Kentucky State University reached thousands of Kentuckians at Kentucky State Fair
Visitors to the 2023 Kentucky State Fair found thrill rides and funnel cakes— and Kentucky State University.
Each year at the fair, the Kentucky State University Land Grant Program hosts an exhibit that showcases the great work that Kentucky State does for Kentuckians. The 40-by-40-foot exhibit is part of AgLand, a section of the State Fair that celebrates Kentucky agriculture.
At the entrance to this year’s exhibit, State Fair attendees walked under a Kentucky State University sign that felt familiar to anyone who has driven under the iconic arches that welcome visitors to Kentucky State’s campus.
Inside the exhibit space, visitors found a do-it-yourself, backyard aquaponics system that featured lettuce, aloe, cucumbers and tomatoes growing alongside koi fish. Pawpaw saplings highlighted Kentucky State’s world-renowned pawpaw research program, and raised beds showcased native, invasive and ornamental plants. The exhibit also featured an Augmented Reality Sandbox that, with the help of Kentucky State environmental educators, allowed visitors to learn about topography in a hands-on way.
“No matter which side of the exhibit people walked up to, they found something to catch their attention,” said Bailey Vandiver, acting manager of the Land Grant Program media and communications team. “They came for the sandbox and stayed for the aquaponics system, or vice versa. And so many people had a pawpaw story to share— and tried to leave with a pawpaw sapling of their own.”
Kentucky State employees also had the chance to disseminate valuable information about Kentucky State Extension, academic and research programming. Kentucky State employees handed out about 2,500 2024 calendars, featuring photos and informational blurbs about Kentucky State University, as well as fact sheets, flyers for upcoming events, nearly 1,000 copies of AgKnowledge magazine, and more.
“The Kentucky State Fair is one of the most exciting things that the Land Grant Program gets to do each year,” Vandiver said. “It’s a hands-on, informative, and fun representation of the great work that our personnel do all year long.”
Kentucky State professionals were involved elsewhere at the State Fair, such as judging contests, giving cooking demonstrations on the KDA Farm to Fair stage, or highlighting partnerships with other organizations.
View Kentucky State University’s exhibit in this video, created by Kentucky State University ag communications student Aidan Thompson.
Kentucky Secretary of State, Michael Adams, visiting the KSU display in AgLand.
Kentucky State University team prepares for the daily visitors to AgLand.