The 2016 Arkansas State Fair Lineup

The fair has most of the same rides every year but they're still fun.
Amanda Galiano

Fall means many things, but one things Arkansans look forward too is the Arkansas State Fair.  Every year, the fair tries to bring in bigger and better entertainment.  You can get free gate admission and parking from 11:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m. on week days and discount tickets are available.

The 2016 Arkansas State Fair has a great lineup of entertainment.  The announced acts include a wide variety of musical styles. 

Bret Michaels, former member of the band Poison, is playing on Friday, October 14.

Rick Springfield is playing at 8 p.m. on October 18.  He became famous in the 1980s for his song "Jessie's Girl." 

Clint Black is performing at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 20.  This popular country music singer and songwriter has been around since the late 80s and had many billboard topping songs including "Killin' Time" and "When My Ship Comes In."  Other counrty music stars on the schedule include

Mystikal is performing at 7 p.m. on October 16.  Mystikal is a rapper who reached famed in 1990s and 2000s with songs like "Y’all Aint Ready" and "The Man Right Chea." 

Blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepard will be performing at 8 p.m. on October 21.  He holds the record for the longest-running album on the Billboard Blues Charts with "Trouble Is..." in 1996.

Other artists include R&B artists Al B. Sure, country music singer Collin Raye, R&B group After 7 and rock bands Trapt and Saliva. 

All concerts are free with fair admission, however you can get "upgraded" admission for a little extra.  Upgrade admission won't help you hear the show better. You can hear it anywhere in the general admission area.  It can lead to a more comfortable seating area and a better view, but the premium seating can be a little crowded, depending on the show.  Premium seating can be purchased in advance and starts at $15.

Unless you're a really big fan, I don't think premium seating is really worth it. The shows are not held at Barton Coliseum, the bull riding is.  The acoustics aren't any better in the premium seating, because it is an outdoor venue. The premium seating is general admission and I actually find it more comfortable to sit a bit further back, where people aren't as pushy.  However, if you're a big fan, you can get a bit closer with the premium seats.

Aside from the musical acts, there are a few animal shows for kids.  This year, Wolves of the World will be there with a rescued wolf pack.  The livestock show will be continued throughout the fair.  They various competitive creative arts events will also be on display. 

The Arkansas State Fair used to be the Arkansas State Fair and Rodeo.  If you want to witness a rodeo these days, you'll have to settle for professional bull riding.  The PBR (professional bull riding) competition, Ridin' in the Rock, is October 21-22 at 7:30 p.m. in Barton Coliseum. Admission stats at $10. It's a pretty popular event, so they suggest getting your tickets in advance. There's a slight discount for tickets purchased before October 20.

Another fun event is the opening parade. Parade floats representing the fun and theme of the Arkansas State Fair, including some of the livestock and marching bands, will be on display Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 10 a.m.  The parade route starts at 2nd Street in downtown Little Rock and finishes at Capitol Avenue.  The Fair does give prizes for parade floats, bands and wagons. 

Full Schedule:

  • October 14 at Bret Michaels
  • October 15 at 6:30 p.m.: Trapt and Saliva
  • October 16 at 7:00 p.m.: Mystickal
  • October 18 at 8:00 p.m.: Rick Springfield
  • October 19 at 8:00 p.m.: Al B. Sure
  • October 20 at 8:00 p.m.: Clint Black
  • October 21 at 8:00 p.m.: Kenny Wayne Sheperd
  • October 22 at 6:00 p.m.: Collin Raye
  • October 23 at 6:00 p.m.: After 7

The fair isn't just special events and competitions. It's two full week of fair food, rides and games.  Fair admission is $2.99 to $5.99 when bought in advance.  You can buy ride armbands almost everyday, and discount tickets are available at most Walgreens locations.


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