Tulsa State Fair: 75 Years Of People, Food And Fun

Friday, September 28th 2012, 6:22 pm
By: News On 6

Editor's note: We're about to move into a new building, so we're taking inventory of everything in our current one. We've found all kinds of interesting old stories and we're sharing the best of them here.

The Tulsa State Fair is 75 years old. It provides some great people watching and - most importantly - is the temporary home of the world's smallest horse and the world's largest pig,

This year's Fair began Thursday, and with the weekend coming up we have fired up the "way-back" machine to visit fairs of yesteryear.

We have some film from the Fair of 1949. Livestock and farm equipment were the focus back then, and Yale Avenue was way out in the country.

They built the Expo Center, now the QuikTrip Center, back in 1966

Back in the 60s they'd crown a dairy princess every year at the Tulsa State Fair. Believe it or not, it was an honor to be the dairy princess.

For a time the Fair's television commercials were clever if sometimes a bit politically incorrect. One advertised the Orient Expressed with "Ah, honorable grasshopper."

Can't remember that one, maybe a tip of the hat to all the Kung Fu movies. They were none-the-less always entertaining.

A good news-bad news story every year, there are always more people that want to park than there are parking places to put 'em in. In 1983, the fair lost 12 acres of parking to Big Splash. Then they lost 700 parking places to a new race track in 1988.

The Fair's been juggling parking spaces probably since it began. There's plenty of room on the midway, not for cars but people.

Out of school for a day at the fair in 1983, students were having fun. Eddie and the Eclectics performed in 1981.

In 1984 reporter Sam Baker uncovered some world's smallest horse shenanigans on the midway. There was not one, not two but three "World's Smallest" horses: Tiny Tina, Little Thimble and Smidgeon.

"During the fair we really don't have time to be trotting our horses around and comparing 'em," a man on the midway said.

Here's another hard-to-believe fair fact: midway food is not all that healthy. In 1984 we took registered dietician Karen Kapers along looking for lunch.

Italian sausage: too much sodium. Fajitas: not bad. Corn dogs?

Reporter: "Everybody eats 'em, but are they good for you?"
Dietician: "There are real favorite, but they're real high in fat, the best thing about them is the stick."

Wonder what they'd think about Fair food today? I'm getting hungry. Candy apple anyone?