The Fort Bend County Fair: 80 Years of Tradition

The Fair’s carnival features rides and games for patrons of all ages.

The Fair’s carnival features rides and games for patrons of all ages.

By Barbara Magana Robertson –

September in Fort Bend County is Fair time. This year, the tradition of the Fort Bend County Fair and Rodeo will celebrate 80 years of family fun. Grab your hat, dust off your boots and head out for good music, great food and a grand time at the Fair. The 80th Annual Fort Bend County Fair and Rodeo will run from September 23rd to October 2nd at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds.

For many families, the Fair’s 10 day run is more than an event; it is a tradition passed on from generation to generation. “I showed animals here growing up, and all of my kids have shown animals here and participated in Fair activities, like many other generations of families have done,” said 2016 Fort Bend County Fair President Neil O. Yelderman. “My entire life, my mom and dad took me to the Fair at the old fairgrounds on Avenue H. As a youngster, the week the Fair was in town was right up there with Christmas and my birthday for me.”

Glen Templeton returns to the Fair as a 2016 headliner.

Glen Templeton returns to the Fair as a 2016 headliner. Photo by Bill Robertson – Magana Media.

The talented 2016 entertainment lineup has something for everyone to enjoy. “It is a true mix of musical artists that represent a wide range of music. From hot new country headliners to iconic legends, our lineup is
jammed with entertainment,” said Cindy Schmidt, Fort Bend County interim fair manager. “Our Fair works hard to bring the best for our fairgoers.”

In 1984, the Fair’s entertainment lineup included George Strait, who is still one of the hottest acts in country music. “The Fort Bend County Fair has played an important role in the community, not just as an event that brings families and friends together every year, but also in its mission to support education programs and help kids in Texas achieve their dreams,” said Strait. “Congratulations to the Fair on its 80th anniversary!”

This year’s Fair entertainment will kick off with Red Dirt music mainstay Stoney LaRue. Known for his high-energy live shows, LaRue has a huge fan base. William Michael Morgan will headline on Saturday, September 24th. Then on Sunday the 25th, the Fair will celebrate Go Tejano Day with several acts leading up to Bobby and Roberto Pulido’s evening concert. Shinyribs, whose unique onstage presence will keep the crowd entertained and rocking, will return to the Fair on Wednesday, September 28th.

The Texas Tornado, Tanya Tucker, will take the stage on Friday, September 30th. Tucker has produced 23 Top 40 albums and 56 Top 40 singles, out of which 10 have reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Her best-known songs include Delta Dawn and San Antonio Stroll. Country music’s talented heartthrob Glen Templeton returns on Saturday, October 1st. To wrap up the Fair, the iconic Johnny Lee will perform the songs we all know and love.

Mutton Bustin’ is a crowd favorite among the rodeo’s many events. Photo by Bill Robertson – Magana Media.

Mutton Bustin’ is a crowd favorite among the rodeo’s many events. Photo by Bill Robertson – Magana Media.

Funnel cakes, turkey legs, hand-dipped corn dogs and even tamales will be on the menu for fairgoers to enjoy. Wine aficionados can swirl their glasses to an assortment of selected wines in the Grapes on the Brazos wine room. The popular wine venue welcomes novice wine lovers to hone their wine tasting skills in a relaxed atmosphere.

There will be plenty of action for thrill-seeking fans. The rodeo will pack the newly renovated O.D. Tucker Arena featuring added stadium seating and side action rough stock chutes. The crowd favorite – Mutton’ Bustin – will keep fans cheering, and a high-flying motorcycle specialty act will return during the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) rodeo nights.

The livestock arenas will have grand champion moments as Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H kids compete with their livestock projects. These students range from young, first-time competitors to high school seniors who will be showing their livestock projects for the last time.

The 2015 Fort Bend County Fair Association awarded 42 scholarships and five Queen scholarships, totaling over $150,000 to youth representing high schools from all over the county. Through the junior livestock auction, art auction, commercial heifer auction and freezer sale, the Fair is committed to helping youth achieve their educational goals. Yelderman continues to look for ways to grow the auctions and be able to give back. “It is our investment in the future, and in my opinion, it is why we do what we do.”

Visit for a full schedule of events and ticket information.