Turning the calendar to October means it’s time to dust off your cowboy boots and head over to the Extraco Events Center for the 2019 Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo.
The annual event runs from Oct. 3 to 13, with a second Sunday added this year to keep the fun going just a bit longer. Fair officials project 200,000 people to pass through the admission gates this year for the 67th fair.
“Building Bigger Dreams” is the theme this year.
“Since its inception in 1953, the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo, presented by H-E-B, has been working to build bigger dreams for our community and beyond,” said Charva Ingram, Extraco Events Center vice president for marketing and sponsorship development. “Whether you are a livestock exhibitor, rodeo contestant, scholarship recipient, music enthusiast or fairgoer, dreams are cultivated here. This year’s theme, ‘Building Bigger Dreams,’ encapsulates this spirit and encourages attendees to dream bigger at the fair and rodeo.”
Fairgoers will notice things will look a bit different as groundwork is being undertaken for the start of construction for a new multi-purpose facility. County voters passed a 2017 special bond election package so it can be built.
Great Times Outside
Munch on your corn dog and enjoy a funnel cake melting in your mouth while you wash your tasty treats down with cool lemonade or your favorite adult beverage, as you toe-tap and sing along with musicians at the Bud Light Music Stage.
The lineup this year includes: Cory Morrow on Friday, Oct. 4; Aaron Watson on Oct. 5; Sloppy Joe Band on Oct. 9, Glen Templeton on Oct. 10; Koe Wetzel on Oct. 11; and Shane Smith & the Saints on Oct. 12. Sexto Grado along with Energia Nortena close it out on Oct. 13. All of the concerts are free with a general admission ticket to the fair.
The exhibit hall will be filled with entries from beautiful handmade quilts to lovely paintings. Rows of ribbon-winning baked goods and jars of colorful fruits, veggies, jams and jellies will be on display. It’s enough to make the most domesticated grandmother proud.
Dogs, Logs and More
Returning to the fair this year are the popular wiener dog races, and the Extraco Banks Kids Zone includes the annual favorite Mutton Bustin’ Rally sponsored by Central National Bank; Pony Hop Races; Cowboy Bootcamp, presented by Texas Farm Bureau; Swifty Swine Pig Races; Stick Horse Rodeo; the HOT Sweethearts’ face painting booth and Noah’s Way Pony Rides.
The H-E-Buddy Barnyard returns with the new “Farmer Phil Show,” presented by H-E-B; Noah’s Way Exotic Petting Zoo and Edzoocation; and the nursery and birthing center, which features pregnant animals and newborns, as well as chicks hatching from eggs. This life-giving area brings out the awe in kids young and old alike, Ingram said.
“My co-workers and I like to come out to the barnyard and play with the animals before the morning crowds appear,” she admitted.
New attractions this year include an illusionist duo who will make you think twice about what you see or don’t see, and a lumberjack Olympic fair. One glance at the lumberjack ax throwing, log rolling or chain saw sculpturing might give you incentive to get the woodpile ready for winter.
Closing out the fair on Oct. 13 is the all-new One HOT Bullfight. In that event, freestyle bullfighters will maneuver around, and sometimes over, a dangerous hoofed bad boy within an allotted time to earn points toward a $10,000 cash prize.
“If you love extreme sports, you’ll love this!” Ingram said.
Know Before You Go
Because of the construction, parking is available off Lake Air Drive at the former Lake Air golf driving range site. Parking is also available by turning left onto Colcord Avenue off Bosque Boulevard, then turning left onto North 42nd street. Follow the parking signs. Handicap and VIP parking will be at the front of the events center.
“We’ve mapped out a whole plan for transportation, like golf carts and people movers, those kinds of things to get people to the gates,” said Wes Allison, president/chief executive officer of the events center.
Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo
When, where: Oct. 3-13 at the Extraco Events Center and fairgrounds, 4601 Bosque Blvd.
Cost: Ticket price is same as last year, and may be purchased online before Oct. 3 or at the box office for $10 for ages 9 and older. Tickets purchased at the gate starting Oct. 3 will cost $15. Children ages 8 and younger have free admission every day. A season pass costs $50 at the events office. The season pass may be used for multiple visits.
Carnival rides: A Funpass for $65 provides unlimited carnival rides and are available at participating CEFCO convenience stores as well as the events office.
Parking: $5 per vehicle off Lake Air Drive.
More information: www.hotfair.com.