HUTCHINSON, Kan. — After it was canceled last year due to the pandemic, the Kansas State Fair is set to return this month in Hutchinson.
“Not having the 2020 fair was a big disappointment for a lot of people, including our team worked endless hours trying to get the fair running,” Kansas State Fair general manage Bryan Schulz told KSN.
But now Kansans are ready to head back to the fairgrounds from Sept. 10-19. The theme for the 108th annual fair is “Celebrating All Things Kansas.” Organizers are expecting hundreds of thousands of people.
Gates are open on the first day from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. From Sept. 11-18, guests can get in from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. On closing day, the fair will close early at 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.
If you’re planning to travel to Hutchinson for the state fair, make sure you’re prepared. Here’s what you need to know:
If you buy tickets to the state fair early, you can save big! Before Sept. 10, 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.
From Sept. 10-19, tickets go 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.
Looking for a deal? Grab a State Fair season pass for $40. It includes 10 gate admissions on a card that can be used one per day, all at once or any other increment.
Sept. 13 is Dillons Dollar Day. Gate admission is just $1 or guests can get in to the fair for free with a Dillons Plus Card (that’s one person per card).
If you’re an early riser, you can get in free on opening day, Sept. 10, if you enter the fairgrounds before 11 a.m. Or if you’ll be heading to the fair in the evening, snag the “4 After 4” deal. On Sept. 14 and Sept. 16, get in for $4 after 4 p.m.
You can buy tickets on the Kansas State Fair’s website here or call 6220-669-3618.
Dillons stores across Kansas are selling gate admission tickets and midway ride sheet vouchers, too. They are not selling military gate tickets or midway wristbands.
Parking and camping
There are several free public parking lots to the north and east of the fairgrounds. All of them are near entry gates. Lot C (free) is also near the midway and grandstand, perfect if you’re attending concerts or want to hit the carnival rides.
Many nearby businesses will also offer parking for a small fee. Several other parking lots on the fairgrounds require permits.
Free shuttles will also run to/from the fairgrounds to the Hutchinson Trade Center on weekends from noon to 11 p.m. and from noon to 7 p.m. on Sept. 19.
There’s ADA accessible, paved parking at 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.
Concerts and events
From country to classic rock and even a ventriloquist, there will be a little bit of everything at the Kansas State Fair’s grandstand.
Rap fans will be excited to hear Nelly is bringing his “Country Grammar” to the stage on Saturday, Sept. 18. Rising country/R&B star Willie Jones will open for him.
A weekend of bull riding, motocross and monster trucks are planned for the opening weekend of the Kansas State Fair.
Sixteen-year-old singer and ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer, winner of “America’s Got Talent,” is set to perform on Sunday, Sept. 19.
Here’s the full Nex-Tech Wireless Grandstand lineup:
- FRIDAY, SEPT. 10 — NEX-GEN BULL RIDING TOUR, 7:30 p.m. showtime, 5 p.m. gates open; general seating is $20/adults, $5/kids age 6-12, free/kids 5 and under; reserved seating is $35.
- SATURDAY, SEPT. 11 — MOTO MADNESS & THRILL SHOW, 5 p.m. showtime, 3;30 p.m. gates open; general seating is $15/adults, $5/kids age 6-12, free/kids 5 and under; VIP experience with reserved seating is $35.
- SUNDAY, SEPT. 12 — ALL STAR MONSTER TRUCK TOUR, 3 p.m. showtime, 1:30 p.m. gates open; general seating is $15/adults, $5/kids age 6-12, free/kids 5 and under; VIP experience with reserved seating is $35.
- MONDAY, SEPT. 13 — DEMO DERBY, 7:30 p.m. showtime; general seating is $10/all 13 and older, free/kids 12 and under.
- TUESDAY, SEPT. 14 — SAWYER BROWN AND LOGAN MIZE, 7:30 p.m. showtime, 6:30 p.m. gates open; general seating is $20; reserved seating is $40; Bud Light Party Pit is $45; kids under 2 are free.
- WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 15 — NEWSBOYS WITH ADAM AGEE, 7:30 p.m. showtime, 6:30 p.m. gates open; tickets range from $20-50; kids under 2 are free.
- THURSDAY, SEPT. 16 — 38 SPECIAL, 7:30 p.m. showtime, 6:30 p.m. gates open; general seating is $20; Bud Light Party Pit is $45; kids under 2 are free.
- FRIDAY, SEPT. 17 — CHRIS JANSON, 7:30 p.m. showtime, 6:30 p.m. gates open; tickets range from $20-65; Bud Light Party Pit is $65.
- SATURDAY, SEPT. 18 — NELLY WITH WILLIE JONES, 2 p.m. showtime, 12:30 p.m. gates open; tickets range from $20-65; Bud Light Party Pit is $65.
- SUNDAY, SEPT. 19 — DARCI LYNNE FARMER, 3 p.m. showtime; tickets range from $20-65; kids 2 and under are free.
Tickets for these shows are already on sale. Gate admission is generally not included. You can buy event tickets online here.
If free entertainment is more your style, the Peoples Bank and Trust Arena and Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System Stage at Lake Talbott will host a slew of shows each day during the fair.
Looking for some highlights of the free fun? Kansas City band Quite Frankly takes the stage on Friday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Peoples Bank and Trust Arena.
Smithville, Missouri, native and “The Voice” finalist Casi Joy performs at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13 at the Peoples Bank and Trust Arena, too.
Chayce Beckham, the 2021 “American Idol” winner, hits the Peoples Bank and Trust Arena stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18.
Another important event fair-goers won’t want to miss: “Remembering Our Fallen.” With the 20th anniversary of September 11th falling during the fair, a traveling photo memorial will be at the fairgrounds to honor Kansas’ fallen heroes since that tragic day. Guests can find the display in the Pride of Kansas Building.
Craving a corndog? The Pronto Pup Eating Contest offers an intriguing challenge. Competitors are tasked with eating all the Pronto Pups they can in 10 minutes to try to win big prizes. It’s too late to enter, but still fun to watch at noon Sunday, Sept. 19 at the Peoples Bank and Trust Arena.
New this year, an outdoor Auto Show is set for all day Sunday, Sept. 19 at the Administration Building parking lot featuring Corvettes, classic cars and trucks, custom cars and street rods.
Think you’ve got what it takes to be a ninja? Kansas State Fair has high-flying, jaw-dropping live action with the Ninja Experience obstacle course at Gottschalk Park. The show will take place three times a day.
Midway ridesheets are $20 before the fair starts and come with 20 tickets. Starting Sept. 10, ridesheets increase to $25. Midway rides take from 2-4 tickets per person depending on the ride.
Six other days have been deemed Wristband Days — Sept. 10, 14-17 and 19. Wristbands are $35 and allow you to ride any midway ride as many times as you want.
Looking for a deal? On Sept. 13, all rides are just one ticket.
Fair-goers can buy ridesheets or wristbands online or buy ridesheets at Dillons locations across Kansas.
The midway has different hours depending on the day:
- Friday, Sept. 10: 3-11 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 11: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 12: Noon to 10 p.m.
- Monday, Sept. 13: Noon to 10 p.m.
- Tuesday, Sept. 14: 3-10 p.m.
- Wednesday, Sept. 15: Noon to 10 p.m.
- Thursday, Sept. 16: 3-10 p.m.
- Friday, Sept. 17: Noon to 11 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 18: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 19: Noon to 8 p.m.
Ridesheets and wristbands don’t include access to the Big Slide, State Fair Boat Ride, Sky Ride, State Fair Railroad or the Ye Old Mill on the fairgrounds. Those rides have separate hours and prices.
Livestock, exhibits 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.
If you want to catch the judging sessions, see the full schedules here.
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 biscuit bakers, the biggest pumpkins, savviest Instant Pot cookers, most detailed quilts and more.
State Fair FAQ
How do I get to the fairgrounds in Hutchinson?
The Kansas State Fairgrounds is located at 2000 N. Poplar 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 to Emporia and then Highway 50 to Newton and on to Hutchinson.
What COVID-19 precautions are organizers taking?
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will offer free COVID-19 vaccines and testing during the fair. Guests can find them at 9 Wheat State Lane.
Masks will be recommended in all buildings; outside, masks will be optional. Bryan Schulz, general manager of the Kansas State Fair, said they received 100,000 masks from the state.
Schulz said they will also try to help with social distancing inside fair buildings by directing traffic flow, possibly with arrows on the floor, similar to the way stores did early in the pandemic.
Can I bring my own food and drink?
Kansas State Fair organizers say food and non-alcoholic beverages are all allowed at the fairgrounds. You can even bring in coolers for your food. But alcohol and anything in glass bottles, though, is banned.
What am I not allowed to bring?
Bicycles, skateboards, pets, alcohol and glass bottles are not allowed at the state fairgrounds. Service animals are allowed, however. Need a place to park your bike? Bike racks are located at Gate 1 near 20th and Poplar; Gate 3 near 23rd and Main; and Gate 9 near 20th and Plum.
Are there wheelchairs, mobility carts and strollers available to rent?
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.