LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Arkansas State Fair came to town this year with lots of changes. And with only two days of food and fun left, officials are excited about things have fallen into place.

This year may be fairing out better than most. Fair Spokesperson Ralph Eubanks said they're about 7,000 guests ahead of their record setting year in 2015.

“We have had no problems to speak of,” said Head of Security, Uriel Johnson.

“We've had about 294,000 people through the gates as of yesterday,” Eubanks said.


With only one day of rain this year and plenty of new attractions, the fair also arrived this year with a new opening day and new carnival.

"We got a new carnival here at the Arkansas State Fair, North American Midway Entertainment. They come from the Tulsa State Fair and that allowed them to get here a little earlier than our previous carnival did in past years,” said Eubanks.

North American Midway Entertainment is the number one traveling carnival in the United States. They brought 61 rides, 17 never experienced in Arkansas.

The fun started on Thursday this year. While officials admit attendance was a little disappointing, they want everyone to know that the new tradition will continue.

“For 48 years, we opened on a Friday and I think people have gotten engrained to it opening on that day. Now all of a sudden we're opening on Thursday. It's going to take people a few years to get used to it,” Eubanks said.

Security also amped things up this year with new walk through metal detectors.

"I'd say 99 percent of people don't mind doing it because they know it's for their safety,” said Johnson.

So far there haven't been any reports of violence. Little Rock police and Arkansas State Police have also increased their presence inside and outside fairgrounds.

If you go to the fair this weekend, be prepared to go through the metal detectors. You’ll need to take out your keys, phones and anything else that may be in your pockets or purse.