.
“We’ve got some of the best bulls and some of the best bull riders in the world,” he said.
PBR will take place 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Garth Arena, followed by performances from Kevin Fowler on Saturday and Casey Donahew on Sunday on the fairgrounds. The carnival will be open from noon to midnight both days.
Tim Stephens, executive director of the Expo Center, said the fair is a great event at a great value, with free parking and tickets that include admission to multiple events each night.
Fairground admission costs $10. Active duty military with ID and children 12 and younger will receive free admission. Carnival ride wristbands are available for $30. Concerts are free with regular fair admission, demolition derby or PBR tickets.
Other entertainment during the fair will include the Mark Riggs and the Troupe trill show, comedy hypnotist Erick Kand, and Lone Star Action Sports.
Tickets for fair attractions can be purchased in advance from CentralTexasStateFair.com or by calling 512-474-5664.