Jaycee Littleton, of Simms, said she was happy to be celebrating her 14th birthday Thursday with her 4H chapter at the East Texas Fairgrounds.
Jaycee, a member of the Bowie County 4H Chapter, is showing her 2-year-old heifer, "Dumpling," at the Junior Beef Heifer Show on Friday and Saturday. Her team brought 20 heifers to the fairgrounds Thursday to set up for the shows.
"We have 475 heifers coming in today," Denise Weaver, director of livestock said. "There will be over 90 4H and FFA chapters coming out throughout the fair. We are expecting over 1,800 livestock animals at the fair to include heifers, steers, dairy cows, swine, lambs, brahmans, rabbits and goats."
The fair officially begins its 10-day run at 9 a.m. Friday with the Junior Beef Heifer Show. Friday also is Boomers and Seniors Day, with activities planned all day at the Rose Garden Center and Harvey Convention Center. The midway opens at 4 p.m.
There are a number of new shows and exhibits at this year's fair, including the myotonic, or fainting, goats, which will be shown for the first time at the fair at 5 p.m. Monday. The goats are bred with a genetic disorder that makes them become stiff and faint for approximately 10 seconds when they are stressed or frightened.
Another new exhibit is the Miracle of Life Birthing Center, which gives fair patrons an opportunity to learn animal husbandry, the birthing process, veterinary science and the responsibilities of owning pets.
Cody Rosenbalm, East Texas State Fair director of marketing, said the Knebel family travels around the country to do this exhibit. They partnered with Richie's Dairy in Rusk to breed seven cows, so they would be ready to give birth during the fair.
"The exhibit will run the duration of the fair under a tent in the heart of the fairgrounds, and it will depend on Mother Nature (as to) when the calves will be born," Rosenbalm said. "This is a way for us to showcase our values of educating the public on all aspects of agriculture production."
Sword swallower Dan Meyer also will entertain crowds. He is a seven-time Guinness World Record holder, has been on "Ripley's Believe It or Not" and was a Top 50 Finalist on NBC's hit reality show America's Got Talent. Meyer provides a comedy performance with live stunts, motivational speaking and science.
Other first-time shows include Animal Cracker Conspiracy's Stilt Characters and Giant Puppet Characters, Extreme High Dive Show and the Conjurer, a classic automated fortune machine brought to life and inspired by the Tom Hanks film, "Big,"
Each night will feature a free concert.
Students younger than 18 can enter the fair for free from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 26 to 28. College students with a valid student identification card can attend for free from 4-7 p.m. Thursday.
The East Texas State Fairgrounds are at 2112 West Front St. in Tyler.
Visit etstatefair.com for full schedule of events and to purchase tickets in advance.
If you go
Youth ages 6 to 12: $6
Children 5 and younger: Free when accompanied by an adult ticket-buyer
Parking lots are administered by the Tyler Lions Club, and all proceeds benefit their organization. Parking in the Purple, Green, Orange and Red parking lots is cash only. Free parking is available along the streets, where drivers are asked to observe normal parking laws.
Weekdays: 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Weekends: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Weekdays: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Weekends: Noon to 11 p.m.
CARNIVAL RIDES & WRISTBANDS
Wristbands are sold each day, are valid for one day and allow the owner to ride all the rides for one price. Wristbands purchased online from the East Texas State Fair website can be redeemed any one day. On both Saturdays during the fair, wristbands are valid from noon to 5 p.m. After 5 p.m. individual ride coupons can be purchased at the carnival ticket booths (vaild until close -- 11 pm).
ACCEPTED FORMS OF PAYMENT
The fair accepts cash and credit and debit cards. ATMs also are present at the north entrance near Harvey Convention Center.