Do All 50 States Have a State Fair? And a few other state fair Qs.

It’s Illinois State Fair season here in Springfield. The city is, quite expectedly, abuzz. Ten days of butter cows, greasy foods, farm animals, cooking contests, junk vendors, beer tents and washed-up 80’s rock bands performing at the grandstand.

Do all 50 states have a state fair? I’m having a hard time imagining states that are mostly desert (like Nevada) having a state fair; state fairs are primarily about agricultre. Is there any agriculture in Nevada? Are there state fairs in wee little states like Rhode Island and Delaware?

Also, I note that Arkansas and Oklahoma have the Arkansas - Oklahoma State Fair in Fort Smith, Arkansas (on the OK/AR border). Cite? I’ve been there. Anyway, does each state have their own state fair plus the dual one in Ft. Smith? Or do they share the Ft. Smith one to save money?

For the states that have state fairs, where are they? Illinois’ is in Springfield, the capital. Missouri’s is in Sedalia (the capital of Missouri is Jefferson City).

Finally, I don’t understand a lot of the livestock judging. For example, last Wednesday was the day of the rabbit judging. I’ve seen rabbits before, and they all look about the same. Different colors, body shapes & sizes, yes. But what makes this 13-inch long, 5 pound black rabbit worth $7500 at auction (that’s what the grand champion went for) and that 13-inch long, 5-pound black rabbit destined for the stew pot? :confused:

If any of you Dopers are knowledgeable about these things, please help me out.

AFAIK, all states have some form of State Fair. Nevada’s, for example, is held in Reno every year. They tend to be held somewhere near the state capital.

As for the rabbits…well, if you don’t know anything about them, an explaination would be meaningless. Let’s just say that it exemlified the essential qualities of rabbit-hood. Fairs use lots of qualified judges at these competitions, and the judge everything from livestock to homebrew to quilts to “Best Arrangement of Three Twigs and a Cow Pie.” :smiley:

I love fairs!

Oklahome State Fair, Oklahoma City
Arkansas State Fair, Little Rock
Nevada State Fair, Reno
Wyoming State Fair Douglas, WY
I personally can testify that the Ohio State Fair is in Columbus; the Tennessee State Fair is in Nashville; the Georgia State Fair is in Atlanta; and the Mississippi State Fair is in Jackson. There seems to be a trend here, so I’ll go out on a limb and say that most state fairs are held in the state capital. I couldn’t find information on state fairs in Rhode Island or Connecticut (but they do mention county fairs) Hawaii doesn’t seem to have a state fair, but Alaska does, but I can’t find out where it is. I suspect it is in Nome, which along with Wyoming would break the state capital rule (you know it is impossible to get to the Alaska capital).

As to your rabbit question, I am guessing that he will be put out to stud. So don’t feel too sorry for him. :wink:

An example of a state fair that’s not really close to the state capital is the Maryland State Fair. It’s held in Timonium, which is about 40 miles from the state capital in Annapolis. 40 miles might not sound like much, but Maryland itsn’t that large a state. Furthermore, if it’s necessary to restrict the location of the fair to somewhere in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area, where five-sixths of the state’s population lives, the distance from Timonium to Annapolis is essentially all the way across the most populous area of Maryland.

Alaska has five state fairs; in Palmer, Haines, Delta Junction, Ninilchik and Kodiak. The Palmer location is the largest, though.

You’re right…40 miles isn’t much :smiley: . The State Fair of Texas is in Dallas, which is 196 miles from Austin. But it’s only 635 miles from El Paso. I don’t imagine many folks from El Paso visit the Fair.

Wisconsin’s State Fair is a bit west of Milwaukee, 70ish miles from Madison.

It, uh, sure exists, though.

So does the Delaware State Fair, held in Harrington. Can’t find anything on one in Rhode Island, though.

The New York State Fair is held in Syracuse, which is centrally located for the more rural upstate area which attends it, and about 200 miles west of Albany, the state capital.

North Carolina’s state fair is held in Raleigh, the state capital – technically on land just outside the city to the west.

We have the 50th State Fair in the parking lot at Aloha Stadium. Pretty much just a midway of rides, nothing to plan a trip to Hawaii around.

Couldn’t find an official link, but this may do:

Here’s the list to date, with state capital and fair site:

State	         Capital	Fair Site
Alabama	         Montgomery
Alaska	         Juneau	Palmer +4 others
Arizona	         Phoenix
Arkansas	         Little Rock	Little Rock
California	         Sacramento
Colorado	         Denver
Connecticut	         Hartford
Delaware	         Dover		Harrington
Florida	         Tallahassee
Georgia	         Atlanta	Atlanta
Hawaii	         Honolulu
Idaho	         Boise
Illinois	         Springfield	Springfield
Indiana	         Indianapolis
Iowa	         Des Moines
Kansas	         Topeka
Kentucky	         Frankfort
Louisiana	         Baton Rouge
Maine	         Augusta
Massachusetts     Boston
Maryland	        Annapolis	Timonium
Michigan	        Lansing
Minnesota	        St. Paul
Mississippi	        Jackson	Jackson
Missouri	        Jefferson City	Sedalia
Montana	        Helena
Nebraska	        Lincoln
Nevada	        Carson City	Reno
New Hampshire   Concord
New Jersey	        Trenton
New Mexico	        Santa Fe
New York	        Albany		Syracuse
North Carolina     Raleigh		Raleigh
North Dakota       Bismarck
Ohio	        Columbus	Columbus
Oklahoma	        Oklahoma City	Oklahoma City
Oregon	        Salem
Pennsylvania       Harrisburg
Rhode Island       Providence
South Carolina    Columbia
South Dakota      Pierre
Tennessee	       Nashville	Nashville
Texas	       Austin		Dallas
Utah	       Salt Lake City
Vermont	       Montpelier
Virginia	       Richmond
Washington	       Olympia
West Virginia      Charleston
Wisconsin	       Madison	"west of Milwaukee"
Wyoming	       Cheyenne	Douglas

Wonderful! :rolleyes: If anyone wants to save that and edit it with a good text editor so there are decent columns as they add in further data, feel free. That table supposedly lined up using the monospace [ code ] coding.

I found this directory online

I don’t see a state fair listed among any of Rhode Island’s “Things to Do or See” on their Dept. of Tourism webpage.

Polycarp your table did not include the location of the New Mexico state fair which is in Albuquerque.

Apparently the Massachusetts State Fair is synonymous with “The Big E” or The Eastern States Exposition, which I have been to several times now. It is held in West Springfield and has been for years. Like Syracuse in New York, West Springfield is as close as anywhere else to the agricultural center of the state.

They also cannily market the event as a regional thing, thereby getting a lot of visitors from Connecticut, Vermont, New York and elsewhere as well as Mass. itself.

So it appears that the following is a complete list of the state fairs that aren’t in the state capital and the distances (as nearly as I can measure with some crummy maps):

Maryland: In Timonium, which is 40 miles from Annapolis.
Delaware: In Harrington, which is 60 miles from Dover.
Missouri: In Sedalia, which is 80 miles from Jefferson City.
New York: In Syracuse, which is 160 miles from Albany.
Wyoming: In Douglas, which is 200 miles from Cheyenne.
Texas: In Dallas, which is 200 miles from Austin.
Alaska: In Palmer, which is 400 miles from Juneau.

I will give you a very brief explanation of rabbit judging (this applies to some other types of livestock and even cats). Some of this is incomplete or simplistic but you will get the general idea.

  1. Overall health is checked. The animal cannot be injured or have remains of a past injury. The judges go through a whole list of things to judge the health of the animal. These include things like the quality and health of the coat, nose condition, condition of the feet, and eye condition (not cloudy etc.). The animal should not be lethargic or unusually skiddish.
  2. The size and weight of the animal are taken. The animal is judged according to a breed “standard”. The weight should be within a certain range for its standard. The limbs, ears, body etc. are also judged against the standard.
  3. The animal that scores best on these measures and others is the winner.

It can take years of working with a given type of animal to be able to judge them. Judges have to be familiar with all of the different breeds that they judge and be able to score them accurately.

Massachusetts: In West Springfield, which is 90 miles from Boston.

The Big E is the “state” fair for all of New England, but there are smaller, more-local ones like the Topsfield Fair near Boston. None of them AFAIK use government funding.

Yes, if you were looking for a Mass. only event the Topsfield Fair is probably the biggest one. For the record Topsfield is 23 miles from Boston.

There is certainly nothing resembling a State Fair held in Boston.

Connecticut is on the Big E bandwagon (tangent: my brother-in-law took his CPA exam in the Cow Barn at the Big E) but also has dozens of local agricultural fairs each year.

For ultimate cheesiness, and no agriculture whatsoever, there are annual fireman carnivals around the state as fundraisers for local fire departments.