The East Texas State Fair — with attractions ranging from head-spinning thrill rides and sweet treats to livestock competitions and large-scale concerts — begins its annual 10-day run Friday in Tyler.

Senior Day is Friday. Seniors 55 and older receive free admission until 7 p.m.

The Senior Day program from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. in Harvey Convention Center, 2000 W. Front St., includes entertainment, refreshments, door prizes and recognition of some of the older participants, according to information from the fair.

Vendors that provide goods and services for seniors will be set up in the convention center during the program.

Seniors also can play bingo and receive free health screenings from Tyler Junior College nursing program students and instructors from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Rose Garden Center, 420 Rose Park Drive.

The first of the livestock shows take place Friday.

The Junior Heifer Show starts at 9 a.m. in the South Pavilion. Junior livestock and open livestock shows continue throughout the 10 days. A schedule of livestock shows is on the fair’s website,

New this year are concerts by Aaron Watson on Saturday and Bret Michaels on Sept. 28 in a restricted access area.

Tickets to each concert cost $30 and are purchased in advance on the fair’s website.

“We’re going to create the experience of being in the middle of a party and make the concertgoers feel like they are immersed in the action,” said Cody Rosenbalm, director of marketing of The Park at East Texas, the fair’s parent company.

Other entertainment at the fair is free and includes the Nerveless Nocks, a thrill show that features a family of acrobats performing 80 feet off the round on sway poles; Sea Lion Splash; Kardenni the magician; Duelly Noted, the singing duo of Jacy Smith and Cossondra Meyer; and Rock Bottom Boys, who perform bluegrass music and comedy.

Local bands and singers also are featured each night.

A new attraction is Discover Texas, a building filled with agriculture and food exhibits, the GO TEXAN Market of foods made in Texas and cooking demonstrations.

Rosenbalm said a patron drop-off point near Harvey Convention Center is available and that law officers on Front Street near the fair gates will help people cross the street and control traffic.

TWITTER: @Tylerpaper

Danny Mogle has covered news in East Texas for decades. He currently focuses on arts, entertainment and human interest stories and serves as the editor of Lifestyles Magazine.

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