Amarillo Tri-State Fair to bring fun, food and stomach-flinging rides back Friday

Last Updated by Chip Chandler on
The Amarillo Tri-State Fair runs Friday through Sept. 23.

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

Here's a life hack for the Amarillo Tri-State Fair: If you eat the new bacon funnel cake at Sugar's, don't immediately go on the gravity-flaunting (and stomach-flipping) Power Ride. 

Other than that, feel free to chow down and spin around to your heart's content when the Amarillo Tri-State Fair & Rodeo returns Friday for a week of fun on the Tri-State Fairgrounds, 3301 S.E. 10th Ave.

Rides light up the night at the Amarillo Tri-State Fair.Rides light up the night at the Amarillo Tri-State Fair.

The fair's open 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and 8 a.m. to midnight Saturday through Sept. 23.

"It's just a tradition," said Tom Spanel, president of the Tri-State Exposition's executive board. "It's something people look forward to in the fall of each year."

And it's been that way almost continuously since 1913 when 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 and the exhibition halls and, oh yes, the food court ever since.

The Amarillo Tri-State Fair opens Friday.The Amarillo Tri-State Fair opens Friday.

"It's a way to bring people together," Spanel said. "There's good entertainment, and it's a great place to bring the family. There's stuff for children, entertainment for adults — just anything you can think of."

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.

Pumpkins in all their glory were on view during last year's Amarillo Tri-State Fair.Pumpkins in all their glory were on view during last year's Amarillo Tri-State Fair.

Click here for a full schedule of exhibitions.

Cooder Graw will perform Sept. 24 at the Amarillo Tri-State Fair & Rodeo.Cooder Graw will perform Sept. 24 at the Amarillo Tri-State Fair & Rodeo.

The Bud Light Stage will feature Micky & The Motorcars on Saturday, Jennifer Nickerson on Sept. 20, Bri Bagwell on Sept. 22, Chris Knight on Sept. 23 and Cooder Graw on Sept. 24; concerts begin around 9:30 p.m. and are free with fair admission.

Plus, there are Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association performances at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22, 23 and 24. Admission is $5 in addition to gate admission.

You'll also find family entertainment with Scott's Future of Magic, Jerry Harris: Master Hypnotist,the Quick Quack Petting Zoo, the All-Star Stunt Dog Challenge, Pirates of the Sky Caribbean Stunt Show, 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.

Prizes awaited carnivalgoers at last year's Amarillo Tri-State Fair.Prizes awaited carnivalgoers at last year's Amarillo Tri-State Fair.

The parade is set for 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Amarillo. 

There's free admission until 1 p.m. Sept. 19 to 23; otherwise, admission is $10 ages 13 to 54, or $5 ages 6 to 12 or ages 55 and older. Half-price adult admission tickets are available at Walgreens through Friday. 

Ride wristbands are $30 daily; midway hours are 4 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and 1 p.m. to midnight on weekends.

Mega Passes (including daily admission to the fair and all rides except for the power ride) are $65 through Sept. 15 and $70 afterwards.

The fair also offers special admission rates nearly nightly:

  • Friday: Ride wristbands are $25 with five canned food items for High Plains Food Bank Night
  • 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.
  • Sept. 20: 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. 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.
  • Sept. 22: 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. 23: Ride wristbands are $25 with a new or gently used coat for Eveline Rivers Coat Night.
  • Sept. 24: 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. 

Call 806-376-7767.

Pigs.Pigs.

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