BELTON — The 27th annual Central Texas State Fair starts today and runs through Sunday at the Bell County Expo Center.
Fairgrounds will include the Reed Exposition Midway Carnival with rides, booths and food. Specialty shows include the Mark Riggs thrill show, hypnotist Erick Känd and the Lonestar Action Sports Team.
Fairgrounds open at 5 p.m. today and at noon Saturday and Sunday.
They will remain open until midnight each night.
Throughout the weekend, Texas artists will perform. Kevin Fowler, Wade Bowen, Curtis Grimes and the Casey Donahew Band will be performing “red dirt,” Texas music.
A new aspect of fair music this year is the inclusion of Tejano band Grupo Siggno.
Most of the groups will perform in the evening after the bull riding events.
Grupo Siggno performs at 1 p.m. Sunday.
“We’ve added the Tejano music this year. We’ve had some call for it,” said Keith Smith, fair manager. “We think it will do well. It’s something new to the fair and we’re really excited about it.”
The Professional Bull Riders Touring Pro will be at the Expo Center on Saturday and Sunday, bringing in some of the top bull riders from Canada to Brazil. The Professional Bull Riders began with 22 people in Phoenix in 1992.
“All the international stars will be here,” said Charlie Throckmorton, PBR announcer. “It’s not rodeo; it’s a sport.”
Bull riding champion Mike Campbell will be at the show, along with other notable riders. PBR Touring Pro will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
In recognition of the many military personnel who live in Central Texas, a special tribute dinner for Fort Hood leadership and fair sponsors will take place in the Spur Suite before the PBR Tour on Saturday. The military appreciation night also will give military personnel reserved seats at the rodeo and for the live music.
“What our goal has been and continues to be and will be again this year is to make sure that we do something special for those soldiers and their families that are here and especially those families whose soldiers are deployed,” said Jay Taggart, chairman of the Military Affairs Committee for the Belton Chamber of Commerce.
“We want them to know that we say thank you in a very small way,” said Smith, who said 1,500 general admission tickets would be given out Saturday and Sunday night for military personnel and their families through their units.
Beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, 4-H and FFA youth stock shows will begin. Categories include heifers, steers, goats and lambs. Sponsors for the lamb and goat shows have promised sponsorship money to the champion animal in each category, along with a trophy belt buckle. Youths from all over the state of Texas will be participating in the show.
A complete schedule of state fair events can be found at centraltexasstatefair.com, and information is available at 1-866-EXPO-FAIR. Admission to the fairgrounds is $8 for adults. Children 12 and younger are admitted for free.
PBR Tour tickets are sold separately, but include fairground admission. Tickets can be purchased at the Bell County Expo Center, Texas Box Office outlets, H-E-B on 31st Street in Temple and by phone at 512-477-6060.