By Desiree Johnson

Killeen Daily Herald

Workers and residents alike are gearing up for the 20th annual Central Texas State Fair, preparing to bring plenty of excitement to the area for the Labor Day weekend.

Event organizer Keith Smith has worked for the past year to bring many unique vendors and performers for this year’s event.

“We want everything to be popular for everyone,” Smith said. “My philosophy is, we don’t have to get bigger, just better.”

In addition to the traditional carnival rides and games, 80 vendors will be in attendance, as well as a hypnotist, a bike stunt team, monster truck rally and more.

The Professional Bull Riding Challenger Tour, which will be showcased Friday and Saturday night, is featuring bulls that have major credentials.

The bull, “Scene of the Crash,” which originally bucked at the fair three years ago, now returns as a 2006 finals bull.

“A first-class event is what we’re trying to do,” Smith said.

You can even catch a glimpse of Big Red, a 37-foot monster truck converted from a fire truck, or get on the monster truck ride, Sudden Impact.

The demolition derby, scheduled for Sunday, the final night of the event, is sure to be filled with surprises. “It looks like the five o’clock wrecks on the freeways in Dallas out there,” Smith said. “You just never know what you’re going to see.”

The fair has even given multiple tickets to soldiers and their families at Fort Hood to attend. Smith says that without the soldiers fighting, there might not even be a fair to attend, and anything he can do to help their families is a plus.

“If we can make them forget what’s going on with their loved ones for even five minutes, it’s a good thing,” Smith said.

The fair is expecting 30,000 to 40,000 attendees, and Smith hopes that everyone has a good time.

“I like to see people out enjoying themselves as the end result,” Smith said. “I have a 4-year-old little girl, and it’s so great to see her and the other kids’ faces light up.”

Admission tickets to the fairgrounds are $2 for adults and $1 for children. For more information, check out the fair’s Web site at

Contact Desiree Johnson at (254) 501-7559 or

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