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The Oklahoman

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Oklahoma State Fair offers wild encounters

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Jessica Blair Fowlkes, with Liberty Riders, shows horse training skills at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday. 

Jessica Blair Fowlkes, with Liberty Riders, shows horse training skills at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday. 

Clad in scuba gear, a man swims closer and closer to a live shark. Hundreds of feet away, a woman cracks a whip as a horse gallops around an arena. In the distance a chainsaw's engine revs as sawdust flies in the air.

Visitors to the Oklahoma State Fair can experience all these sights and sounds daily.

After passing through the gates and past the food stands and carnival rides, fairgoers can enjoy a number of free attractions scattered throughout the State Fair Park, including concerts, the Swifty Swine Racing Pigs and a car show.

But look a little more closely and you can find shows a little more on the wild side.

At the Live Shark Encounter, visitors can watch as handlers swim with nurse sharks in a tank at the park's bandshell.

For those looking to spend some time with animals of the four-legged, land-going variety, several shows are scheduled at the Oklahoma Frontier Experience.

Their first time at the fair park this year, Mr. Bojangles and Jerry Thornton will put on a show. Visitors can hear the story of Mr. Bojangles, a black stallion rescued during Hurricane Katrina, and watch as he dances, bows and walks around on two legs.

Visitors also can watch trick rider Madison McDonald Thomas, a seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo entertainer, and her horse, Magic in Motion. Liberty Rider Jessica Blair Fowlkes will wow audiences as she performs trick riding and liberty exhibition with her horses.

A little bit of the Old West comes alive as visitors tour the Oklahoma Frontier Experience. On site are blacksmiths, a chuck wagon cooking display and a Scottish soap maker, who uses a 200-year-old family recipe and a fifth-generation iron soap pot to make Scottish lye soap.

For future rodeo stars, Mutton Bustin' is back at the OK Kid's Corral. Children ages 4 to 6, weighing up to 60 pounds, can show off their skills riding sheep.

While you can't take the animals with you, you can take an animal sculpture made nearby at Don's Chainsaw Creations. Watch the sawdust fly as Fernando “Don” Dulnuan sculpts logs and stumps carefully into a variety of animals with his chainsaw each day.

A short walk nearby, fairgoers can catch the free Zoppe Family Circus in its last year at the fair park. The family friendly event is held multiple times daily inside a 500-seat tent.

Starring Nino the Clown, played by sixth-generation circus performer Giovanni Zoppe, the show features acrobatic feats, equestrian tricks and all the entertainment that goes along with a one-ring circus.

For more information about the attractions going on at the fair through Sept. 23, go to https://okstatefair.com/schedule.

Related Photos
<p>A musician plays for the crowd waiting to see Zoppe Circus at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday. [Photos by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman]</p>

A musician plays for the crowd waiting to see Zoppe Circus at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday. [Photos by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c0b0c02891f9526dd687eb694189b98d.jpg" alt="Photo - A musician plays for the crowd waiting to see Zoppe Circus at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday. [Photos by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman] " title=" A musician plays for the crowd waiting to see Zoppe Circus at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday. [Photos by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> A musician plays for the crowd waiting to see Zoppe Circus at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday. [Photos by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-dc39df8d755d941e50ea45412453dd58.jpg" alt="Photo - Sunny Fox plays in a bubble in front of the Lathe Soap Shop at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  " title=" Sunny Fox plays in a bubble in front of the Lathe Soap Shop at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  "><figcaption> Sunny Fox plays in a bubble in front of the Lathe Soap Shop at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3810e33267b5d38f89942d10a33fafb5.jpg" alt="Photo - Donna VanDusen, of Oklahoma City, enjoys roasted corn at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  " title=" Donna VanDusen, of Oklahoma City, enjoys roasted corn at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  "><figcaption> Donna VanDusen, of Oklahoma City, enjoys roasted corn at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c967048c4b1ef22a4aff6432268e623c.jpg" alt="Photo - Jessica Blair Fowlkes, with Liberty Riders, shows horse training skills at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  " title=" Jessica Blair Fowlkes, with Liberty Riders, shows horse training skills at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  "><figcaption> Jessica Blair Fowlkes, with Liberty Riders, shows horse training skills at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ba25644375f3a68d8724d4085887370e.jpg" alt="Photo - Giovanni Zoppe entertains the crowd waiting to see Zoppe Circus at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  " title=" Giovanni Zoppe entertains the crowd waiting to see Zoppe Circus at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  "><figcaption> Giovanni Zoppe entertains the crowd waiting to see Zoppe Circus at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b9367eb59ad807e7a9185cb675c68b63.jpg" alt="Photo - Gay and Jerry Gayer, Weatherford, ride rental scooters at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  " title=" Gay and Jerry Gayer, Weatherford, ride rental scooters at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  "><figcaption> Gay and Jerry Gayer, Weatherford, ride rental scooters at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-5a2f617080f8facb905552bb662b6d60.jpg" alt="Photo - Fairgoers ride the giant Ferris Wheel at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  " title=" Fairgoers ride the giant Ferris Wheel at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  "><figcaption> Fairgoers ride the giant Ferris Wheel at the Oklahoma State Fair on Thursday.  </figcaption></figure>
Josh Wallace

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