By Samantha Molina

The scent of mouthwatering fried foods, heart-stopping rides and concert performances by award-winning artists like rapper Lil Pump and country’s Trace Adkins.

Visitors can experience these things and more at the Arizona State Fair from Friday, October 4, to Sunday, October 27.

“We have some truly amazing things lined up for this year’s fair,” says Jen Yee, Arizona State Fair assistant executive director. “You’re not going to want to miss this.”

Fair foodies can expect the classics like Indian fry bread, deep-fried Oreos and turkey legs along with additions like the doughnut tower stick and a 2-foot-long mega corndog.

However, one of the most anticipated treats to be served this year is the Flaming Hot Cheetos pickle—a pickle hollowed out and stuffed with the fiery red snack.

“I remember my family and I going to the fair every year, just for the food,” says Yee, who lives in Ahwatukee. “It was like having a Thanksgiving dinner every time we went.”

Thrill-seekers will get their kicks with a new ride called The Titan, a pendulum-style ride deemed the “the largest portable aerial thrill ride in the United States.” Riders are propelled 180 feet at 60 miles per hour.

Not an adrenaline junkie? Be sure to check out the all-new Esports Gaming World—a must visit for all gamers. The 18-day event is equipped with more than 100 gaming stations and will include virtual reality pods, tournaments, gaming demos, professional teams and celebrity streamers.

Another new attraction to the fairground includes a retro arcade, stocked with ’80s classics such as Ms. Pac-Man and pinball.

The “Monster Museum” will debut just in time for the Halloween season. Fair goers can take selfies with their favorite horror characters—Michael Myers, Chucky, Frankenstein and his Bride—for $5.

The Arizona State Fair will continue to host crowd favorites like rodeos and monster truck. Livestock competitions take up a large portion of the space at the fairgrounds.

Yee says spending time with animals like sheep, pigs and goats and has always been a favorite pastime among women and children.

“While we are an urban fair, we still try to incorporate our agricultural roots throughout the grounds,” she says.

Gate admission ranges from $12 for adults and $8 for children and seniors. However, Yee mentions that there are quite a few ways to save when visiting the fair. For the first time, the fair will feature “College Day” on October 11. Students will receive free admission from noon to 6 p.m., with a valid school ID.

Popular deals are “We Care Wednesdays,” when attendees can bring in cans of food in exchange for free admission, and “Free Fry’s Fridays,” when Fry’s customers can bring their grocery receipts showing purchases of more than $50 and get two free admission tickets.

“The Taste of the Fair” package will return on Fridays. This offer includes $3 rides, games and select food favorites from noon to 6 p.m.

“It is so important for the fair to be affordable for the community,” Yee says. “We want anyone and everyone to come here and enjoy themselves.”

The Arizona State Fair is known for being inclusive to the community. Every fall, local artists and creators are showcased and judged as competitive entries, from almost every county in the state.

This year, Yee says visitors can experience a multitude of contests from “best pie” and “best chalk art” to “best world carvings.”

“We even have an Arizona landscape photography contest,” Yee says.

Yee stresses the community makes the state fair what it is today.

“Seeing the locals come out every year to support one another and make memories together. That’s what makes the state fair different from anything else,” Yee says.

“It’s more than just a carnival. It’s a great representation of our state.”

Arizona State Fair, 1826 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix, 602.252.6771, azstatefair.com, noon to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 10 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, October 4 to October 27, $12 general admission; $8 kids 5 to 13 and seniors 55 and older.

 

Concerts

A slew of great performers will be featured at this year’s Arizona State Fair, starting Friday, October 4. Showtime is 7 p.m. and reserved seating is $40 to $60, unless otherwise noted, and that includes fair admission, too. General admission seating is free with a fair ticket. Here’s who guests can look forward to seeing.

Billy Currington, Friday, October 4

The Cult, Saturday, October 5

Stryper, Wednesday, October 9

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Thursday, October 10

Fiesta Friday, Friday, October 11

Lee Brice, Saturday, October 12

Matthew West and Zach Williams, Wednesday, October 16

Trace Adkins, Thursday, October 17

Becky G., Friday, October 18

Lil Pump, Saturday, October 19

Awolnation, Wednesday, October 23

Chase Rice, Thursday, October 24

MC Hammer’s House Party with C + C Music Factory featuring Freedom Williams, Friday, October 25