After last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19, The East Texas Fair has made its return this fall. The fair will host a college day on Sept. 30, allowing any college student to receive free admission by bringing their student ID to the admission booth.

“I’m so excited to go to the East Texas State Fair this September since we all missed it last year,” said Apache Chief Emma Caldwell. “Whether you like the rides or not, the fair is the best place to be this time of year and I can’t wait. I am specifically looking forward to supporting my best friend in the TJC Jazz Band when they perform.” 

The East Texas Fair will be hosted from Sept. 24 – Oct. 3. Tickets and wristbands are available for online purchase at etstatefair.com. 

The absence of the fair last year had created a negative effect on not only the city, but also other local businesses and organizations. With a city economic loss of $10 million, according to the fair’s Director of Marketing Cody Rosenbaum, many were affected by this major financial impact.

“We have electricians, diesel fuel providers, you name it all depending on this event, as well as numerous nonprofits. So the Tyler Lions Club; this is their biggest fundraiser of the year. Trinity Lutheran Church; this is their biggest fundraiser of the year, it all revolves around the affair. So the economic loss was significant,” Rosenbaum said.

The East Texas State Fair has always been located in the Harvey Hall Convention Center 

parking lot, but because of renovations, a slight shift of location will take place.

“We are left with about 30% of the parking lot, which has pushed the carnival much farther South than usual,” Rosenbaum said. “So we’re actually going to have the carnival rides on  Houston Street or in parts of Mike Carter Field parking lot. So you’ll see the carnival move, but it’s not being reduced in size. We’re still bringing all the carnival rides we usually have, it’s just kind of shifted a little bit.” 

With COVID cases still on the rise, the fair has implemented safety measures like sanitizer and wash stations, as well as opportunities for vaccination while still leaving freedom of choice to participants.

“The main message is that we believe it’s your choice to come to the fair or not. We advise everyone to evaluate their own risk before coming to the fair knowing that it is a place where you could contract COVID,” Rosenbaum said. “The vaccine is still the best defense against that and we are encouraging that.” 

Some students express their excitement and what they look forward to for this year’s event.

“I cannot wait to try the different fried foods at the fair this year. That’s what I look forward to the most,” Apache Belle Ashley Jeffery said.

Despite slight changes in location and health precautions, attendees are given assurance that the annual experience will still be the same.

“For the most part, fairgoers are just going to have the same experience they usually do. We’re going to have a lot of great attractions, bringing back several that we’ve had in the past,” Rosenbaum said. “There’s going to be really cool house bands that have live music the entire time.”

Here is a list of musicians that will be performing: TJC Jazz Ensemble – Sept. 28; Darin Morris Band – Sept. 24; Mason Lively – Sept. 25; Sabrina Toole – Sept. 26; The Tuxedo Cats- Sept. 27; Ashmore – Sept. 29;  UT Tyler Jazz Ensemble – Sept. 30; Billie Jo – Oct. 1; and Low D- Oct. 2.