By Deborah Horn

Approximately 25,000 people are expected to attend the 2012 Southeast Arkansas District Livestock Show Fair and Rodeo at Hestand Stadium this week.

According to Dale Dixon, president of the Southeast Arkansas Livestock Association, the 73rd annual event will include the fair opening Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. with Family Night. The fair continues through Saturday.

Monday, fair goers were greeted to the animal judging, however the actual carnival was delayed until Tuesday to allow vendors time to tear down equipment at a county fair and be ready for the district fair, Dixon said.

Hestand Stadium will also host the Arkansas Rodeo Association Finals with competition starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

“The top 15 cowboys in each class will compete for the title of best cowboy in the state, and it will be a wonderful show,” he said.

The annual rodeo parade also begins Thursday at 4:45 p.m. on Main Street in downtown Pine Bluff. The parade’s grand marshal will be William Michael “Will” Strachota, the young son of the late U.S. Army Sgt. Michael J. Strachota of Pine Bluff, who was killed in Afghanistan in June.

Dixon said he believes this fair will be one of their best. One reason is because of the installation of a new $20,000 LED lighting and sound system at Hestand Stadium.

Highlights of the fair include:

• The annual parade is scheduled Thursday at 4:45 p.m. in downtown Pine Bluff on Main Street.

• Armband Nights will be held 6-10 p.m. Tuesday and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday***.

• Thursday will be Student and Senior Citizens Day and the Gospel Music Talent Show will be held at 6:30 p.m. The rodeo begins at 7:30 p.m.

• Everybody’s Talent Show will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Midnite Madness will be held from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

• The Southeast Arkansas District Talent Show finals will be Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

• The rodeo final will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday as well as the crowning of the Rodeo Queen.

Details: Call Hestand Stadium at 535-2900.

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***This article has been updated from its original version to correct mistaken dates for armband night. Click here to view the correction notice.