HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Summer is wrapping up, which means the Kansas State Fair is back at the fairgrounds in Hutchinson. Once again, this year’s theme is “Celebrating all things Kansas.”
The 109th annual Kansas State Fair runs from Sept. 9-18.
Gates are open on the first day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Then from Sept. 10-17, fairground gates are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. On the final day of the fair, Sept. 18, gates are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Events, concerts and exhibits all have various times. Most buildings, for example, don’t open until 9 a.m., and the carnival midway opens at different times depending on the day.
But if you’re planning to travel to Hutchinson for the state fair, there’s a lot more to know so that you’re prepared. Here’s a full guide for fair-goers:
New this year
Concert-goers will be happy to know, new this year, anyone who purchases a grandstand concert ticket gets free gate admission for the day of the event. You can even purchase your grandstand ticket the day of the event and still get free admission.
Additionally, state fair guests will be able to walk around the fairgrounds with alcoholic beverages, whether it’s at the attractions, in the food court, or at entertainment events. Alcoholic beverages must be in a clear plastic cup and remain on the fairgrounds.
Fair organizers have made big upgrades at the Expo Center and Lake Talbott Stage. The Kansas State Fair has also added new LED screens around the fairgrounds that will highlight special events, attractions and entertainment.
If you buy tickets before the Kansas State Fair starts, you can save. Before Friday, gate admission for adults (age 13 and older) is $7 and kids age 6-12, seniors 60 and over, and military with ID are all just $4.
Once the fair starts, gate admission goes up to $10 for adults, $6 for kids ages 6-12 and seniors 60 and older, and $4 for military with ID. Kids 5 and younger are free.
New this year, anyone who purchases a grandstand concert ticket gets free gate admission for the day of the event included. You can even purchase your grandstand ticket the day of the event and still get free admission. See the grandstand lineup below.
You can buy tickets online, at the ticket office, at fair gates or by calling 620-669-3618. Dillons stores across Kansas are selling gate admission tickets and midway ride sheet vouchers, too.
Looking for a great ticket deal? Grab a State Fair season pass for $50. It includes 10 gate admissions on a card that can be used once per day, all at once or any other increment.
Every day, gate admission is $5 after 9 p.m., and on Sept. 13, admission is just $4 after 4 p.m.
Sept. 12 is Dillons Dollar Day. Gate admission is just $1 or guests can get into the fair for free with a Dillons Plus Card (that’s one person per card).
On Sept. 15, the state fair and Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services are celebrating seniors. Gate admission is only $2 for those 55 and older.
Then on Sept. 16, celebrate Red Friday with the Kansas Lottery. Gate admission is $2 for PlayOn members who show their app at the gate.
If you’re looking for deals beyond the gates, Sept. 13 is “Tasty Tuesday.” Participating vendors are offering $2 concessions. Then on Sept. 14, it’s “Shop ‘Til You Drop” where fair guests can get great deals at vendors.
How to get there
The Kansas State Fairgrounds is located at 2000 N. Poplar St. in Hutchinson.
If you’re coming from the Kansas City area, you’ll be driving southwest for about 3 hours. You’ll want to take Interstate 35 south to Emporia and then Highway 50 to Newton and on to Hutchinson.
Parking and camping
There are several free public parking lots — A through C — to the north and east of the fairgrounds. All of them are near entry gates. There are also shuttles that will take you to a few of the gates.
Lot C (free) is also near the midway and grandstand, so perfect if you’re attending concerts or want to hit the carnival rides.
Several other parking lots on the fairgrounds require permits. Many nearby businesses will also offer parking for a small fee.
There’s ADA accessible, paved parking near Gate 5, south of State Fair Road; Gate 8 on the corner of 23rd Avenue and Plum Street; and Gate 9 on the corner or E. 20th Avenue and Plum Street.
Want to stay a little longer? The Kansas State Fair’s RV Park has over 200 full-service sites. Guests can get 12 nights of camping plus gate admission for two.
The fairgrounds also offer nightly limited RV sites that have electric and water hookups and include gate admission for two.
Public parking lots A, B & C offer $10 per night camping sites. Campers and tents are allowed only in these areas. No services will be provided other than trash cans.
Grandstand concerts, events
From country to rap and more, there will be a little bit of everything at the Kansas State Fair’s grandstand.
Comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias will bring the laughs to Hutchinson on Sunday, Sept. 11. He’s one of the most-watched comedians on YouTube.
Kansas City natives Tech N9ne and Blane Howard will take the stage on Friday, Sept. 16. Chiefs mascot KC Wolf and the Kansas City Chiefs drumline “Rumble” will also appear during what officials call the “Kansas City Chiefs Red Friday Rally.”
Both artists share a love for the Kansas City Chiefs, with Tech N9ne’s song “Red Kingdom” and Howard’s “Run It Back.”
To wrap it all up, dirt track racing is back at the Kansas State Fair after nearly two decades. Watch racers fly around the oval on Sunday, Sept. 18.
Here’s the full Nex-Tech Wireless Grandstand lineup:
- Friday, Sept. 9 — Rock the Fair: Battle of the Bands Finals, 5 p.m., $20 general admission
- Saturday, Sept. 10 — Parker McCollum with Priscilla Block, 7:30 p.m., $30 general admission/$60 reserved seating/$70 party pit
- Sunday, Sept. 11 — Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, 7:30 p.m., $30 general admission/$60 reserved seating/$70 floor seating
- Monday, Sept. 12 — Demolition Derby, 7:30 p.m., $10 general admission/free kids 12 and under
- Tuesday, Sept. 13 — Eddie Montgomery (of Montgomery Gentry), 7:30 p.m., $30 general admission, reserved seating/$40 party pit
- Wednesday, Sept. 14 — TobyMac, 7:30 p.m., $30 general admission, $60 reserved seating, $70 party pit
- Thursday, Sept. 15 — Great White and Quiet Riot, 7:30 p.m., $30 general admission, reserved seating/$40 party pit
- Friday, Sept. 16 — Tech N9ne with Blane Howard, 7 p.m., $30 general admission, reserved seating/$40 party pit
- Saturday, Sept. 17 — T.I. with Chingy, 7:30 p.m., $30 general admission, $60 reserved seating, $70 party pit
- Sunday, Sept. 18 — Championship Dirt Track Auto Racing, 5 p.m., $20 general admission/free kids 12 and under
New this year, anyone who purchases a grandstand concert ticket gets free gate admission for the day of the event included.
The only exception is the Demolition Derby, which will not include free gate admission. But Monday, Sept. 12 is Dillions Dollar Day, so admission is only $1.
You can buy tickets online here or at the Kansas State Fair ticket office.
If free entertainment is more your style, the Peoples Bank and Trust Arena and the Lake Talbott Stage might be more your style.
Comedian and hypnotist Ron Diamond returns for his 17th year at the Kansas State Fair. He performs daily; see the full schedule to find all his shows.
Olathe native Broderick Jones, a semifinalist on the show “American Song Contest,” will take the arena stage at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12.
There will be plenty of jazz and blues at the arena. Keefer Madness and the George Sanders Blues Band are bringing a night of blues music on Saturday, Sept. 10. Then Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Salt City Jazz Band, Dixieland Band and Kansas All Star Big Band take the stage.
Find full schedules for both free stages online.
Over at Gottschalk Park, the Flying Fools will be flipping and diving through the skies each day, and Dangerous Feats of Comedy will take its high-energy show throughout the fairgrounds.
Take a trip to the Cool Zoo to visit exotic birds and animals like alligators, giant tortoises, snakes, and kangaroos. The zoo will also have daily performances at Lake Talbott.
Get bragging rights in the Kansas Arm Wrestling Championships on Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Lake Talbott Stage. The event welcomes both men and women with standardized weight classes.
Wrap up the fun at the Kansas State Fair Car Show where you’ll find classic cars and trucks, custom rides and street rods. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Administration Building Parking Lot.
Midway ride sheets are $20 before the fair starts and come with 20 tickets. Starting Sept. 9, ride sheets increase to $25. Carnival rides take from 2-4 tickets per person depending on the ride.
Six days have been deemed Wristband Days — Sept. 9, 13-16 and 18. Wristbands are $35 (discounted at $30 on Sept. 15) and allow you to ride most midway rides as many times as you want.
You can purchase ride sheets and wristbands at the Kansas State Fair office or online. You can also get a ride sheet voucher at Dillons stores.
Looking for a deal? On Sept. 12, most rides are just one ticket.
The midway has different hours depending on the day:
- Friday, Sept. 9: 3-11 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 10: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 11: Noon to 10 p.m.
- Monday, Sept. 12: Noon to 10 p.m.
- Tuesday, Sept. 13: 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Wednesday, Sept. 14: Noon to 10 p.m.
- Thursday, Sept. 15: 3-10 p.m.
- Friday, Sept. 16: Noon to 11 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 17: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 18: Noon to 8 p.m.
Ride sheets and wristbands don’t include access to the train, Sky Ride, Ye Old Mill, Big Slide and Boat Ride. These rides cost $3-6, and have separate hours from the rest of the midway.
Livestock and competitions
From horses to rabbits, animals of all shapes and sizes will be on display for livestock judging and other competitions. There are sessions for 4-H/FFA students and open sessions for all.
Guests can also find dozens of clothing/textiles, fine arts, agriculture and food exhibits where Kansans will show off their skills. Catch competitions to find the best jerky, the top mounted shooters, the quickest dogs and the best homemade beer.
State Fair FAQ
Is the Kansas State Fair ADA accessible?
There are three paved areas in public parking lots near Gate 5, Gate 8 and Gate 9.
Wheelchair, stroller, and mobility carts are available for rent at two locations: south of Gate 5 and west of Gate 9. For more information and reservations contact Scootaround Mobility Rentals at 1-888-441-7575.
What can I bring and not bring?
Kansas State Fair organizers say outside food and non-alcoholic beverages are all allowed at the fairgrounds. You can even bring in coolers for your food. Outside alcohol and anything in glass bottles are banned.
Fair-goers can bring their own strollers, but there are also places to rent a stroller or wagon. Bicycles and skateboards are not allowed.
Are pets allowed at the fair?
Only animals that meet the ADA’s service animal classification are allowed on the grounds during the fair.
Are the trams back this year?
Trams will once again be circling the fairgrounds this year. During peak times, guests will find three trams available; otherwise, there will be two running. Guests can find tram stops on the fair map.