5 THINGS TO KNOW: Annual Pittsburg County Free Fair coming again soon

KEVIN HARVISON | Staff file photoChildren flock at the opportunity to pet a rooster during last year's Pittsburg County Free Fair.

Gail Kendrick with the Pittsburg County Free Fair details the upcoming event in McAlester.

1. What is this event and when did it start?

Pittsburg County Free Fair was first held in 1910. Our county fair was also the first Free Fair held in the state of Oklahoma.

2. What was the inspiration behind this event?

The Fair board wants to offer an opportunity to our 4-H, FFA, FCCLA members and the citizens of our county a means to experience recognition of their abilities through exhibits representing cultural arts, personal development, segments of production agriculture and livestock production with their project exhibits. Through their projects, these individuals have the opportunity to learn valuable lessons that would include being responsible, how to convert resources into a marketable product and increase awareness of the economic factors relating to their project.

3. What will happen at this event?

There are several activities to enjoy from the Aggie Olympics on Thursday to the Livestock Shows on Saturday Morning. The Exhibit Hall will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m to 5 p.m. on Saturday in the Expo. The Heart of America Carnival is returning this year and will be in operation from 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday; 6 p.m. - 11 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. - 11 p.m. on Saturday. Armbands for a evening of endless rides costs $25 and individual ride tickets can also be purchased. 44 Rodeo Company will conduct an Open Rodeo on Friday and Saturday with Mutton Busting starting at 7 p.m. and the Rodeo begins at 8 p.m. Gate admission for the Rodeo is $7 for adults, $5 for youth 5-12 and children under 4 get in free. The Youth Day activities begin at 9 a.m. on Friday and includes demonstrations by the McAlester Fire Department and the Pittsburg County Sheriff's Department. The participants will also enjoy performances by Magician Marty Westerman. This year, for the first time in a long time there is a Petting Zoo on Friday and Saturday mornings in the Hopper building. A Free performance by Magician Marty Westerman on Thursday evening that begins at 5:30 in Room 101 of the Expo. A Talent Show starts at 6:30 pm on Thursday and has categories ranging from 3 years of age through adults. Entry fee of $5 for individual acts and $10 for group acts with all entry fees being paid back to the winners. There are Judging Contests, a Tractor Driving Contest, poultry exhibits, Arts and & Crafts booths, several vendors with great food and much, much, much more.

4. What impact does this event have on the community?

Through participation of this event, our community will benefit from life skills learned such as leadership, interaction with others and financial budgeting through their many projects areas, which will yield better citizens for tomorrow. Last year there were 1,506 exhibits and judging contest entries by over 287 exhibitors in the youth divisions and 165 exhibits by 144 exhibitors in the open divisions.

5. How can someone get involved?

Entry forms and Fair Catalogs can be pick-up at the OSU Extension Center at 707 West Electric Street in McAlester. Non-animal entries will be taken on Tuesday, Sept. 3 from noon to 7 p.m. in the Expo.

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