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America's heartland: Guide to the 50 state fairs

From ferris wheels to corn dogs, discover the magic and fun of  an American tradition.
/ Source: TODAY

Discover the charm and fun of the state fair — a long-held tradition for states across the farm belt. There, alongside the rides and inevitable fried dough stand, the farming way of life is celebrated. Find out what's going on at your local state fair:

MassachusettsSeptember 14-30West Springfield, MA

It's not called "The Big E" for no reason! Come and experience the largest fair in the Northeast. You'll enjoy the sights, sounds and mouth-watering aromas of the fall season at The Big E. It's an extravaganza of free performers (Brooke Hogan and Taylor Hicks to name a couple), major exhibits, rides, animals, shopping and foods from around the world.

Want more? "The Big E" features a three show daily European-Style circus with flying trapeze and balancing acts. Let yourself (and hundreds of beads) go at the daily Mardi Gras parade. Immerse yourself in quintessential New England by visiting all six states — at once! Take a stroll along the Avenue of States and you'll see impressive replicas of each New England state's original statehouse; the buildings are sitting on land actually owned by that state.

New YorkAugust 23-September 3Syracuse, New York

"Gotta be there!" The New York State Fair entertained close to one million fairgoers just last year. What are all these people flocking to see? Agricultural exhibits, thrilling rides, cultural villages, a star-studded concert lineup, animals, exhibits, culinary treats and displays fill the 375 acres of entertainment. Yes, 375 acres! See live performances from the biggest names in entertainment: Hootie & The Blowfish, Linkin Park , My Chemical Romance, and the American Idols Live Enjoy midway rides and skill games. And, most importantly, savor endless amounts of mouth-watering food from around the country.

ArizonaOctober 12-November 4Phoenix, Arizona

It began as a small territorial gathering 123 years ago. Now, well, it's a much different gathering. The Arizona Exposition and State Fair is today one of the best-attended state fairs in the country. Hundreds of thousands of residents from across the state storm the fair each year. They come year after year to enjoy its foods, exhibits, and entertainment. Eat a deep fried Twinkie, pet a pot-bellied pig, and see a great concert all in the same day. Or be a farmer for a day! Kids can learn how to plow, plant and tend to the chickens in a 19,000 sq ft exhibit. Believe me; this is a real day in the life! Ride around in a mini tractor ride, orange pick, harvest vegetables, collect eggs and milk a cow. What else could you want from a state fair?

ArkansasOctober 12-21N. Little Rock, Arkansas

With over 430,000 patrons every year, it's no wonder the Arkansas State Fair is known to be an experience that will "keep you on the edge of your seat." Forget the petting zoo, and stand inches from live sharks swimming in a 7,000-gallon tank! Or watch as a diver jumps in the tank and swims with the most dangerous creature of the sea. Experience live alligator wrestling right in front of your eyes. Hold on tight! The 10-acre midway is filled with carnival rides, games and amusements and a country rodeo. Food is, of course, never ending. If that wasn't enough to heighten your senses, the fair also boasts free concerts, children's shows, and motor sports.

WisconsinAugust 2-12West Allis, Wisconsin It's that time of year again. Wear your cowboy hat and get country! The Wisconsin State Fair is filled with thousands of animals, foods-on-a-stick, free entertainment stages, and hundreds of heart-pumping carnival rides. Cheer on your favorite potbelly pig as it races for your applause. Watch jumps and bumps at the BMX Park. Or see heart pumping veggie races! You heard me; put your veggie meals on wheels and race to the finish line! Shop 'til you drop, literally, at the 200,000 sq. ft. air-conditioned Expo Center. But, whatever you do, save some cash for a finger-lickin' good cream puff.

1) AlabamaOctober 19-28Mobile, Alabama

2) Colorado
August 24-September 3Pueblo, Colorado

3) HawaiiAugust 27-30Wailuku, Hawaii

4) KansasSeptember 7-16Hutchinson, Kansas

5) MassachusettsSeptember 14-30West Springfield, MA

6) MontanaPassed

7) New MexicoSeptember 7-23Albuquerque, New Mexico

8) OklahomaSeptember 13-23Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

9) South DakotaAugust 30-September 3Huron, South Dakota

10) VirginiaSeptember 27-October 7Richmond, Virginia

11) AlaskaAugust 23-Sep 3Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Alaska

12) Connecticut
(several different fairs)

13) IdahoAugust 17-26Boise, Idaho

14) KentuckyAugust 16-26Louisville, Kentucky

15) Michigan
August 22-September 3Detroit, Michigan

16) Nebraska
August 24-September 3Lincoln, Nebraska

17) New York
August 23-September 3Syracuse, New York

18) OregonAugust 24-September 1Salem, Oregon

19) TennesseeSeptember 7-16Nashville, Tennessee

20) WashingtonAugust 23-September 3Monroe, WA

21) ArizonaOctober 12-November 4Phoenix, Arizona

22) DelawarePassed

23) IllinoisAugust 10-19Springfield, Illinois

23) LouisianaOctober 25-November 4Baton Rouge, Louisiana

25) MinnesotaAugust 23-September 3St. Paul, Minnesota

26) NevadaAugust 22-26Reno, Nevada

27) North CarolinaOctober 12-21Raleigh, North Carolina

28) PennsylvaniaPassed

29) TexasSeptember 28-August 21Dallas, Texas

30) West VirginiaAugust 10-18Lewisburg, West Virginia

31) ArkansasOctober 12-21N. Little Rock, Arkansas

32) FloridaPassed

33) IndianaAugust 8-19Indianapolis, Indiana

34) MainePassed

35) Mississippi
October 3-14Jackson, Mississippi

36) New Hampshire
August 30-September 3 Hopkinton, New Hampshire

37) North DakotaPassed

38) Rhode IslandNo state fair

39) UtahSeptember 6-16Salt Lake City, Utah

40) WisconsinAugust 2-12West Allis, Wisconsin

41) CaliforniaAugust 17-September 3Sacramento, California

42) GeorgiaSeptember 25-30Macon, Georgia

43) IowaAugust 9-19Des Moines, Iowa

44) Maryland
August 24-September 3Timonium, Maryland

45) MissouriAugust 9-19Sedalia, Missouri

46) New JerseyAugust 3-12Sussex County, New Jersey

47) Ohio
August 1-12Columbus, Ohio

48) South CarolinaOctober 10-21Columbia, South Carolina

49) VermontPassed

50) WyomingAugust 11-18Douglas, Wyoming