, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

March 26, 2014

YMBL Fair kicks off Thursday

BEAUMONT — Thursday’s forecast may call for rain, but  YMBL South Texas State Fair officials aren’t going to let that put a damper on nine days of family fun at Ford Park.

And, by the weekend, with a slight chance of rain forecast for Friday and Saturday, and sunny skies predicted for Sunday, fair organizers are expecting big crowds.

This year’s fair, the 71st, is scheduled from March 27 to April 8, and features all the thrills that Southeast Texans have enjoyed for seven decades, and come to expect from the state’s second largest fair.

Bill Collins, of Nederland and this year’s fair chairman, said approximately 1,000 YMBL volunteers have put in countless hours to make this year’s fair a success.

“This is something we’ve worked on all year long, and we are finally to the point of opening,” Collins said. “It takes everybody we can get to put it on. We are the second largest fair in Texas, and one of the largest in the U.S. only run by volunteers.”

From championship rodeo, to midway rides, a quilting show, fair foods, arts and crafts, and entertainment, just to name a few, the annual fair offers something for everyone.

“We are looking forward to it and praying for good weather. I think everybody is ready to come out and have a good time. Everybody has been cooped up for so long this winter,” Jessie Gonzales, YMBL president, said.

Opening ceremonies are scheduled to officially kick the fair off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, just a half hour after the Carnival Americana Midway opens at 5 p.m. Those attending the kickoff get in free Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  

New this year to the carnival midway is the Circle of Death, a daredevil of a ride for a motorcyclist circling inside a dome.

“We’ve never had this before and are looking forward to it,” Gonzales said.

Unlimited carnival ride wristbands are available for $20. Individual ride tickets are $1 or a strip of 24 for $20. Carnival Hours start at 5 p.m. daily Monday through Thursday; at 4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday.

This weekend starts off with Pro Rodeo beginning at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 28 and 29, at Ford Arena. There, some of the top cowboys and cowgirls in the nation compete for prizes. Admission is free with a general admission ticket purchased on the day of the rodeo.

Saturday is Kids Day, those 17 and younger get in free from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Rides for 17 and under are $2.

Sunday is Senior Day. Fairgoers 60 and above get in free from noon until 5 p.m. Seniors can enjoy free Ferris wheel and merry-go-round rides from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

The School Art, Quilt and Photo Show is scheduled daily in the Ford Exhibit Hall along with the HEB Kids Fun Zone. The all-new kid-friendly attraction features carnivals rides for the younger set along with fair food, games and a petting zoo. Camel rides are $5; horse rides, $5.

And, who can resist the scrumptious smell of fair foods? From fried green tomatoes, to stuffed dill pickles, donut burgers and longtime favorites such as funnel cakes, corndogs and cotton candy, there are plenty of food booths offering something for even the pickiest of palates.

Craft vendors will also have their wares out for purchase daily.

Fair admission for adults is $8, students $4, and Senior citizens age 65 or older get in for $4.

For more fair information and a complete schedule of events visit


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