Ariana’s First Tulsa State Fair

by Michael Cooper


While most Tulsans I know have soft-hearted stories about their first experience at the Tulsa State Fair, I can’t say I remember much about mine. I hazily remember the fair as a somewhat tedious adventure at nine years-old. I didn’t really like rides, I thought fair food was just okay, and as a kid I hated to be in grungy places. But it was all acceptable if I got to come home with a movie poster. The first movie poster I remember hanging on my wall after the fair was a collage from the original Star Wars trilogy.

This night, however, was Ariana’s first Tulsa State Fair experience at age three. Ariana wailed for a corn dog until her mother, Kelsey (also pictured), finally rewarded her with one after standing in line. As we walked together through the crowds, her face exploded with amazement over the massive stuffed animals and blinking lights. To top off the evenving, a stranger on his way home decided to give Ariana and her mother some free ride tickets that he hadn’t used.

While I’ve long tolerated the Tulsa State Fair, re-experiencing the excitement of the lit-up, high-up, deep-fried fairgrounds through Ariana’s eyes made me fall head-over-heals for it all over again.

Stay tuned in to This Land this week for my upcoming photo essay on Tulsa State Fair.

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