NEA District Fair set to open Monday

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – Staff, work crews and vendors are preparing for opening day of the 60th NEA District Fair.

Monday is the first day the fair will be open.

"A lot of people think you just come out and throw this thing up over the weekend and it's ready to go, but it takes a lot of planning," said assistant manager Mitch Johnson.

Johnson expects the crowd to set an attendance record this year.

"We average 55,000 to 60,000 throughout the week. We really expect with our new facility that everybody's going to want to come out. So we expect to break that record this year."

The fair has a new and bigger home off Highway 49.

"We encourage everyone to come out and see our new facilities. I think they'll be impressed. I know we're impressed," said Johnson.

The new main exhibit building has 87,000 square feet of exhibit space, and can hold more than 200 vendors.

Outside there are new, air-conditioned livestock facilities, and more space for rides.

Johnson said several months of planning go into the fair week, and organizers begin planning again in January for the next year.

 "By the time we tear down and put all of our equipment away it's late October. We get a couple month breather and it's time to start again."

Click here to visit the NEA District Fair web site.

Click here to visit the NEA District Fair Facebook page.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A media appreciation day was held on Tuesday by representatives from the Northeast Arkansas District Fair.

Fair Manager Jerry Reece says the purpose of this day is to thank the media for all their coverage they give on the fair's events and to inform the public of the upcoming line up.

Reece says the 2012 NEA District Fair will be taking place at the new location still under construction.

"We're going to be moving into a new facility," Reece said.  "It will be on Highway 49 North. They are doing the work on it, now.  We may not be one hundred percent, but we're going to be operable.  We're going to have the fair there this year and we'll fine tune it for next year."

Reece says the entertainment they have set up for the week should appeal to a lot of people.

"We have an exciting line up this year," Reece said.  "On Monday, we have Dustin Lynch who has a number 13 song out, right now, called Cowboys and Angels.  Tuesday we're going to  have Kip Moore, who just completed a number one song."

Reece says Wednesday will be a return of the talent show. Thursday a gospel group called The Isaacs will be performing.

Friday night will be Denny Stickland and Gene Watson will close the entertainment on Saturday.

Reece says the new location is going to have a number of advantages the old one didn't.

"The main benefit people are going to see is we're going to have a huge air conditioned building," Reece said.  "This will be for the commercial and educational exhibitors all under one roof.  It will have 80,000 square feet of exhibition space."

But the new building the exhibitors will be housed in isn't the only thing Reece says they're excited about. "In our new location," Reece said.  "We've got about 80 acres, which is a long way from the back to the front.  We've got state of the art cattle barns, a larger midway.  And talking with the midway, they're bringing in two more, spectacular rides this year."

Reece says this year's fair is going to be bigger and better than ever. "We're going to make the 2012 Fair the greatest patrons in Northeast Arkansas have experienced," Reece said.  "With our new facilities there's plenty of room, plenty of parking.  We're going to make them comfortable and entertain them in a family like atmosphere.  We're excited and ready to go."

For more information about the NEA District Fair, log onto their web site.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.