View Full Version : The Great State Fair:....what do you remember???



Pages : [1] 2 3 4

Generals64
09-13-2009, 04:57 PM
Oh My Gosh, it's here the Great State Fair of Oklahoma 2009. My wife and I went to the Kansas State Fair this past week end and anyone who found out we were from Oklahoma said:..."Now that's a State Fair"....Very Prideful after about the 10th person said it. My wife has some quilts that are on tour throughout the United States and she wanted to see them is why we were in Kansas.......
I still remember the Old Fairgrounds (vaguely) when they were out by the Douglass Highschool area.....then they moved to May Avenue where they are today. Many stories and memories can come from this....Have you got one to share????

Generals64
09-14-2009, 08:53 AM
Oh man, this is like the bicycle trails in Mustang....No one out there remembers the first (and only) stuffed animal you won on the Midway????Mine was a big Purple cat and I gave it to my girlfriend at the time. Never have even tried since then...I had to carry that STUPID Purple cat all Day.....Not me....How about sneaking in under the tent at the Club Lido.....Whoa, for a young boy that was very enlightening......

rondvu
09-14-2009, 11:54 AM
As a kid back in the 60's, I remember that Danny Williams of channel four asked if he could join us for lunch. He even was so gracious and took some of our snacks we offered him (back in the day we took out lunch to the fair, I guess we were poor and did not know it.) To three kids it was like having a banquet with a real live movie star. Thank you Danny Williams for a great childhood memory. Sorry I never got to be on Foreman Scotty.

Generals64
09-14-2009, 11:59 AM
Steve Powell (Foreman Scotty) was in our (TG&Y) booth in 1967.....I was in awe of having or rather getting to work with Foreman Scotty....The kids mobbed our booth and the parents all got Yellow TG&Y Yardsticks.....Poor kids...some of them were probably spanked with those...Steve Powell was quite the gentleman....we did however have to build a barrier between him and the kids....That was one great memory....Also, Carol Shipman (Mrs. Oklahoma) Northcutt was there one day....Carol was married to Jude (Jude and Jody) Northcutt but, she was Miss Mar Car from Taft Stadium Stock car races....The men swamped the booth...I got to escort her to her car.....And????

circled9
09-14-2009, 12:07 PM
wow do you remember the first year that the new fairgrounds opened? we had two fairs that year----one for the semi-centenial and then the regular fair. the new ballpark came a few years later after the Oklahoma City Indians went bankrupt and Texas League Park was tore down.

I sure like our fair better than that thing we are forced to go to in Dallas if we want to see the OU-Texas game.

Jesseda
09-14-2009, 01:11 PM
oh wow lets see here, my parents would drop me and my firends off when we where like 13 and 14 ( one of those friends is now my wife). WE would run around getting all the free items from stickers-yard sticks. There wasnt fried twinkies or anything like that just the classic fair food, corn dogs that where a foot long, funnel cakes, and indian tacos, carmel apples. Man we would just eat and eat. We loved the fun houses they had we where never a thrill riding bunch just haunted houses and fun houses. The best things about the fair was no matte where you where the huge with domed building was your map (now you get lost ). We loved the fort area, the monerial was a must to do on the list, and getting into arguments with the the dunk tank clown. at sunset grabbing more food and sitting by the fountain underneath the arch and watching everyone walk around and also looking at all the free stuff we collected so far, my favorite was the little plastic orange juicer.

MikeOKC
09-14-2009, 09:12 PM
One of my earliest memories involves the State Fair. My parents, brothers and I saw President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. I remember everybody was really excited.

I also remember when the fair was (I think) a 21-day fair? Then shrunk to 17 and then 15 and on and on it went. The Midway used to be several times as large as it is now and had many more shows (like a circus within the fair) than they do now.

I always loved the ham sandwich booth inside the Modern Living building, the taffy, all the food I wouldn't normally eat but at fair time.

http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/6063/lbjinokc.jpg

Jesseda
09-15-2009, 07:33 AM
why has the number of days the fair operates gone down?

Generals64
09-15-2009, 07:39 AM
why has the number of days the fair operates gone down?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
finances and participation from the public.....The fair used to be from a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and so on until the next Sunday.... The Attendance was great and people had some money to spend....

SoonerDave
09-15-2009, 09:11 AM
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
finances and participation from the public.....The fair used to be from a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and so on until the next Sunday.... The Attendance was great and people had some money to spend....

OK State Fair attendance used to near 1 million every year back in the day.

I could go on a SERIOUS rant here, but I'll condense it to say that the powers-that-be all but destroyed the fair about five or six years ago when someone decided they had to "upscale" it away from its "funnel cake and corndog" image. They brought in a guy from Texas named Skip Wegner to run it, and he just tore the heart out of it - really trying to re-image the fair in the vein of the State Fair of Texas in Dallas. Since then, they stopped reporting attendance figures because they're down.

They raised booth rents across the board, chased out a bunch of traditional vendors, and we lost some gems like the Junior Hospitality Sub Sandwich booth years ago. When I asked one vendor where all the traditional "stuff" was, she was nearly in tears, saying "they're wanting to redo the fair, and they're ruining it. Please tell someone. They won't listen to us."

They ruined the Made in Oklahoma bulding with this "Agtropolis" nonsense, ripped out the cannas and the 14 Flags plaza, just tore the place apart. Wegner left several years ago, but the damage has been done. I'm not sure it will ever be the same. We had a chance to implement some necessary improvements, but ripped out vital organs in the process.

Our family used to go to the fair at least twice a year, but now we're doing well to get there once due to the ticket and parking price increases, the elimination of discount tickets once the fair starts...alas...

Understand there may have been some administrative issues that needed to be fixed, but what it was compared to what it is represents a great deal more than an "administrative fix."

Rant off.

PennyQuilts
09-15-2009, 09:37 AM
I used to spend a day there with my best friend (we're still best friends, forty years later). I loved to go by the livestock barns and check out the double wides (yeah, one foot in the trailer park - I admit it). And Funnel cakes. The Midway was sort of scary because the barkers would always try to guilt you into trying so we avoided them. A woman I knew who showed horses always tried to make sure their shows were a different day than the day they gave out yardsticks to school kids because the kids would always prod the horses in the stalls. I used to love to go through the exhibit halls and see all the jewelry and purses and stuff. There were always some scary people there, though.

Jesseda
09-15-2009, 10:06 AM
soonerdave, i agree with you, i went to the state fair 2 years ago taking my kids, my wife and havent been to the fair from 99-2006 and decided to go in 2007 to see whats all new, needless to say, we hated it, the layout made areas to crowded, it seemed like there was a lot less booths then when i was a kid, and i couldnt find my way around, it lost its flair, no monerail, no planes, no fort area, i do remember the cannons, my wife and i as kids use to relax in that area with a funnel cake or sno-cone and take it all in, i miss the fountains as a well, when we where there in 2007 most of them where turned off, or not kept clean or fixed up! its sad

SoonerDave
09-15-2009, 10:16 AM
Jesseda,

You are absolutely right. The fountains, the fort, the airplanes....so many of the things that made the Fair unique were just thrown away for no particular reason except, perhaps, that they aren't "trendy" or "hip." And the loss of the monorail is just abominable. They don't even use the Flowers and Gardens building anymore, and I personally think the intent is to contract the physical footprint of the fairgrounds in from the north quite a bit.

I was so angered about what they had done I fired off a letter to the fair board, my city councilman, the mayor, and a local radio station...

Perhaps a year or two later, there were kiosks at the fair that amounted to a "poll" of fair patrons asking them what they liked about the changes and the plans...the results were never made public to my knowledge, but Wegner left shortly after that fair season, if my memory serves - about 2003. I think Wegner had started to draw up plans to tear down the fair speedway, and that may be what finally got him chased - the speedway is part of the fair, and even though I'm not a racing fan, I understand its something to be preserved, not torn down.

Now, just for clarification, I'm not talking about being opposed to fixing up dilapidated structures, or enhancing things like public restroom access - those kinds of things were very much needed. I'm talking about the "hacksaw" approach to overhaul that was implemented rather than a surgeon's touch to fix and update what really needed attention, and that surely wouldn't hvae resulted in a wholesale gutting of the place...alas...

Thunder
09-15-2009, 11:59 AM
I don't have much to say, but some questions.

Which side is the main entrance? All my life, I've always entered from the south side. So, the north side is the main entrance?

Why did they tear down the monorail? They still kept one section.

Do they still do the mini Spring Fair? I remember that a few times a long time ago, of course it was a lot smaller and half of the rides was inside the biggest building.

Mom and I will go the day it opens. Admission is 1 bux.

MikeOKC
09-15-2009, 02:27 PM
SoonerDave said it well. The fair just isn't the fair I grew up with. I know, what is? Except that this just didn't have to happen. Growing up in the 60's and 70's, the fair was a place of fantasy and magic. Today, as SoonerDave said, it's too stuffy and staid, all the real vintage fair atmosphere has been taken away.

papaOU
09-15-2009, 02:50 PM
five or six years ago when someone decided they had to "upscale" it away from its "funnel cake and corndog" image. They brought in a guy from Texas named Skip Wegner to run it, and he just tore the heart out of it - really trying to re-image the fair in the vein of the State Fair of Texas in Dallas. Since then, they stopped reporting attendance figures because they're down.

They raised booth rents across the board, chased out a bunch of traditional vendors, and we lost some gems like the Junior Hospitality Sub Sandwich booth years ago. When I asked one vendor where all the traditional "stuff" was, she was nearly in tears, saying "they're wanting to redo the fair, and they're ruining it. Please tell someone. They won't listen to us."

They ruined the Made in Oklahoma bulding with this "Agtropolis" nonsense, ripped out the cannas and the 14 Flags plaza, just tore the place apart. Wegner left several years ago, but the damage has been done. I'm not sure it will ever be the same. We had a chance to implement some necessary improvements, but ripped out vital organs in the process.

Our family used to go to the fair at least twice a year, but now we're doing well to get there once due to the ticket and parking price increases, the elimination of discount tickets once the fair starts...alas...

Understand there may have been some administrative issues that needed to be fixed, but what it was compared to what it is represents a great deal more than an "administrative fix."

Rant off.

funnel cake and corn-dogs are the fair!!!!

I went to the OU-Texas game last year. The added seats were great, but they did not install any new entrance/exit gates. When the 30,000 plus added fans hit the fair crowd full steps were replaced with shuffles. Told my daughter it was the last OU-Texas game for me.

Don't remember how much it was to park, but the parking attendants pocketed the money on some vehicles and had them towed. Don't know if they targeted OK plates or not, but thank god they were caught and arrested.

:ou :ou2 :ou :ou2 :ou :ou2:ou:ou2:ou:ou2

MsDarkstar
09-15-2009, 03:08 PM
I too have to agree with what SoonerDave & Jesseda have said. The current fair is definitely not the fair from my childhood. The last time I went, we were there about an hour & my nephew said ok, where to next? We thought for a minute, took a look around and realized we'd seen it all except the midway, which we usually avoid anyway. Made me very sad.

With regards to the original topic:

When I was a little girl, I can remember getting to take a day off from school to go to the fair. My dad was a Highway Patrolman & they had a special law enforcement discount day, just show your badge & you'd get in half price AND would get to park inside the grounds...the really good parking lol. It was something we'd do just the two of us every year...take a picnic lunch & walk around getting as many freebies as possible. I remember the yardsticks, and there was one year that AT&T had some kind of booth where they'd take your picture then give you a black & white printout of it on a calendar, all for free. Daddy had that hanging in his office for years. If it wasn't too crowded, we'd head to the midway. I never liked rides but we'd check out some of the games. I can remember him throwing darts at balloons to win me a New Kids on the Block poster, and winning me a stuffed animal making basketball shots. I also remember coming home with such "must-haves" (as an adult, I can't imagine WHY I thought I HAD to have these things lol) as a gold foil wig, a green sponge alligator on a piece of wire (looked like you were walking the gator), and cheap quality tshirts lol. To me, fair day was much like Christmas!

We'd also go as a family; usually one day was for just me & my dad, and the other time my mom & older sister & one of her friends would come too. That was the boring day, where we looked at the grown up stuff like the livestock and cars. We'd always end up in the fort area eating an indian taco from Dan's, wishing the wind would stop blowing dirt all over us. Another annual thing was the safety discussion in the car on the way to the fair, with Daddy reminding us to stay close, not talk to carnies, and to pay attention to our surroundings, with Mom always chiming in to remind us about the 2 girls that disappeared from the fair in 1981.

I still remember the mini loaves of bread that were given away and in that same building there was always an Ozarka water display where you could get paper cups & 'sample' the water. Seems like the only thing that was still around the last time I was there that was unchanged from childhood were the ice cold jugs of root beer.

SoonerDave
09-15-2009, 03:20 PM
Great memories, DarkStar. The bread loaves were AWESOME. I can still remember the excitement for the day we'd go as a familiy to the fair, see the new cars, watch the local TV stations do their news live, heck I even remember back when Foreman Scotty did his show from the OPUBCO tower and we had to walk up with the "double-thumbs-up" sign to get our secret Circle-4 message decoder cards to keep messages from The Count (Danny Williams). It was AWESEOME stuff.

papaOU
09-15-2009, 03:24 PM
Does not seem that long ago when I40 was closed in order to transport the B52 from Tinker to the fairgrounds.

Generals64
09-15-2009, 06:30 PM
I remember the Arrows to Atoms exhibit pool that NO ONE was supposed to wade in and that rule lasted about 20 minutes...There would be hundreds of people just sitting around the pool and then someone would take off their shoes and then the pool would be full.....Lots of fun....Did you ever take firewords in with you???? they didn't appreciate it....Nor did the police...

rondvu
09-16-2009, 03:09 PM
Let's nominate SoonerDave to be brought on to the Fair board. I bet he would clean house, kick butt's and take names. He is right on the money about EVERYTHING he said, sad but, true. I have often thought if the fair is even going to be around much longer. One of the nicest buildings was the Flower and Garden building with the fountain. They closed them years ago.

Generals64
09-16-2009, 03:15 PM
Let's nominate SoonerDave to be brought on to the Fair board. I bet he would clean house, kick butt's and take names. He is right on the money about EVERYTHING he said, sad but, true. I have often thought if the fair is even going to be around much longer. One of the nicest buildings was the Flower and Garden building with the fountain. They closed them years ago.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Right about SoonerDave. I think it was Sandy Sanders that ran the fair for a long time. While I was at the Kansas State Fair last week I had more than one say to us the Oklahoma Fair is one of the best they had ever been to...and I have to agree with them...but, the fair has slipped backwards quickly. the cost of the fair booths went completely out of sight and the small operators can't even begin to operate at the fair.....I was at the fair grounds yesterday and the Midway was pitiful......(on an errand for the wife).
You can see the obvious OVAL basketball hoops you gotta hit just right. At least don't make it so obvious guys we may live in Oklahoma but we're not Country Bumpkins.....

Shake2005
09-16-2009, 03:29 PM
The Oklahoma State Fair had over a million people last year:

http://www.floridastatefair.com/pdffiles/2008carnivalwarehouse_50fairslist_web.pdf

14th largest fair in the United States or Canada.

SoonerDave
09-16-2009, 05:01 PM
Let's nominate SoonerDave to be brought on to the Fair board. I bet he would clean house, kick butt's and take names. He is right on the money about EVERYTHING he said, sad but, true. I have often thought if the fair is even going to be around much longer. One of the nicest buildings was the Flower and Garden building with the fountain. They closed them years ago.

LOL bless your heart for the vote of confidence, rondvu! I'm afraid that if anyone on the board that's still there from when I wrote my little epistle remembers me, its only because of the dart board that my letter probably became :kicking: Actually, I was amazed later that week that ol' Mike McCarville read the letter on his show on KTOK!

I knew I was on the wrong side of that eight ball when I received *not one* reply from the city or the fair board.

Heck, I hate to come off like a complainer, but when change just happens for the sake of change, and it tears up something wonderful, I get frustrated. Really frustrated.

My mom used to work for the "real" AT&T back when it was Western Electric, and she actually got to work that booth they used to have in the Made in Oklahoma building where they'd take your picture and turn it into a computer printout. She'd get a VIP/Exhibitor parking pass and we'd get to park ridiculously close to one of the gates. They used to have so many wonderful exhibits in there!

BTW, I'm glad to know the fair actually did hit 1M in attendance last year!

Generals64
09-16-2009, 06:49 PM
LOL bless your heart for the vote of confidence, rondvu! I'm afraid that if anyone on the board that's still there from when I wrote my little epistle remembers me, its only because of the dart board that my letter probably became :kicking: Actually, I was amazed later that week that ol' Mike McCarville read the letter on his show on KTOK!

I knew I was on the wrong side of that eight ball when I received *not one* reply from the city or the fair board.

Heck, I hate to come off like a complainer, but when change just happens for the sake of change, and it tears up something wonderful, I get frustrated. Really frustrated.

My mom used to work for the "real" AT&T back when it was Western Electric, and she actually got to work that booth they used to have in the Made in Oklahoma building where they'd take your picture and turn it into a computer printout. She'd get a VIP/Exhibitor parking pass and we'd get to park ridiculously close to one of the gates. They used to have so many wonderful exhibits in there!

BTW, I'm glad to know the fair actually did hit 1M in attendance last year!

------------------------------------------------------------------------
I really enjoy the fair ... smell and all....My wife enjoys going through the exhibits and I enjoy being with her.....(don't tell her that'') you know, you gotta complain sometime.....I like to go to the animal barns and the cars..
I wish the fair would get a little more countryfied like it use to...Thanks for standing up for us Soonerdave....we can send them another letter if you want....

papaOU
09-16-2009, 07:03 PM
Let's nominate SoonerDave to be brought on to the Fair board. I bet he would clean house, kick butt's and take names. He is right on the money about EVERYTHING he said, sad but, true. I have often thought if the fair is even going to be around much longer. One of the nicest buildings was the Flower and Garden building with the fountain. They closed them years ago.

To heck with appointments. Let's all go and put a full scale coup in action.

papaOU
09-16-2009, 07:08 PM
I have not been in years. What have they done to/with the Kirkpatrick Planetarium? Still got the mummies and submarine telescope? If not, where did that stuff go?

Generals64
09-16-2009, 07:10 PM
I have not been in years. What have they done to/with the Kirkpatrick Planetarium? Still got the mummies and submarine telescope? If not, where did that stuff go?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't believe that is out at the fairgrounds now...don't know what happened to the stuff either..

papaOU
09-16-2009, 07:16 PM
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't believe that is out at the fairgrounds now...don't know what happened to the stuff either..

Remebered taking fieldtrips in school to the place. Always thought it was neat how close and clear Mt. St. Mary's looked in the periscope. And I lived only one block from the place.

Generals64
09-16-2009, 07:45 PM
do any of you remember buying one of those Lizards on a string?....Some guy was very ingenius....go and catch a jillion Chameleon's pay a nickle for them (or less) and then sell them for $1.00......That's kinda like paying 50 cents for a painted turtle at TG&Y....We bought them for seven cents....then they would die about two days later and a lot of people brought them back dead for a refund....Yes Pruner< they did stink both dead or alive.....

I had a another TG&Y guy play a very, very bad Joke on me (tell you at the meeting) and so in retaliation, I saved all the dead and turtles for about a week and mailed them to his store to his attention Special Delivery....They were ripe..The day it was to arrive, our boss was there and in trying to help he opened the box.....Caught H&%% over that deal....Then the boss asked (in private) who's ahead???? My response was stay out of his store for the next few days then you'll know...Tell you the rest of the story (good one) at the 26th meeting....

papaOU
09-16-2009, 08:20 PM
do any of you remember buying one of those Lizards on a string?....Some guy was very ingenius....go and catch a jillion Chameleon's pay a nickle for them (or less) and then sell them for $1.00......That's kinda like paying 50 cents for a painted turtle at TG&Y....We bought them for seven cents....then they would die about two days later and a lot of people brought them back dead for a refund....Yes Pruner< they did stink both dead or alive.....

I had a another TG&Y guy play a very, very bad Joke on me (tell you at the meeting) and so in retaliation, I saved all the dead and turtles for about a week and mailed them to his store to his attention Special Delivery....They were ripe..The day it was to arrive, our boss was there and in trying to help he opened the box.....Caught H&%% over that deal....Then the boss asked (in private) who's ahead???? My response was stay out of his store for the next few days then you'll know...Tell you the rest of the story (good one) at the 26th meeting....

I worked graveyard often. The "big boss" could be a real pain. I don't look it now but I was thin and wirery guy and could go over, under and through about anything. Having done something to piss-off our shift one november I went to thunderbird and caught a huge carp which I took to work with me the next shift. Climbing through the ceiling tiles I got into his office and threw that carp as far as I could into the heating duct that was directly above his desk. Took them forever to figure out where that smell was coming from. Never figured out who did it but had a good idea.

Generals64
09-16-2009, 08:37 PM
I worked graveyard often. The "big boss" could be a real pain. I don't look it now but I was thin and wirery guy and could go over, under and through about anything. Having done something to piss-off our shift one november I went to thunderbird and caught a huge carp which I took to work with me the next shift. Climbing through the ceiling tiles I got into his office and threw that carp as far as I could into the heating duct that was directly above his desk. Took them forever to figure out where that smell was coming from. Never figured out who did it but had a good idea.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
That was horrible. But, this guy pulled a joke on me (was a good one) but, I almost ended up in a divorce....I'll tell you on the 26th. We used to have to order our seasonal goods 4-6 months in advance.....So, I thought it would be funny to confiscate his Seasonal order sheets and an Office Envelope and order for him (Christmas Orders no doubt). I ordered certain toys a little too heavy...no, a whole lot to heavy...and thought it would really be funny. Now, we could get rid of any excess seasonal items to the 74th street store. But, I ordered him a large...LARGE ..... amount of Barbie and Mattel goods....Guess who had the ONLY Barbie dolls and clothes for Christmas on the South side of OKC???? He made a killing on those orders.......Some joke huh???? He was the "HERO" for planning ahead.....oops....

Generals64
09-17-2009, 03:32 PM
Well, the little wife won a Blue Ribbon for her quilt....That's First Place PapaOU...
There was a crowd out there at 10:00 a.m. this morning...They were already selling Corn Dogs...you know, the Pronto Pup....30 minutes after you eat that much grease it's Pronto to the Men's room or Ladies room which ever is your preference...there is one cool new attraction...Petting Zoo from Afar...you know, baby Camels, Lamas etc....and for only $5.00 you get to rid a big camel for about 45 seconds...let's see, that about $3,000.00 per day for 14 days...going to buy a camel this week end...anyone got one for sell????

Prunepicker
09-17-2009, 08:36 PM
We just got home from the Great State Fair! Prunette won 2nd place with
her squash and cucumber pickles and 5th with pickled garden mix. I got a
3rd place for corn relish and a 5th for tomato sauce. The blackberry jam and
tomatillo salsa didn't fare well.

Let's see the first stop was the Corn Dog exhibit then Dan's Famous Indian
Taco. The Corn Dog exhibit was exquisite and worth the $3 entry fee.

Wine in the Made in Oklahoma building!

Prunepicker
09-17-2009, 08:38 PM
Here' my beef with the "Oklahoma" building. It should remain the "Made in
Oklahoma" building. That waste of space they call AGtropolis needs to go.
At least move it to the livestock barns.

papaOU
09-17-2009, 09:35 PM
We just got home from the Great State Fair! Prunette won 2nd place with
her squash and cucumber pickles and 5th with pickled garden mix. I got a
3rd place for corn relish and a 5th for tomato sauce. The blackberry jam and
tomatillo salsa didn't fare well.

Let's see the first stop was the Corn Dog exhibit then Dan's Famous Indian
Taco. The Corn Dog exhibit was exquisite and worth the $3 entry fee.

Wine in the Made in Oklahoma building!

So will you be bringing blackberry jam to the next Coit's gathering?

My favorite and don't just buy any blackberry jam.

Used to get mine at the farmers market in Norman........

Watermelons as well......

No longer living there I just don't make it anymore.

Anybody seen any yellow meated watermelons this year?

grantgeneral78
09-18-2009, 02:34 AM
So will you be bringing blackberry jam to the next Coit's gathering?

My favorite and don't just buy any blackberry jam.

Used to get mine at the farmers market in Norman........

Watermelons as well......

No longer living there I just don't make it anymore.

Anybody seen any yellow meated watermelons this year?

Yeah PAPA I bought one in Rush Springs and boy was it good!

grantgeneral78
09-18-2009, 02:38 AM
OK State Fair attendance used to near 1 million every year back in the day.

I could go on a SERIOUS rant here, but I'll condense it to say that the powers-that-be all but destroyed the fair about five or six years ago when someone decided they had to "upscale" it away from its "funnel cake and corndog" image. They brought in a guy from Texas named Skip Wegner to run it, and he just tore the heart out of it - really trying to re-image the fair in the vein of the State Fair of Texas in Dallas. Since then, they stopped reporting attendance figures because they're down.

They raised booth rents across the board, chased out a bunch of traditional vendors, and we lost some gems like the Junior Hospitality Sub Sandwich booth years ago. When I asked one vendor where all the traditional "stuff" was, she was nearly in tears, saying "they're wanting to redo the fair, and they're ruining it. Please tell someone. They won't listen to us."

They ruined the Made in Oklahoma bulding with this "Agtropolis" nonsense, ripped out the cannas and the 14 Flags plaza, just tore the place apart. Wegner left several years ago, but the damage has been done. I'm not sure it will ever be the same. We had a chance to implement some necessary improvements, but ripped out vital organs in the process.

Our family used to go to the fair at least twice a year, but now we're doing well to get there once due to the ticket and parking price increases, the elimination of discount tickets once the fair starts...alas...

Understand there may have been some administrative issues that needed to be fixed, but what it was compared to what it is represents a great deal more than an "administrative fix."

Rant off.

Man I am glad you guys brought all this up. I too have been disapointed with what has been going on out there, seems everything out there is being set up as a horse facility strictly.

It truly is not the same fair at all.

Sometimes these over paid consultants do more damage then good, and in this case it sure fits.

bowtieguy
09-18-2009, 11:06 AM
Oh man, this is like the bicycle trails in Mustang....No one out there remembers the first (and only) stuffed animal you won on the Midway????Mine was a big Purple cat and I gave it to my girlfriend at the time. Never have even tried since then...I had to carry that STUPID Purple cat all Day.....Not me....How about sneaking in under the tent at the Club Lido.....Whoa, for a young boy that was very enlightening......

Hey, I resemble that remark. It was not so much the sneaking under the tent as the sneaking up to the front row. It took years for my eyes to heal. That was the first time I ever saw a naked woman stand on her head.:whiteflag

phinzup
09-18-2009, 05:11 PM
wow do you remember the first year that the new fairgrounds opened? we had two fairs that year----one for the semi-centenial and then the regular fair. the new ballpark came a few years later after the Oklahoma City Indians went bankrupt and Texas League Park was tore down.

I sure like our fair better than that thing we are forced to go to in Dallas if we want to see the OU-Texas game.


That would have been in 1957 when we had the semi-centennial at the new fairgrounds. My dad and brother and I went to some of the concerts there. Geezzz...am I that old now?

Remember the drag strip? They finally closed it to build the Arena.

Remember the Movie "State Fair' with Pat Boone? The grandstand scenes were filmed at the new fairgrounds.

zipper
09-18-2009, 07:13 PM
I do rember a drag strip, was it over by the railroad tracks on the south side of the fairgrounds? Is the drag strip still out on council road down by the river where it was always fun to try to make a pass when the wind would blow sand all over the track.

BB37
09-18-2009, 08:35 PM
I'll join the chorus of "SoonerDave is right!"

When I was growing up, we went to the fair every year, and later when I was married, my wife and I would go every year. But the first year after Skip Wagner's overhaul, my wife and I were shocked and disgusted -- so many exhibitors and vendors were gone were gone. He just ripped the heart and soul out of the fair.

We kept going for a few years, mainly for our daughter, but when she got old enough to lose interest in the midway rides, we stopped. My wife and daughter haven't been in five years or so, and I've only been back a couple of times, with my dad and brother, to get some corn dogs. Still the best thing there.

kevinpate
09-18-2009, 08:55 PM
> So will you be bringing blackberry jam to the next Coit's gathering?

Blackberry jam? Sumbody's bringing blackberry jam? Need to clear my calendar if that's the case.

Prunepicker
09-18-2009, 10:11 PM
I'll join the chorus of "SoonerDave is right!"

When I was growing up, we went to the fair every year, and later when I
was married, my wife and I would go every year. But the first year after
Skip Wagner's overhaul, my wife and I were shocked and disgusted -- so
many exhibitors and vendors were gone were gone. He just ripped the heart
and soul out of the fair.

We kept going for a few years, mainly for our daughter, but when she got
old enough to lose interest in the midway rides, we stopped. My wife and
daughter haven't been in five years or so, and I've only been back a couple
of times, with my dad and brother, to get some corn dogs. Still the best
thing there.
No kidding. Wagner ripped the heart and soul out of the fair. It's not nearly
as fun as it used to be. I like that the barkers have to be clean(er)
and wear a uniform and not be vulgar but other than that it's blah. There
used to be more food venders. He moved a friend of mine's cinnamon roll
truck to a place where virtually nobody went. Of course he hasn't returned.

If it hadn't been for the admission being $1, yesterday, we wouldn't have
gone. In fact we only go on Veteran's Day and Senior Citizen days.

The corn dogs are the best part of the fair. I still wish they'd dump the
AGtropolis and put "Made In" back on the Oklahoma buildings sign and put
more "Made in Oklahoma" venders in the place.

Prunepicker
09-18-2009, 10:15 PM
So will you be bringing blackberry jam to the next Coit's gathering?

Blackberry jam? Sumbody's bringing blackberry jam? Need to clear my
calendar if that's the case.
Gen64 is bringing some he got after a hurricane a couple of years ago
:Smiley112

Prunette entered some in the fair this year. It didn't win anything. I wish
we could bring a batch but it's almost gone.

Thunder
09-18-2009, 11:16 PM
I was out there for 10 hours and can say they have changed a lot for the better. Rides are either new or repainted. More workers out there to keep the place clean and plenty of security.

The prices on food and drinks seem to be neutral. I couldn't know if they had gone up or down, but it is reasonable.

grantgeneral78
09-19-2009, 04:35 AM
What about the year of the world famous INVISIBLE DOG!

Everytime I think back to all them people walking around with that stiff leash with the dog collar on the end, walking it around the fair like an invisible dog just cracks me up. WAY over done.

gen70
09-19-2009, 08:06 AM
Do they still have the helicopter ride at the fair? I remember one year (not sure about exact year) a man and his daughter were on the helicopter (in flight) when the father jumps out. Tragic and crazy. I often think of the daughter.

Prunepicker
09-19-2009, 10:01 AM
Do they still have the helicopter ride at the fair? I remember one year (not
sure about exact year) a man and his daughter were on the helicopter (in
flight) when the father jumps out. Tragic and crazy. I often think of the
daughter.
Wow! I don't remember that!

I didn't see a helicopter ride this year.

Generals64
09-19-2009, 10:09 AM
Wow! I don't remember that!

I didn't see a helicopter ride this year.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------No Helicopter rides since then.....i WAS WATCHING A NEWS REPORT ON OK News .COM AND LO AND BEHOLD THE PAPA OU'S TWIN WAS RIGHT IN THE CAMERA.....What say you Papa????Can we have your autograph?????Preferably on a check.....

BB37
09-19-2009, 10:13 AM
Wow! I don't remember that!

I didn't see a helicopter ride this year.

I doubt you'll see the helo rides again, what with the cost of jet fuel and liability insurance. The only folks who could afford it are likely the type of folks who wouldn't go to the fair in the first place (even before Skip Wagner's "improvements.)

gen70
09-19-2009, 11:17 AM
I remember when the NFR was held at the fairgrounds. Went there with my Father and Grandfather.

oneforone
09-19-2009, 01:50 PM
I just thought I would let everyone know if you planning on making a special stop for discount tickets do not waste your time.

I bought tickets at OnCue last night and they are the same price they are at the gate. $8

Prunepicker
09-19-2009, 03:14 PM
I just thought I would let everyone know if you planning on making a special
stop for discount tickets do not waste your time.

I bought tickets at OnCue last night and they are the same price they are at
the gate. $8
There are some special days left. Here's the link to State Fair Promotions. (http://www.okstatefair.com/tickets_promotions.asp)
According to this web site you're ticket should have merely been an
outrageous $7 instead of the highway robbery price of $8.

$8 is too much for so little. However, the County Fair in Vermont, where our
daughter lives, is $12 each! The Oklahoma County Fair was free.

dmoor82
09-19-2009, 05:40 PM
Oh My Gosh, it's here the Great State Fair of Oklahoma 2009. My wife and I went to the Kansas State Fair this past week end and anyone who found out we were from Oklahoma said:..."Now that's a State Fair"....Very Prideful after about the 10th person said it. My wife has some quilts that are on tour throughout the United States and she wanted to see them is why we were in Kansas.......
I still remember the Old Fairgrounds (vaguely) when they were out by the Douglass Highschool area.....then they moved to May Avenue where they are today. Many stories and memories can come from this....Have you got one to share????

^^^^^ KS state fair is in Hutch right? I have a route up there, and hwy 96 was real busy this past Thursday!but yeah there is no comparison b/t the OK st. fair and the KS st. fair!but Hutchison is a nice city!!!

papaOU
09-19-2009, 08:26 PM
I remember when the NFR was held at the fairgrounds. Went there with my Father and Grandfather.

I went one year.....

Decided it was too much money to pay.....

for taking a nap......

Generals64
09-19-2009, 08:27 PM
^^^^^ KS state fair is in Hutch right? I have a route up there, and hwy 96 was real busy this past Thursday!but yeah there is no comparison b/t the OK st. fair and the KS st. fair!but Hutchison is a nice city!!!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes, it was a very nice town...reminded me of old town main street. The Kansas fair was nice....no complaints and was very clean./....

papaOU
09-19-2009, 09:24 PM
Has anyone been to the Tulsa State Fair?

Don't they run at the same time as the Texas State Fair?

Not that long of course, but they overlap at one point....

kevinpate
09-19-2009, 09:28 PM
Tulsa State Fair was my fair growing up. Our band would travel, do the parade then have a few hours to kill at the fair before we were supposed to be back on the bus to head back home.

Of course, there were those who couldn't seem to tell time and often got back to the bus area later than everyone else. Not real popular with the folks who would get back early to be certain they were not left behind, but hey, if they really thought the buses would leave without them, they dinna deserve an extra midway ride or three anyhows.

papaOU
09-19-2009, 09:55 PM
Tulsa State Fair was my fair growing up. Our band would travel, do the parade then have a few hours to kill at the fair before we were supposed to be back on the bus to head back home.

Of course, there were those who couldn't seem to tell time and often got back to the bus area later than everyone else. Not real popular with the folks who would get back early to be certain they were not left behind, but hey, if they really thought the buses would leave without them, they dinna deserve an extra midway ride or three anyhows.

When the OU football team spent Friday nights in OKC, they would board buses to head to the stadium. Greg Pruitt always had to have the spotlight and he would be the last one to get on the bus.

One Saturday he was late as usual so Coach Fairbanks left him. The OK Highway Patrol brought him to Norman, that kind of attention he did not want and was never late again......