Amarillo Tri-State Fair & Rodeo action to return Friday
By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
Alligator, shark, frog legs and more — all on a stick. Giant pumpkins and other produce. Canned goods and quilts by the dozen. And a midway packed with people, rides and fun.
It's September, so that means the Amarillo Tri-State Fair & Rodeo is back.
The fair's open 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and 8 a.m. to midnight Saturday through Sept. 23 on the Tri-State Fairgrounds, 3301 S.E. 10th Ave. Admission prices vary; see below.
The fair has been a nearly continuous tradition for more than a century. In 1913, the first Panhandle State Fair opened, according to Tulia author Lana Barnett's invaluable Panhandle Tidbits. The Tri-State Fair organization was chartered in 1923, and despite a few years off during wartime, the fair has been attracting thousands of people to the midway, the exhibition halls and the food court ever since.
Fairgoers can browse aisles and aisles of entries in textiles, ceramics, canned goods, produce, art and photography in the Rex Baxter Building, or they can attend any number of livestock shows in the Glenn McMennamy Livestock Building or the Vance Reed Livestock Center.
The Bud Light Stage will feature the following:
- Texas singer-songwriter Max Stalling will perform Saturday. A former snack-food scientist, Stalling became a full-time musician almost 20 years ago and has built a reputation as one of the state's best songwriters. I interviewed him last year.
- Texas country singer Kimberly Dunn will return for a fifth consecutive year with performance on Sept. 21. A true Texas fireball, Dunn is expanding to a national scope with the releases of her latest albums. I interviewed her just a couple of weeks ago.
- Classic country singer Moe Bandy will perform Sept. 22. Bandy broke into the music business in the 1960s but found his greatest success in the '70s, with such hits as "I Just Started Hating Cheatin' Songs Today," "Bandy the Rodeo Clown," "Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life," "Cowboys Ain't Supposed to Cry" and more.
- And Grammy Award-winning Mexican-American country singer Rick Trevino will perform Sept. 23. After breaking out with "Just Enough Rope" in 1993, Trevino charted 14 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, the No. 1 single "Running Out of Reasons to Run."
Concerts begin around 9:30 p.m. nightly and are free with fair admission.
Plus, there are Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association performances at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 to 23. Admission is $5 in addition to gate admission. Mutton Bustin' and a calf scramble will kick off the nightly action.
You'll also find family entertainment with Scott's World of Magic, Jerry Harris: Master Hypnotist, the Rhinestone Cowgirls, "Ag Magician" Joyce Rice, the Quick Quack Petting Zoo, the Sinbad High Dive Show and Kids' Celebration, among others, at various times daily, and the Crabtree Amusements carnival from 1 p.m. to midnight Saturdays and Sunday and 4 p.m. to midnight otherwise.
The parade is set for 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Amarillo.
Fair hours are 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, and 8 a.m. to midnight Saturday to Sept. 23. Carnival hours are 4 p.m. to midnight weekdays and 1 p.m. to midnight weekends.
Admission is $10 for ages 13 to 54, $5 for ages 6 to 12 and ages 55 and older, and free for children 5 and younger. Admission is free until 1 p.m. Monday through Sept. 22.
Ride wristbands are $30 daily. Mega-Passes, offering daily admission to the fair and all rides except for the Power Ride, are $65 through Thursday and $70 from Friday through Sept. 22. They will be available at the Tri-State Fair office and Toot'n Totum stores.
The fair also offers special admission rates nearly nightly:
- Friday: For every wristband sold, $1 will be donated to High Plains Food Bank
- Saturday: Half-day ride wristbands and gate admission is $20 from 1 to 5 p.m.
- Sunday: Gate admission and ride wristbands are $30 with a newspaper coupon for Amarillo Globe-News Readers Appreciation Day
- Monday: Seniors 55 and older get free gate admission, and students from kindergarten through 12th grade get free admission with school coupon and pay $20 for ride wristbands; coupons available at www.tristatefair.com. Admission is $5 with coupon without ride wristband.
- Tuesday: Gate admission and ride wristband is $10 per person (no tickets or passes besides Mega Passes are valid) for Happy State Bank Ride 'Em Cowboy Night
- Sept. 20: Students from kindergarten through 12th grade get free admission with school coupon and pay $20 for ride wristbands; coupons available at www.tristatefair.com. Admission is $5 with coupon without ride wristband.
- Sept. 21: Students from kindergarten through 12th grade get free admission with school coupon and pay $20 for ride wristbands; coupons available at www.tristatefair.com. Admission is $5 with coupon without ride wristband. Also, college students get free admission with school ID for College Night, and adults get $5 gate admission with coupon from www.myhighplains.com for KAMR Viewer Appreciation Night.
- Sept. 22: Ride wristbands are $25 with a new or gently used coat for Eveline Rivers Coat Night.
- Sept. 23: No discounts. Wear pink for Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night at the Rodeo.
Remember that the midway and food court are cashless, so buy tokens at the booths.