The nostalgia of the Kentucky State Fair
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Cattle, corn dogs and carnival rides, nothing says so long summer like the Kentucky State Fair and WHAS has been along for the ride since the 1950’s.
The fair looked a lot different in black and white. Curious fair-goers line up to see the World’s Fattest Twins, the Horrible Wolfman and the miniature horse.
As girls twirling batons led the marching band, thrill seekers took a wild ride on the Speedy Cannibal.
WHAS archived video shows the stars of T-Bar V Ranch at the fair in what appears to be in the early 1960’s. Host Randy Atcher and Cactus admiring the hard work of Kentucky 4-H Club members.
Covering the fair is now a rite of passage of sorts for incoming reporters but there have been some who have done it for years.
The late Fred Wiche, known as Kentuckiana’s favorite Weekend Gardner, made sure locals never forgot, quite literally, the fair’s roots.
Wiche dug deep into the efforts to keep the fairgrounds so beautiful and kept the agriculture and horticulture exhibits at the forefront of people’s minds.
He even taste-tested Kentucky’s award-winning country ham when duty called.
“That is great country ham, right here in Kentucky, for Kentuckiana's news channel, WHAS11, I’m Fred Wiche. My mother always told me don't talk with my mouth full – the Weekend Gardner," he said in the archived footage.
Barry Bernson also ventured where horses trot and pigs fly. He touring the fair's wildest rides.
“The sign says sorry, we cannot be responsible for lost articles. I wonder if that includes your lunch,” he said. "Your stomachs rolling around everywhere it's really great. You're going several directions at once. Yes. I was scared to death. Were you really? You want to go again? Yes! I don't understand that! One time you're on one side, the next you're on the other and all over and you're upside down and everything – it’s great. Kind of like life right? There must be something in the human psyche that thrills at the thought of certain death sneering in the face of impending doom,” he said.
Showing off the latest midway munchies, always a little tongue and cheek.
"What do you think the proper wine is to have with one of these?”
From the celebration of agriculture to the fried food, thrilling rides, and personalities who covered it all – the State Fair has been an important part of Kentucky tradition for more than two centuries.
Helping hundreds of thousands say 'goodbye summer' every year.
This year's Kentucky State Fair is Aug. 17 through Aug. 27.