State Fair attendance up from previous year

kentucky state fair

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – The 113th Kentucky State Fair drew 44,618 more people than last year during its 11-day run, thanks to great weather, generations of family tradition, new features and events, and free admission days for seniors and military, according to fair officials.  The total number of fairgoers was 609,555.

“The Kentucky State Fair is a tradition for generations of families across the Commonwealth,” said Jason Rittenberry, CEO and President of Kentucky Venues. “We want to preserve the Fair’s heritage, while also introducing exciting new events, foods, music, entertainment and features to make the fairgoer’s experience better every year. This year was a marked success based on attendance and the response from fairgoers, including our interaction with fairgoers on social media.”

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New: Spike in Social Media
The 2017 Kentucky State Fair established a strong social media presence, resulting in record-breaking traffic. Between Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, there were over 13 million impressions, 30,000 engagements and a 100.9 percent increase in fans. More than 230,000 individuals visited the website during the Fair.

New: Kentucky State Fair App
Nearly 14,000 people downloaded the new Kentucky State Fair app, available free on Google Play and

the App Store. Popular features included the map, what’s happening, create your schedule, entertainment and concessions.

New: Express Lanes
The Kentucky State Fair introduced express lanes this year to help speed visitors with pre-paid tickets through the gates.

 New: FAIRenheit
The first annual FAIRenheit festival was held in Cardinal Stadium, celebrating all things local: the talent, entertainment, food, craft breweries and distilleries that have made Louisville famous.

 New: State Fair Record
Contestants broke Kentucky State Fair records for both largest pumpkin and largest watermelon:

  • Dwight Slone; Prestonsburg, Kentucky
    Pumpkin: 1,223 pounds; Prize: $1,223 (a dollar per pound)
  • Frank Mudd; Flaherty, Kentucky
    Watermelon: 296.5 pounds; Prize: $100

 Sale of Champions and Grand Champion Country Ham
The 4-H and FFA Sale of Champions held during the Fair raised $102,800. Youth exhibitors receive 60 percent of the purchase price, 30 percent is distributed to respective class winners, and 10 percent is divided equally among Kentucky 4-H and FFA. The grand champion country ham was auctioned off for $325,000.

World’s Championship Horse Show
Held in conjunction with the Kentucky State Fair, the World’s Championship Horse Show is recognized as the most prestigious Saddlebred show in the world. Two thousand horses competed for Grand Champion titles and the $1.2 million in prizes and premiums awarded.

Freddy Farm Bureau and the Total Eclipse Experience
Freddy Farm Bureau celebrated his 60th anniversary at the State Fair, complete with a birthday cake and cupcakes. He even joined the “eclipse party” hosted by WDRB outside the North Wing Lobby, donning his own pair of safety glasses.


Musical artists entertained large crowds with the free Turf Concert Series in Cardinal Stadium; Main Stage Concerts in Freedom Hall; and rotating acts in outside tents. All styles of music were presented – from country to hip-hop, classic rock to Christian, and rap to karaoke.

The 114th Kentucky State Fair dates are August 16-26, 2018. For more information, visit or find the Fair on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or its blog.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.