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The Best County Fair In America

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Where is the best old time county fair in America?

 

County Fair time is coming up. In my area we have one huge fair that is fun to attend, but it is no more like the small county fairs of yesterday than a jumbo jet is like the Wright brothers biplane. It sits beside a freeway.

 

But there are real old time county fairs out there….and I bet you have to take a two lane road to reach them! So let me rephrase my question….

 

Where is the best small, old time county fair that you can only reach on a two lane road?

 

I’m going to visit some I know about. How about you? And let's see some photos!

 

Dave

 

keep the Show on the Road!

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Although it is not the same as it was in my youth, the The Greater Allentown Fair can be attended by staying old US Route 22 which is Tilghman Street in the West End of Allentown. The fairgrounds are only a block away. The city has completely surrounded the Fairgrounds, but it is still the site of the weekly Farmers Market, and it is home of the fair in the week ending on Labor Day. There are still carnie stand, rides, Bobo the clown and his dunk tank, but no more "girlie" or "freak" shows. There is still lots of unhealthy food and 4-H displays with live animals and produce, but the horse racing and the auto racing is long gone. The stage shows no longer feature Roy Rodgers or the Sons of the Pioneers. There still is a Demolition Derby and shows like the one I am taking Peg to: Chicago and Earth, Wind, and Fire. plus a show starring Tim McGraw. I will eat some Joe's Pierogies, a pit beef sandwich, and possibly a candy apple or a funnel cake, and look at the judged exhibits, and watch people lose money trying to win cheap prizes. I miss the old penny arcade tent, or the "Barrel of Death" motorcycle show.

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Now you've got my attention. The fair in Darke County, Ohio, is so great that that's officially part of its name and the entrance to The Great Darke County Fair is marked by a great neon sign that shows it. During my school days, we were told that, it had more agricultural and craft entries than any county fair in the country or maybe it was the world. I've never seen that in writing but I'll stomp on the toes of anyone who says it ain't so. I'll miss the fair this year but try to attend every year or two. It was there, in the middle of the last century, that I learned snow cone making and I verified last year that what look to be the the same grinders are still in use. The fair ground lies between a couple of two-lane roads. Right turn lane briefly appear beyond the entrance as the main road heads away from town but it's soon back to a lane each way.

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GREAT topic, Dave! At the risk of sounding too generic, for me the best county fair is the one that has my favorite fair foods:

--Lemon Shake-Up

--Pineapple Whip

--Corndog

--Elephant Ear

 

At the state fair, they have a new deep-fried something on a stick every year, such as Twinkies, Snickers, etc. Yeah, I'll put down my $4 to try that, but typically I'm underwhelmed with the result. But hey, it's the fair...we go there to eat...and eat some more! :burgereater:

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It turns out that this year's fair in Allentown did have the the "Helldrivers" motorcycle show where they drive up the walls of a cylindrical theater. I did not go in since I had my granddaughter along and she was getting antsy and wanted to go on rides instead, but it was good to see it return. I still mostly ate Pierogies in sauteed onions and butter, and did also go to one stage show this year, a combined concert by Earth Wind and Fire and Chicago. The two groups complimented each other quite well in the 3 hour performance.

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I used to live in Dillon, Montana which is located in Beaverhead County. Beaverhead County is HUGE - bigger than Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont combined! And there are less than 10,000 people in the entire county! Dillon is the county seat and the annual county fair is a big, big deal. The whole county and beyond looks forward to it every year. Wonderful 4H competitions - from sewing, to baked goods, to dog obedience, to cattle, sheep, pig and other animal showing, to horseback competitive events. And then the whole thing is followed by a PRCA rodeo and a concert. Gosh, I miss it. That's a real county fair.

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I used to live in Dillon, Montana which is located in Beaverhead County. Beaverhead County is HUGE - bigger than Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont combined! And there are less than 10,000 people in the entire county! Dillon is the county seat and the annual county fair is a big, big deal. The whole county and beyond looks forward to it every year. Wonderful 4H competitions - from sewing, to baked goods, to dog obedience, to cattle, sheep, pig and other animal showing, to horseback competitive events. And then the whole thing is followed by a PRCA rodeo and a concert. Gosh, I miss it. That's a real county fair.

 

First, WELCOME,

 

Yep, that’s about the right size county population for a real county fair. The displays are all sort of handmade, homemade looking, and the entrants aren’t pros. It spoils it for me when the county population is so large that the photo and art exhibits look like the Metropolitan. Regular folks should have a chance.

 

We almost made it the county fair in Eureka, Montana this year, and Dillon sounds like a place to go!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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This thread started about the time I started rereading Drake Hokanson's The Lincoln Highway: Main Street Across America and shortly after I'd heard his name associated with a book on county fairs. I enjoyed his treatment of the LH so much that I decided to check out the fair book and finished it not long ago. Drake and co-author Carol Kratz didn't make it to The Great Darke County Fair but I forgive them. I'm sure it was an accident. No one would miss it on purpose. Their book, Purebred & Homegrown: America's County Fairs, visits a lot of other places, though, and talks about the stuff we all connect with fairs -- elephant ears, demo derbies, 4-H projects critters, concerts, etc. There are also some unique events and one that really intrigued me is up in your corner of the country, Dave. Ever been to the Tillamook County Fair in Oregon to watch the Pig-N-Ford championships? That's where practicing driving a Model T Ford while holding a pig really pays off. Definitely something I'd like to see.

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There are also some unique events and one that really intrigued me is up in your corner of the country, Dave. Ever been to the Tillamook County Fair in Oregon to watch the Pig-N-Ford championships? That's where practicing driving a Model T Ford while holding a pig really pays off. Definitely something I'd like to see.

 

Gees, Denny, if I'd known I could have seen the Pig-N-Ford finals!!! B):o Well, there's next year! :)

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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