HITCHCOCK — The Galveston County Fair and Rodeo is rounding its 75th lap around the barrel, but President Paul Tibaldo said little has changed since it all began in 1938.
It’s been a family tradition for Tibaldo and scores of other local families, which he reckons will remain in place for generations to come.
“The buildings and rules have changed, but the overall fun and memories you make with your family have never changed,” he said. “That is constant and will always be here. It’s just part of their life now. It’s something in their blood.”
Tibaldo began showing livestock at the event when he was 9 years old. Each of his four children participated in the fair and now his granddaughter, Taylor Tibaldo-Stroble, is showing.
His father served on the fair board. Tibaldo joined the board in the 1980s and he is now serving his 12th year as the 29th president of the fair and rodeo.
It all began with the Galveston Chamber of Commerce as a way to improve the dairy industry in the county, he said.
“Way back then it was all ranching, but all that’s kind of leaving,” Tibaldo said. “So many people don’t know where their eggs or beef come from these days.”
Now, the fair and rodeo is a means of educating young people about the importance and best practices of agriculture, he said.
“These kids are going to be feeding us sooner or later,” Tibaldo said. “They’re getting a good start here on what it takes to do all of that. These kids know what it takes to grow something out and make money on it.”
Firsthand experience is invaluable, but money has a place in the pocket, too. The event raised $58,000 in scholarships for area students last year, fair coordinator Melondy Bender said.
The event begins Friday and ends Saturday, April 21.
At a glance
• Weekend admission prices are $15 for ages 13-61 and $7 for ages 6-12 and seniors. Children younger than 5 are admitted free.
Weekly passes are available for $60 for ages 13-61 and $30 for ages 6-12 and seniors.
• Shuttle buses to the fair grounds at Jack Brooks Park will be available for attendees who park at from Gulf Greyhound Park. They will be sold at Gulf Greyhound Park.
Round trip tickets cost $3 for adults 13-61 and $1 for seniors and children 6-12. Children younger than 5 are free.
On Fridays, April 12 and 19, tickets will be sold from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and shuttles will run from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. The last shuttle will leave the fairgrounds at 11 p.m.
On Saturdays, April 13 and 20, tickets will be sold from noon to 11 p.m., and shuttles will run from noon to 1 a.m.
• Limited editions of the Galveston County Fair and Rodeo Inc., 75th Anniversary history book will be available for purchase at Ed Pickett Hall beginning Friday. The cost is $15.
75th anniversary commemorative cups, hats, coozies and blankets are also available for sale.