"Fair Of The Future": High-Tech Agriculture, Equestrian Center? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/17/05-Tyler

"Fair Of The Future": High-Tech Agriculture, Equestrian Center?

Antiques, livestock, the smell of corn dogs and cotton candy, and rides to make your head spin -- all part of the annual East Texas State Fair.

But will they have a place in "the fair of the future"?

Long-time fair goers say they want more.

"Our kids, they're a little bit more technologically advanced than we are," Cynthia Davis, a 40-year fair goer, said. "So they need more of a challenge."

"I would like some science, games," Ty, 10, Cynthia's son, said. "Swords or something like that. Guns, toys."

"The fairgrounds needs to expand where there's parking," Pat Metzner, manager of Antiques Plus at the Fairgrounds, said. "This is havoc for parking for the fair."

At this point, nothing is too far-fetched for the man who's leading the way to the new location.

"If you think about what a fair really is, it is representative of the whole community," C.C. Baker, steering committee chair, said.

That's why Baker believes "the fair of the future" needs to be up-to-date and modern, while keeping the traditions.

"In the cattle barns, are we going to have monitors, high-definition monitors that shows the history of the family that happens to be showing cattle?"

Another idea being tossed around is a horse arena, for shows or even racing.

"Because in our country, that is a big, big activity," Baker said. "And we want people coming to Tyler for that venue, not going elsewhere."

There's no rush to build the new fair though. After all, board members say they still have 27 years left on the lease here at the current fairgrounds. And planners say it will take at least five years to turn the woods in West Tyler into fairgrounds.

The new fair will cover 225 acres. Instead of several small buildings, developers plan to build either one or a few large exhibit halls or arenas.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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