63rd annual Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo begins Thursday Night

The Heart O' Texas Fair opens is gates on Thursday afternoon for carnival games, fried foods, and livestock show. The fair will continue until Oct. 17 at 4601 Bosque Blvd, Waco, TX 76710 at the Extraco Events Center in McLennan County. Photo credit: Trey Honeycutt

By Rachel Leland, Reporter

The 63rd annual Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo will kick off Thursday night at the Extraco Events Center.

The fair officially opens Friday afternoon, but on Thursday visitors have a chance to do a Sneak-A-Peak and see what is going on at the fair before the gates open on Friday. Gate admission is at a discounted price of $5 for the Sneak-A-Peak.

Regular gate admission is $10, and on Saturday military service people with a Military ID will get free gate admission. Throughout the event, the first 500 people who come through Gate 2 will receive free gifts provided by private sponsors, including H-E-B, which is presenting the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo.

Fans of Texas country will have chance to see acts including Aaron Watson and Whiskey Myers for free with the purchase of gate admission.

In addition to the traditional carnival rides and midway attractions, the fair will feature competitive events such as the livestock show and the “Academic Rodeo,” a series of academic competitions including a spelling bee and a math bee.

The 2014 All American ProRodeo Finals begin on Saturday Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. The rodeo events include steer wrestling, bull riding, team roping and the calf scramble and mutton bustin’.

The rodeo features the top 30 contestants in each event who will compete in the finals for more than $500,000 in prize money at the championship.

This year’s fair features several brand new attractions for the children in the Kid Zone.

“We focus on being a family friendly event and we have a little bit of something for everyone,” Charva Ingram who is Vice President of Marketing and Sponsorship Development for the Heart O’Texas Fair and Rodeo said.

The events are mostly animal exhibits and include the Grizzly Experience, the Aussie Kingdom and a live shark tank.

On Sunday, the fair will serve a complimentary pancake breakfast at 9:30 a.m. followed by a Church service at 10 a.m.

The fair is dedicated to giving back to students and youth in the Central Texas Area. The Fair raises around $250,000 in scholarships for Central Texas students, Ingram said.

Ingram also mentioned the fair’s efforts to make attending easier for Baylor students. “We partnered with Uber. Uber has offered a 20 percent discount coming and returning from the Baylor area,” Ingram said.