As the summer sun goes down, the lights go on at Pennsylvania's 108 Agricultural Fairs. Fairgoers are busy making their checklists. They want to be sure they don't miss an opportunity to taste their favorite fair foods, try their hand at the hay bale toss, and of course, hug their favorite farm animals, which is always at the top of my list! If you're looking to get up close and personal with a slice of rural America, a Pennsylvania fair is one of the best places to do so. Here are the top 5 reasons you should go to a county fair:
There's no shortage of great food at your local fair. These classic fair food staples can be found at most fairs: funnel cakes, candy apples, deep-fried Oreos, the list goes on and on; but many Pennsylvania fairs feature their own special delicacies. The Kimberton Fair makes its own doughnuts, and the milkshakes at the Manheim Community Fair are out of this world! Haluski (cabbage and noodles) is served at the Wyoming County Fair, and ice-cream-topped monkey bread is on the menu for dessert at the Huntingdon County Fair. Red-velvet funnel cakes are a sweet feature food at the Centre County Grange Fair, and the ox roast and maple milkshakes at the Crawford County fair are fan favorites.
Farm friends: cows, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, and llamas all in one spot. Everywhere you turn there's a great selfie opportunity with one of your favorite four-leggers, cuteness overload!
The best of agriculture is on display at the fairs, they're a showcase for farm products, local artisans, and culinary traditions where locals vie for bragging rights for the biggest pumpkin, prettiest quilt, and best tasting apple pie!
Rodeos, frog jumping contests, tractor pulls, demolition derbies, horse shows, and corn hole tournaments are just several of the many different contests that can be found on fairgrounds throughout Pennsylvania. Fairgoers can try their hand at horseshoes or enter a pie eating contest; kids will have a blast running in a three-legged race, flexing their muscles at a mini hay bale toss, or competing in a butter making competition. Be sure to make some time to attend the ever-popular crowning of the fair queen, a must- see event where contestants vie for the title, scholarship funding, and an opportunity to represent their fair and Pennsylvania's agriculture industry.
From strolling guitars to full-fledged concerts, you can tap your toes or "do si do" while listening to an up-and-coming country star, iconic rock band or bluegrass jam, there's something for everyone at the fairs!
Plan Your Visit!
Make plans to enjoy home-grown flavors, some good old-fashioned family fun, and a concert or two under the stars at Pennsylvania's county fairs. A list of the 2023 fair dates can be found here on the PA Department of Agriculture's website. Other resources can be found on the PA State Association of County Fairs website and on VisitPA.