Fair returns to Hampton Oct. 25

HAMPTON — Racing monkeys, athletic dogs, a rhinestone cowboy, clowns, sea lions and a freak show have all the makings for a fun way to spend the day.

The Georgia State Fair, which has been entertaining patrons of all ages since 1851, is coming to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second year in a row since leaving Macon.

The schedule kicks off Friday, Oct. 25, at 4:30 p.m. with a Halloween magic show and The Marvelous Mutts, billed as a canine spectacular that showcases some of the world’s finest doggie athletes.

The rest of the fair also offers a Grizzly Experience, an exhibition of Tonk, a 7-foot-tall, 600-pound bear, and cubs Yogi and Booboo; a Banana Derby, featuring Capuchin monkeys racing on dogs; Rhinestone Roper, a showman cowboy and his horse performing stunts and tricks; and a petting zoo.

There will be clowns, a sea lion show and a “freak show.” FreakShow Deluxe is billed as a dark vaudevillian extravaganza and winner of the 2010 Hollywood Fringe Festival’s Award for Best Cabaret or Circus.

There will be a baking contest, yoyo competition and a grill-off.

Live musical entertainment is also expected to draw crowds with performers Molly Hatchet, Shane Lee, Kelly Ballard, S.O.S., Jordan Allena, Josh Thompson, The Howling Tongues and Los Nortenos De Ojinaga providing tunes across several genres.

For the folks who flock to the fair for the fantastic rides, there is a list on the www.georgiastatefair.org website that also includes height restrictions so families can plan accordingly. There are 17 “kiddie” rides and 27 “big” rides.

The same website outlines admission prices and information on ride wristbands. Parking is free but VIP parking is available for a fee. All concerts, shows and special events are included in the price of admission, which is $10 for patrons 13 and older; $5 for kids 5 to 12 and seniors 60 and older. Kids 4 and under get in free.

All active military personnel can get in for $5 with a valid identification card. Ride wristbands available for unlimited rides on the midway are $20 for any age. They are valid from opening until closing each day and are sold at the ticket booths inside the fair.

Those prices are charged at the gate. However, there are discounts available through the website.