Monday, August 13, 2001

Ky. fair a stream of tunes, exhibits, . . . snowboarding?




By Lori Burling
The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — From snowboarders and musicians to exhibits on the environment, this year's Kentucky State Fair promises to educate as much as entertain.

        This year's main educational exhibit at the fair, which opens Thursday and runs through Aug. 26, focuses on the state's water resources.

        The exhibit, “2001: A Water Odyssey,” includes a three-dimensional model of a stream to teach the importance of water and watersheds in the state.

IF YOU GO
  • Gates to the fair open at 7 a.m. daily. Exhibit buildings open 9 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Tickets: $7 adults, $3 children and seniors. Parking: $3. Information: www.kystatefair.org
        “This is the only time we've had an environmental theme as the main focus of an educational exhibit,” said Stephanie Darst, educational specialist for the fair.

        In 1997, a display called Kentucky Community included information on protecting the state's natural resources, but it was not part of the main exhibit.

        Ms. Darst, whose educational background is in agriculture and history, said planning the exhibit was a learning experience. More than 20 people involved with environmental organizations throughout the state assisted in the exhibit.

        “We prepared a list of environmental issues in the state and I was amazed,” she said. “It's something that needed to be a part of the fair.”

        The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state's division of water are funding part of the exhibit, which occupies 22,000 square feet.

        An exhibit focusing on land resources will be part of the 2003 state fair, Ms. Darst said.

        Other new events at the fair include:

        • A team of performance snowboarders.

        • Cooking demonstrations.

        • An obstacle course built by the Army National Guard.

        • A petting zoo.

        Concerts at the fair have been a long tradition with Kentuckians.Country musicians Hank Williams Jr., Toby Keith and Montgomery Gentry will open the fair Thursday.

        Teen-age pop band 98 Degrees is scheduled to perform Friday, while Reba McEntire and Martina McBride will headline Saturday's show. Grammy-Award winning Alabama will close the fair.

        Concert tickets at Freedom Hall range from $25 to $40 — which includes fair admission.

        Free concerts also will be held at Cardinal Stadium. Some of the musical guests include George Jones, The Oak Ridge Boys and Willie Nelson.

        Last year's 11-day event drew 653,904 people. The attendance record is684,356 in '94.



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