The 27th annual Texas State Forest Festival kicks off tonight at 5 at the George H. Henderson Exposition Center with rides, food and plenty of events for the entire family.



This year's festival includes perennially popular programs such as the Southern Hushpuppy Championship, the TimberWorks Lumberjack Show and Kachunga and the Alligator Show.

Returning events include the East Texas Cheerleading Championships, the Pom-Pon/Dance Team Competition, Family Music Fest and Student Program Days.

Other old favorites include the the Show-Me-Safari Petting Zoo, Pony Rides and Swine Racers, and the Angelina Beautiful/Clean Children’s Festival.  Century 21 Shows has brought in 30 carnival rides, games and food vendors.

The Forest Festival attracts more than 30,000 people each year.  Organizers are hoping even more people will turn out this year, because the weather is finally cooling down and even showing signs of an early fall.

Gates will be open Wednesday through Friday from 5-10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets are $5 and children 3 years old and under get in free.

Carnival armbands are $20, and visitors can get $5 off Wednesday by bringing three canned goods. Thursday is dollar-per-ride night.

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