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  1. Default State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Went to the State Fair this weekend, and had a few thoughts:

    * GRIPES to the fair upon finding out that the OKZIP giant slide will be dismantled after this fair so they can recover the space. This had become a great new tradition for my kids and me, so naturally they destroy it.

    * GRIPES to a sign that showed handicapped "premium" parking is $3. I, fortunately, do not require handicap parking access, but it steams me for someone like my uncle - a korean war vet and later-year stroke vicitim - has to pony up $3 to get access to parking spaces legally reserved for his use. Sure seems that ought to be against ADA regulations.

    * GRIPES to the unavailability of tickets anywhere other than the fairgrounds. Homeland stores will gladly sell you a ticket WITH A 30% SERVICE CHARGE, turning a (ridiculous) $8 ticket into a $10.50 ticket. GRRRR. We used to go to the fair several times a year, and grab tickets at the local 7-11 on the way out; but at $8 a pop (and a 12-year-old kid is now an "adult") and a trip to the fair is a $37 trip *just to get in the door* for a familiy of four on paved parking. Forget that multiple-visit idea.

    * GRIPES for the persistence of the idiotic Disney on Acid "Agropolis" exhibit. While the "forward area" of the Made in Oklahoma building is crammed to death with people viewing interesting exhibits, half the exhibit space is taken up by this goofy cartoon-like agriculture world that, I guess, is supposed to draw in the kids. While I saw a few in there, it looked more like wasted space to me as families just went somewhere else. It's time for this mess to GO, and give the space back to exhibitors. Guess that makes too much sense, though, eh?

    * GRIPES to two state fair employees who chased my 71-year-old mother off a *pedestrian walkway* outside the Hobbies, Arts, and Crafts building because it was blocking access to where they wanted to park one of their golf carts. Last time I checked, I was a paying guest, not a lackey.

    * KUDOS to the efforts to keep the grounds (somewhat) clean. Lots of people seen sweeping and collecting trash, etc.

    * KUDOS to what seems to be a greater number of vendors back in the Hobbies, Arts, and Crafts building, but I will NEVER forgive former director (and almost fair-killer) Skip Wegner for chasing the Junior Hospitality Submarine Sandwich booth out of the fair a few years ago.

    * KUDOS to the Cox Pavilion - the old balloon roof building - for its renovation into a pretty nice exhibit hall.

    I don't think the Fair will ever recover from the damage done to it by Skip Wegner and his band of thugs, but at least its worth visiting once...

    -soonerdave

  2. #2

    Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerDave View Post
    * GRIPES for the persistence of the idiotic Disney on Acid "Agropolis" exhibit. While the "forward area" of the Made in Oklahoma building is crammed to death with people viewing interesting exhibits, half the exhibit space is taken up by this goofy cartoon-like agriculture world that, I guess, is supposed to draw in the kids. While I saw a few in there, it looked more like wasted space to me as families just went somewhere else. It's time for this mess to GO, and give the space back to exhibitors. Guess that makes too much sense, though, eh?
    Actually fairs have traditionally been agrarian places to show off who has the best preserves, livestock etc. Exhibitors who sell bejeweled cell phone cases have been a recent addition. I think the fair needs more of the old fashioned fair attractions. It would be a better place for it. There's enough places in the mall and strip malls to buy the crappy wares that they peddle at the fair.

  3. Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Actually fairs have traditionally been agrarian places to show off who has the best preserves, livestock etc.
    Agreed, but Agtropolis is anything but a "traditional" exhibit.

    The lobby/foyer area of what used to be called the Made in Oklahoma building is crammed with (among numerous others) :

    * A Tinker AFB exhibit
    * An Oklahoma pork council display
    * Several Oklahoma vendors selling a variety of dressings, jellies, and sauces
    * A display of historic Oklahoma photographs

    And this is to name just a few - seemingly legitimate, good-for-the-state exhibitors in my view - and they're crammed in the front area while Agtropolis occupies the entire building. If you absolutely have to have something like that, move it over to the barns where it belongs.

    -soonerdave

  4. #4

    Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerDave View Post
    * KUDOS to what seems to be a greater number of vendors back in the Hobbies, Arts, and Crafts building, but I will NEVER forgive former director (and almost fair-killer) Skip Wegner for chasing the Junior Hospitality Submarine Sandwich booth out of the fair a few years ago.

    I don't think the Fair will ever recover from the damage done to it by Skip Wegner and his band of thugs, but at least its worth visiting once...

    -soonerdave
    Thanks, Dave! I was a member of Jr. Hospitality for eight years and was around when we had to make the very difficult decision of leaving, thanks to Mr. Wegner's grand plan to "modernize" (read: commercialize). As I recall, there were no forewarnings, no "incremental" lease-raising, just one month's notice to decide whether to pay the double lease. We earned our annual operating expenses from that fair, but with the double lease and other expenses they wanted to charge us, it made our time, volunteer work and hard-earned money no longer worth the effort.

    We applied to then fair chair Mr. C. Bennett, as well as Ron Norick, since Madelyne Norick had once been a JH Member and a founder of the original sandwich booth (then they only sold coffee and homemade desserts). Our appeal fell on deaf ears, however, and they were unwilling to even budge a little on Mr. Wegner's new pricing structure (had to pay for those parking lots somehow). The club has never been the same since.

    They still serve those sandwiches at the annual "Treasures and Traditions" craft and goods fair, but the atmosphere is just not the same. The fair really kept the club on the map, and our leaving was an unfortunate turning point in our history.

    Truth be told, I've not been back since those days, and don't plan to waste even a dollar of my money there. Just not my thing.

  5. Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    ParksGal

    If nothing else, your message epitomizes EVERYTHING evil and wrong Skip's boys did to all-but crucify our State Fair. Thank heavens he's long gone, but as I said in my original post the damage he did to our fair can likely never be overcome. I am so very saddened to hear how Skipboy's antics did so much damage to the JH organization as a whole. It's just plain wrong.

    When Wegner's first year of Mass Destruction at the fair took hold, I fired off a four-page letter to my councilman, the mayor, the Oklahoman, the entire State Fair board, and a local radio station about how things were being ruined, and the JH booth was PRIME in my comments. Other vendors I spoke with BEGGED someone to hear how Wegner was ruining the Fair, and I promised several people I'd do what I could, which amounted to writing that letter and at least venting.

    What disappointed me more than anything is that I I received *not one acknowledgement" from ANYONE in a position of authority. But my letter was read on the radio almost in its entirety, including the part where I suggested Wegner needed to GO.

    What *did* happen the following year was that survey kiosks were put in the fair at various locations, asking people what they thought of the "changes" to the fair, and after the results came in, Wegner quit.

    I won't take responsibility for tipping that domino, because I'm sure many people were just as if not more infuriated than I was, and I surely have no influence over anyone important. I do, however, at least allow myself the privilege of thinking I at least had a hand in the steps that led to Wegner's departure. Just wish I could have helped him pack his bags as he went back to Texas.

    Most people will never remember the 14 Flags Plaza that was just east of the long-gone 4H buildling, the beautiful cannas that lined the paths of several buildings, or the fountains because ol Skip ripped them up and concreted them closed. He may finally have "ripped his drawers" when his plans to tear down the Speedway Grandstands hit the right people in the wrong place. Who knows. I'm just glad he's gone. I just wish we could undo the damage.

    I am lamenting the loss of the Giant Slide after this year, so I'm not sure whom I have to write letters to about that. That thing is incredibly popular, filled with happy, smiling kids and long lines, so it would seem someone is making money with it...

    -soonerdave

  6. #6

    Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerDave View Post
    Went to the State Fair this weekend, and had a few thoughts:



    * GRIPES to the unavailability of tickets anywhere other than the fairgrounds. Homeland stores will gladly sell you a ticket WITH A 30% SERVICE CHARGE, turning a (ridiculous) $8 ticket into a $10.50 ticket. GRRRR. We used to go to the fair several times a year, and grab tickets at the local 7-11 on the way out; but at $8 a pop (and a 12-year-old kid is now an "adult") and a trip to the fair is a $37 trip *just to get in the door* for a familiy of four on paved parking. Forget that multiple-visit idea.

    Midfirst also sells fair tickets with no service charge. They were $7 before 2pm today but for the remainder of the fair they will continue to sell for $8. A lot better than waiting in lines at the gates!

  7. #7

    Thumbs down Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    is skip the one that took down the monorail, and the totum polls, and the gardens, and the planes, and the cabin? I thought all those where oklahoma state fair originals, they where unique to oklahoma, now we havea carnival and a flea market, what happen was this that skip person... I loved it as a kid growing up and in highschool, now i have little ones of my own and i decided to take them there, and i was very let down,, what happen

  8. #8

    Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerDave View Post
    Agreed, but Agtropolis is anything but a "traditional" exhibit.

    The lobby/foyer area of what used to be called the Made in Oklahoma building is crammed with (among numerous others) :

    * A Tinker AFB exhibit
    * An Oklahoma pork council display
    * Several Oklahoma vendors selling a variety of dressings, jellies, and sauces
    * A display of historic Oklahoma photographs

    And this is to name just a few - seemingly legitimate, good-for-the-state exhibitors in my view - and they're crammed in the front area while Agtropolis occupies the entire building. If you absolutely have to have something like that, move it over to the barns where it belongs.

    -soonerdave
    It's alot more traditional than some exhibitor trying to sell you a solatube skylight. And my kids seem to enjoy it. Maybe they should just get rid of the crap vendors and give more space to the legit vendors. I mean really, do we need someone selling used XBox games at the fair when you can stop by a local gametsop and do that without being pushed and shoved by hundreds of people in a tiny space?

  9. Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesseda View Post
    is skip the one that took down the monorail, and the totum polls, and the gardens, and the planes, and the cabin? I thought all those where oklahoma state fair originals, they where unique to oklahoma, now we havea carnival and a flea market, what happen was this that skip person... I loved it as a kid growing up and in highschool, now i have little ones of my own and i decided to take them there, and i was very let down,, what happen
    Jesseda

    A few years ago, there was a laudable effort to "upgrade" the Fairgrounds in some much needed areas, such as restrooms, general cleanup and repair, new barns, things of that natured. Tied to that effort became a desire on the part of someone (?) to "modernize" the fair, extending the basic upgrade effort into what amounts to a "re-invention" of the Fair.

    Skip Wegner was brought in from Texas (with history in various Texas public projects which I believe included, at one point, the Texas State Fair in Dallas) to manage the Fair and implement this long-range plan to modernize the fair, to break it of its "funnel cakes and corn dog image" (as quoted in the newspaper). Somehow, the notion arose that such an image was hackneyed and de classe, so Skip came in and was basically given carte blanche to rip up and reinvent the fairgrounds as he chose. As an example, rather than clean up and restore things like the 14 Flags Plaza, he simply gutted it in favor of dirt parking.

    The result was the destruction of many of the very things you cite that have ruined the traditional fair as many of us came to know it. After some discussion as noted above, Wegner resigned well before the fullest breadth of his "master plan" was implemented (fortunately). I personally believe, but cannot state categorically, that he left after realizing opposition to his broader plans was mounting beyond the point at which members of the State Fair Board could simply ignore it.

    Although the Fair will never be what it was, some of the trends I observed this year give me some hope; more vendors, a cleaner grounds, but problems still remain. I try to maintain an open mind, but the kind of damage Wegner did will take years to undo - the Junior Hospitality discussion above a classic example.

    -soonerdave

  10. Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Quote Originally Posted by traxx View Post
    It's alot more traditional than some exhibitor trying to sell you a solatube skylight. And my kids seem to enjoy it. Maybe they should just get rid of the crap vendors and give more space to the legit vendors. I mean really, do we need someone selling used XBox games at the fair when you can stop by a local gametsop and do that without being pushed and shoved by hundreds of people in a tiny space?
    I saw a few people getting their tooth bleached at the whitening station, that seemed to be a crowd pleaser since it was probably quick if you only have one or two.

  11. #11

    Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerDave View Post

    * GRIPES to a sign that showed handicapped "premium" parking is $3. I, fortunately, do not require handicap parking access, but it steams me for someone like my uncle - a korean war vet and later-year stroke vicitim - has to pony up $3 to get access to parking spaces legally reserved for his use. Sure seems that ought to be against ADA regulations.


    -soonerdave
    There is free handicapped parking on the south side. I'm sure they are required to provide some free handicapped parking, but not an unlimited amount.

  12. #12

    Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Haven't really noticed any changes at the fair over time....Food booths are still good, beer still cold and the freaky people are still walking by

    Oh and the Native American pan flute guys are still playing the same 2 songs since 1980

    Don't do rides or the exhibits outside the car show so no gripes here

  13. Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    -I found the parking to be out of control, but hey, if that many people want to come out.....at least it was free!

    -The line for tickets was HORRENDOUS! Luckily, someone met me at the gate with mine or I would have been miserable!!

    -The food was unusually good on Saturday afternoon, and everyone seemed to be having a good time there.

    -I saw that the evil clown was back in rare form, harrassing kids (albeit to a lesser degree).

    -A couple of new additions were pleasant.

    -But I noticed that the vendors have been regressing as of late....no "knife man"??!

    -Finally, there seemed to be plenty of police on hand to keep things civil (that's a good thing, IMO), but when are they going to start policing the out of control folks at the Fair?? I mean, I don't want to see a 60-year-old man groping an overweight 30-year-old woman from behind! ...Well, maybe that's not entirely true. While it sickens me to see such offensible behavior in public, I guess it wouldn't be the State Fair without it!

  14. Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Gripes- Mean people who rammed into my daughters stroller and knocked her over, I'm sorry 100 year old woman but if i was in a bad mood i would of so smacked ya! lol

    Gripe- Parking, horrendous, i was near 7-11 :|

    Gripe- Military day, my fiance gets in free, and i have to fork over money for the last 3 years i got in free with him!

    Gripe- Crap vendors, trying to sell me crappy as seen on tv stuff, why cant they get more MIO stuff those are the booths i really enjoy, i love trying the food too! THey need to get rid of the scam booths too the one that make you buy a certain amount to get this item bla bla.

    Gripe- The christian pushers. I think i came home with 100 pamplets on Jesus, i go to church i dont need you to throw it at me though!

    Kudos- The shows were fun!

    Kudos- The toyota tundra thingy? it was so fun!

    Kudos- Pork chop sandwhiches!

  15. Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Quote Originally Posted by xd0nn4x View Post

    Kudos- Pork chop sandwhiches!
    Pork chop sandwiches?

    HAHAHA!

    Click here. ***WARNING*** Not work (or children) safe language.

    I don't know why I laugh so hard at that every time I see it.

  16. #16

    Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    mister body massage MACHINE!

    glad someone else has seen those, ogts!

    -M

  17. #17

    Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    I was looking at the Fair's website and the map they have up there makes it look small. It really doesn't show any rides or any kind of 'carnie freak row' on it. I'm assuming all that goodness is still there?

  18. Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    ha ha i love that video, thats what i screamed really loud when i saw the stand!

  19. Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    "Cel-i-brate Our State, Come ON!" .....LOL!

  20. #20

    Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerDave View Post
    * GRIPES to the unavailability of tickets anywhere other than the fairgrounds. Homeland stores will gladly sell you a ticket WITH A 30% SERVICE CHARGE, turning a (ridiculous) $8 ticket into a $10.50 ticket. GRRRR. We used to go to the fair several times a year, and grab tickets at the local 7-11 on the way out; but at $8 a pop (and a 12-year-old kid is now an "adult") and a trip to the fair is a $37 trip *just to get in the door* for a familiy of four on paved parking. Forget that multiple-visit idea.
    Another reason to get a city card next year. My wife used ours at the Fair ticket office before the fair started. We got our tickets for 3.50 each. We bought 6 tickets, went twice, ate the other pair and still came out ahead.

    The city card has paid for itself several times.

  21. #21

    Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Quote Originally Posted by Stinger View Post
    Another reason to get a city card next year. My wife used ours at the Fair ticket office before the fair started. We got our tickets for 3.50 each. We bought 6 tickets, went twice, ate the other pair and still came out ahead.

    The city card has paid for itself several times.
    Where do you get one and how much are they?

  22. Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    The fair was a joke. I am so sorry I went.

    There were no rides worth considering, most people were rude, and there was really nothing that interesting (which considering it was supposed to be an EXPO, it should have been lined with stuff).

    And to think that I traveled all the way from Seattle - for that. ...

    Should have gone to Six Flags (but I held out due to the fair's reputation of old).

    Not again. Skip Wagner got rid of just about EVERYTHING I told my fiance was at the OK State Fair that made it great.!!

    What an embarrassment. At least we did smuggle some Turkey Legs back.
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  23. #23

    Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Quote Originally Posted by dalelakin View Post
    Where do you get one and how much are they?
    City Card Link

    I paid $60 for the card. It's probably too late in the year to be worth it this year, but I'm not sure when they expire or when the next one's are released. I highly recommend them, though. (and I have no affiliation to allied arts...).

  24. Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    Quote Originally Posted by HOT ROD View Post
    The fair was a joke. I am so sorry I went.

    There were no rides worth considering, most people were rude, and there was really nothing that interesting (which considering it was supposed to be an EXPO, it should have been lined with stuff).

    And to think that I traveled all the way from Seattle - for that. ...

    Should have gone to Six Flags (but I held out due to the fair's reputation of old).

    Not again. Skip Wagner got rid of just about EVERYTHING I told my fiance was at the OK State Fair that made it great.!!

    What an embarrassment. At least we did smuggle some Turkey Legs back.
    I'm just curious what rides, etc. that you thought were missing. I loved the rides.

  25. #25

    Default Re: State Fair - Some Gripes, Some Kudos

    both the city card and a fundraising staple, a book of coupons called Entertainment, are very decent values.

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