Heart of Texas Fair & Rodeo hits Waco

The 66th annual Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo is running until Oct. 13 and will feature carnival rides, live music, tasty food and more. This year’s theme is “Fun for the Whole Herd,’ celebrating its roots in agriculture and livestock. Liesje Powers | Multimedia Editor

By Brooke Hill | News Editor

The 66th annual Heart of Texas Fair & Rodeo returned Thursday, bringing new food, music and entertainment opportunities through Oct. 13.

This year’s theme, “Fun for the Whole Herd,” celebrates the event’s roots in livestock and agriculture, as well as different events and people that attend the Fair & Rodeo, according to a press release.

Charva Ingram, vice president, marketing and sponsorship Development at the Extraco Events Center, said they always make an effort to make elements of the fair different each year.

“It’s always different in the sense of we change up the musical acts that are on the Budlight music stage and then we bring different attractions to the Extraco banks kids zone,” Ingram said. “While the elements are generally the same, we try to add in some new food vendors and just do some different things with regards to the grounds and decorations and opportunities to keep it a little bit interesting.”

Ingram said there are plenty of activities for college students to enjoy.

“Corn dogs and rides. If I was a college kid that’s what I would come out for,” Ingram said. “And then the concerts, I think those are kind of the big high points as far as some of the musical acts that we have on the stage we know draw an appeal to a large kind of younger audience, and then I think the rides are always fun.”

Nashville sophomore Anna Kate Rader went to the fair last year and loved her experience. She pointed out that it’s many out-of-state students’ first chance to experience a rodeo.

“One thing that was fun was that my roommates who were with me had never been to a rodeo before, so just seeing their reactions to everything that was going on was so much fun, and they had good food,” Rader said. “Also the concert was really good — we didn’t expect the concert to be anything special and it ended up being one of our favorite parts.”

Rader said she looks forward to returning this year.

“We’re going back on Saturday and I’m most excited to bring some of my friends who haven’t been before, and honestly, one of my roommates is looking forward to these footlong corndogs she keeps talking about,” Rader said.

On Saturday, the All American ProRodeo Finals, presented by Pendleton Whisky, will begin. The year’s top contestants compete for their share of $500,000, which will be awarded on the final night on Oct. 13. Rodeo fans will need to purchase a ticket for the first and last Saturday night. The cost is $20 each for Reserved Balcony and Reserved Mezzanine seating (all seats are reserved; there are no general admission seats); and $30 each for Reserved Box Seating, which includes general admission to the fair. Fans can catch the rodeo on Oct. 7 and Oct. 9-12 with their general admission to the fair.

The 2018 Music Zone line-up for the Bud Light Music Stage includes Kevin Fowler on Friday; Koe Wetzel on Saturday; Mike Ryan on Oct. 10; Flatland Cavalry on Oct. 11; Dylan Scott on Oct. 12; and, Whiskey Myers closes it out on Oct. 13. Admission to the Music Zone is free with each general admission ticket to the Fair.

Attendees can enter the public parking lot by heading northwest on New Road, then turning west on Colcord and next making a left on North 42nd Street to access the parking lot. This will assist with traffic flow and pedestrian safety, the press release said. There will be signs along Bosque Boulevard to provide direction for parking.

The Fair is held annually at the Extraco Events Center in Waco with close to 193,000 in attendance in 2017. For more information about the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo, visit hotfair.com.