South Texas State Fair

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South Texas State Fair
Genre State fair
Begins late March - March 26, 2015
Ends early April - April 5, 2015
Frequency annually
Venue I 10
Location(s) Ford parkBeaumont, Texas 77705
Coordinates 30°0′35.68″N 94°10′50.78″W / 30.0099111°N 94.1807722°W / 30.0099111; -94.1807722Coordinates: 30°0′35.68″N 94°10′50.78″W / 30.0099111°N 94.1807722°W / 30.0099111; -94.1807722
Country  United States of America
Years active 1907 (1907)-present
(Canceled 2005, 2008 - Hurricane Damage)
Founded 1907
Founder City of Beaumont
Attendance Estimated 500,000[1]
Member Texas Association of Fairs and Events
Sponsor Young Men's Business League (YMBL) since 1942
Website
www.ymbl.org

The South Texas State Fair is an annual regional state fair held in Beaumont, Texas. The fair features a livestock show, a commercial exhibition, and a carnival Midway. Food concessions are a major attraction of the fair. Reflecting Beaumont's location in Southeast Texas, normal carnival foods can be found alongside barbecue, Tex-Mex, and Cajun foods (often including fried alligator).

As of 2009, the South Texas State Fair had an attendance of over 500,000 people, second in the state to the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.[2] The fair is held annually in late March to early April.

History[edit]

The South Texas State Fair traces its roots to the first confirmable fair in Beaumont, held in 1907. With the exception of cancellations in 2005 and 2008 because of Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike respectively, the fair has continued every year since. It was first known as the Beaumont Fair, then the Southeast Texas State Fair, and in 1921 just the South Texas State Fair. In 1942, operation of the fair was transferred to the YMBL (Young Men's Business League), a local non-profit civic improvement organization.

While other state fairs, including the larger State Fair of Texas, were closed for the duration of World War II, the South Texas State Fair continued as the "YMBL Victory Fair". The YMBL states that this was in part on request from the US military as an attempt to improve morale of soldiers stationed in and near the Beaumont area.

After the war, the fair continued. In 2004, the South Texas State Fair moved from the Beaumont Fairgrounds on the east side of the city to Ford Park on I-10 on the west side.

The 2005 fair was cancelled due to the extensive damage that Hurricane Rita inflicted on the region; It returned in 2006. Due to Hurricane Ike and the hurricane relief staging centered in Ford Park, the 2008 fair was canceled.

The fair resumed in March 2009, marking a permanent schedule change from fall to spring. Reasons stated for the change included better weather, lack of competition from football, and a better fit for midway ride provider Bill Hames Shows.[3]

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