The 78th annual Southeast Arkansas District Fair, Livestock Show and Rodeo will return to Pine Bluff in October, with an organizer expecting it will benefit the local economy. The fair will take place at Hestand Stadium Fairgrounds at 420 N. Blake St. in Pine Bluff. Activities will begin Monday, Oct. 2, and run through Saturday, Oct. 7. It features animals, games, rides, crafts and foods.
Dale Dixon is president of the Southeast Arkansas District Livestock Association, a group of volunteers who arrange the fair, parade and rodeo. He said he expects 25,000 people will attend the annual fair. Admission is $6. A complete schedule of events is available at www.sedistrictfair.com/Home/Schedule
The fair parade will take place at 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, with the procession starting at Convention Center Drive at Fifth Avenue and moving to Cherry Street.
“Everything is our special attractions,” Dixon said. “We hope for good weather and a good turnout.”
The Southeast Arkansas District Livestock Association consists of a 15-member board and represents 17 counties in Southeast Arkansas.
“We are the last fair before the state fair,” Dixon said. “The winners go to the state fair. This fair is the only thing in Pine Bluff that brings out-of-state people.”
Dixon said the Southeast Arkansas District Livestock Association partnered with the Arkansas Rodeo Association to host the rodeo. The rodeo and the fair will feature people from Arkansas, which attracts more people to the events. There used to be competitors from other states, which reduced the number of people who watched them, Dixon said.
Visitors travel to Pine Bluff, stay in hotels for four days, eat at restaurants, and shop at Pine Bluff companies. The local competitors translate to more family members attending the rodeo events and agriculture events.
“Carnivals are not like they were 10 years ago,” Dixon said. “We cannot draw a big fair like we used to. We are happy with the carnival. Big carnivals are getting obsolete.”
The 2016 fair featured record-setting numbers of milk goats and hogs.
“These kids are basically with Four H,” Dixon said. “These kids raise these animals from babies. We are entirely volunteers. We work year-round to do this fair for one week. The Southeast Arkansas District Livestock Association owns Hestand Stadium.”