Fairgoers can enter drawing for free state park cabin weekends, camping gear; mobile aquarium on display at Gate 9
PRATT — The 2009 Kansas State Fair — Sept. 11-20 — offers a wide variety of sights, sounds, food, music, and other entertainment for fair visitors. This year, visitors to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) exhibit can sign up for a free weekend at a Kansas State Park cabin. In addition, representatives of the Kansas Wildscape Foundation will be selling raffle tickets for a camping package donated by the Coleman Company. The package will include a tent, lantern, cook stove, sleeping bags, cooler, and other items. Winners of the cabin weekends and camping package will be drawn by Gov. Mark Parkinson on Thursday, Sept. 17. Other state park-related items will be raffled daily.

The KDWP exhibit, located in the Eisenhower Building, will give fairgoers a chance to see replicas of state record fish, the Operation Game Thief display, aquaria teeming with dozens of fish species, and live snakes. Also, on Sept. 11, 12, and 13, the Boating Education Program will be featured, including a jet ski simulator. During the weekdays, staff from KDWP education centers will have a variety of live animals on display, and on the final weekend, law enforcement officers will have their canine partners on hand to meet the public.

More than 70 cabins are now available at Kansas state parks, offering park visitors comfortable, convenient accommodations. The cabins are built by inmates from Kansas Department of Corrections’ facilities. One newly-completed cabin will be on display at the Department of Corrections exhibit, located west of the Encampment Building at the north end of the fairgrounds near the intersection of 23rd Avenue and Ft. Leavenworth Boulevard.

In addition, KDWP will have its mobile aquarium set up next to Gate 9, on the southeast corner of the fairgrounds. The 40-foot long aquarium holds 3,200 gallons and displays many Kansas sportfish and non-game fish, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, striped bass, hybrid striped bass (wiper), bluegill, green sunfish, longear sunfish, channel catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, buffalo, common carp, walleye, sauger, saugeye, redear sunfish, black crappie, white crappie, longnose gar, spotted gar, and freshwater drum.

Viewers have a special chance to see native live fish up close, and fisheries biologists be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate fishing techniques from the aquarium’s casting platform.

For more information on the KDWP State Fair exhibit, phone 620-672-5911.