The cotton candy machines are off, the animals with the petting zoo are back home and all of the rides have been taken down at the 77th Annual Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair.
Crews spent Sunday morning (Sept. 29) tearing everything down.
“We’re going to take this thing apart,” said Hari Paizis, one of the food vendors at the fair. “We’re going to clean everything inside and outside and put everything away.”
For nine days, it’s been funnel cakes and cotton candy, exotic animals and all sorts of carnival rides.
“Oh my gosh, it’s been so much fun,” said Mike Looper, the chairman of the fair. “We’ve had so many things going on.”
But it’s not all fun and games. The Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair also has a huge economic impact on the River Valley region, bringing in both tourists and millions of dollars.
“When we think about the numbers that come through the gate, there’s between 130 and 140 thousand people that come through the gate,” Looper said. “The economic effect is 4.3 million dollars back into the community.”
Even though organizers said they’re exhausted and ready for a break, they said they’re sad to see it all go.
“We’re tired,” Looper said. “We’re a little bit taken aback the fact that it is all over. We’ve worked so hard for it and it comes and goes. And I guess that’s what makes it special is the fact that it’s here for only nine days and you have to wait those other 355 days or whatever it is for it to come back again.”
“Well it’s always like leaving family like leaving the house when you pack up and leave after you’ve been here at the fair,” said Marcie Campbell, who was in charge of the fair’s petting zoo. “But you know I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’re just going to be coming back and you know that’s a good thing.”
Organizers said they’re already planning next year’s fair and looking at ways they can make it even better.