By Hayley Gibson
Fans of the annual Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo can expect yet another action-packed rodeo, big-name headliners, popular carnival rides and the notorious fried food this year’s.
The fair and rodeo will be held at the Extraco Events Center from next Thursday through Oct. 13 with performers for all ages and musical styles.
Fair admission is $10 and $5 for parking on the grounds. For free parking, a shuttle will go from the Bosque Square Shopping Center to the fairgrounds.
Popular bands The Beach Boys, Hot Chelle Rae, Breathe Carolina, MercyMe and The Digital Age are all scheduled to perform at the HOT concert series.
In addition to this year’s big headliners, there will be many country-music fan favorites, such as Kevin Fowler and Cody Johnson, Rodney Atkins and the Casey Donahew Band, all of which will perform throughout the fair dates on the Bud Light Stage.
For Casey Donahew, a Texas native, fair and rodeo shows are always a good time because of the crowd and atmosphere.
“I love fair and rodeo shows because they are big outside events and that always makes for a good time,” said Donahew, who also played at Baylor last September.
Donahew, who says being from Texas has shaped him as a musician, finds inspiration from both the serious and fun sides of his life.
“Everyone needs an outlet and writing songs has been mine,” Donahew said.
The Casey Donahew Band will perform on Oct. 11.
The fair and rodeo will kick off its events with the annual parade at 6 p.m Tuesday., marking the fair’s 60th anniversary. The parade is one of the largest in Waco and will run through downtown.
The All American Pro Rodeo finals will be held from Oct. 7-13 with all of the traditional events, including the fair and rodeo’s biggest attraction—Mutton Bustin’.
The rodeo is free with admission to the fair except for the final championship night on Oct. 13, which will cost $20.
The president and chief executive officer of the fair and rodeo, Wes Allison, said the staff hopes to provide a more educational aspect of the fair this year with live birthing in the livestock sections and stands to promote education about Texas agriculture.
The fair and rodeo is keeping to its tradition of country music, but also hopes to draw in fans of all ages with their diverse list of entertainment.
Among the most talked about musicians are The Beach Boys, who will be arriving in Waco following their 50th anniversary tour.
The South 40 scholarship committee in the past has raised more than $150,000 for scholarship money from the fair and rodeo, and Allison said he is optimistic that the group will match these goals again.
“There is a positive economic impact from the fair and rodeo on our community,” Allison said, “Our main goal of the fair is to give back through scholarships.”
A complete schedule of events and hours can be found at www.hotfair.com.