IN THE BEGINNING
The Greater Baton Rouge State Fair started in 1965 as more of a tradeshow than what it is today. The fair served as the Jaycee organization’s main fundraising project. Over the years, it has gone through many changes in ownership from its origins with the Jaycee organization to now with the fairground’s property being transferred to the Baton Rouge Recreation and Parks Commission. Despite these changes, one thing remains the same and it is how important this event remains to Baton Rouge and its surrounding areas. After a hiatus due to Covid, the fair is excited to be back and with a new location at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center where they are excited to once again provide a place for families to have fun and, as chairman Cliff Barton expresses, “Come out and make a memory that will last a lifetime.”
WHAT TO EXPECT
Visitors to the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair can expect a fantastic time at the least. There will be agricultural shows on the weekends for local 4H kids to present their livestock as well as stage entertainment with live bands. Additionally, you can also expect a petting zoo, pig racing, and even a strongman competition at no extra cost as long as you pay the entrance fee, which is $5 Monday through Thursday and $10 Friday through Sunday. It gets better; children under 48” tall get free admission!
As if the deal couldn’t be sweetened further, there are several other things that will cost just a bit more. Rides, food, and games are also available for families to enjoy. From all the fried goodies that you typically find at fairs to traditional Louisiana cuisine, you are bound to find something to satisfy every taste bud.
THE FAIR’S IMPACT
The Greater Baton Rouge State isn’t just a place where families can go to have fun and eat good food. The impact that this fair has on Baton Rouge and its surrounding parishes is what should make it one of the premier events in Louisiana. All of the proceeds are donated by the foundation to the community in the form of grants and scholarships that mostly benefit children. Over the years, the foundation has donated over 4.5 million dollars. Also, over the years, families have kept coming back. Cliff shares how he has seen people come who came when they were children themselves. This time, bringing their own children to share in the same joys and create new memories for themselves.
The fair’s impact only goes as far as its volunteers. Being a volunteer-based event, the only paid workers are contract laborers like security, entertainment, and paramedics. Other than that, the fair relies on the generosity of the community and some have been very generous for over 50 years as they continue to come back each year and serve. If you are interested in volunteering or want more information regarding the fair, visit their website at gbrsf.com.