Lancaster County Fairs

August 1, 2022

What You Need to Know About Lancaster County Fairs Happening This Fall

Ferris wheel
Source: LNP

School’s back in session, the days are still summer-time warm while the nights are getting cooler, and from the front porch of the Historic Smithton Inn, we can sometimes hear the roar of the crowd on Friday nights as Ephrata High School scores a touchdown at War Memorial Stadium.

You know what that means?
Fall fair season is here in Lancaster County!
Nothing embodies fun more than fairs with their bustling midways, fabulous food, games, rides, agriculture and art exhibits, entertainment, parades, and endless, delightfully unexpected encounters with old friends and neighbors
between visits to the French fries and funnel cake stands.
Each one of the Lancaster County Fairs is unique and special and we're here to help you make the most of a visit to one of these awesome truly local events.

This Blog is All About Lancaster County Fairs

2022 Lancaster County Fair Schedule

Lancaster County Fair season begins in late July and runs through early-October.  This basically capitalizes on the best weather-months of the year here in Lancaster PA.  Odds are, if you visit Lancaster in the fall, there's bound to be at least one fair going on.

Some History Behind Lancaster County's Fall Fairs

Lancaster County Fairs, Historic Smithton Inn
Source PennLive (Historic York Fair photo)

While everyone knows that Lancaster's Fairs are huge-fun, they may not realize the historic significance of some of them:

  • The Ephrata Fair dates back to 1919.  It's the largest street fair in all of Pennsylvania.  The first Ephrata Fair celebrated soldiers returning home from WW1.
  • The York Fair is the oldest fair in the United States and dates back to 1765!
  • Lancaster County's fairs are all held in the fall and celebrate / showcase the county's agricultural heritage.

What to Expect at Lancaster County Fairs:

1- Parades

Actually, parades are NOT something to expect at most Pennsylvania fairs... but if you love a good parade, make plans to attend the Ephrata Fair (it's the biggest!)!  The parade takes place at 7 pm on the Wednesday of fair week.  Streets are shut down to accommodate the 3.5 mile parade route that circles the downtown district & fair itself.  Here's a link to view the parade route.  Even without a map, it's easy to spot the route, all you have to do is follow the chairs set out in advance on the curbs of the route.  This long standing tradition has residents placing chairs beginning at noon on Sunday before the parade to save their prime viewings spots!  Parade participants include local & college bands, political representatives, homecoming queen candidates, plus local clubs, organizations & companies sporting creative floats.
Other fairs that host parades include:  New Holland, Solanco and Elizabethtown.

2- Fair Rides

Source: Ephrata Fair Facebook Page

Nearly all the fall fairs in Lancaster PA feature carnival style rides for attendees of all ages.  If you really love riding the rides, take a look at each fair's website to see about buying a full day or full fair ride pass for the best value.  Alternately you can wait in line and buy tickets for individual rides.

3- Concessions!

Lancaster County Fairs, Historic Smithton Inn
Source: Kutztown Fair

Forget the diet, Fair-Food is so freaking delicious that you really need to stop counting calories & count memories instead.  Just about everything on earth is fried up and sold at Lancaster fairs:  Fried vegetables, fries, sweet potato fries, oysters, chicken, Oreos and more!  Fair traditions like Toasted Cheeseburgers, tasty BBQ and Philly Cheesesteaks are foods that the locals crave for the full year between fairs!  Just bring cash and your appetite!

4- Midway Games

Lancaster County Fairs, Historic Smithton Inn
Source: New Holland Fair's Facebook Page

Every type of midway game imaginable can be found at Pennsylvania fairs!  From the guy taunting you to sink him in the dunk tank to a collection of fish bowls waiting to have a ping pong ball land inside, bring your A-game and competitive spirit (and a whole bunch of money) and you can go home with stuffed trophies & great memories of victory against the odds.

5 - Live Music

Lancaster County Fairs, Historic Smithton Inn
Source: York Fair Facebook Page

Many of the Pennsylvania fairs have live music lined up on one or more day of their fairs, especially the larger ones like the York, Allentown or Kutztown fairs.  Click on the links to find dates & times.

6 - Contests

Lancaster County Fairs, Historic Smithton Inn
Source: LNP

There's a wind array of contests and competitions where you can cheer on the local team or individual to victory.  From epic tug-of-war contests to tractor pulls this is a great way to support local pride & athletic prowess.

7 - Competition / Farm Show

Lancaster County Fairs, Historic Smithton Inn
Source: Manheim Community Farm Show

The "Farm Show" element of Pennsylvania & Lancaster County area fairs is really the heart & soul of these events.  Local children raise animals to be judged.  Everything from canned goods, quilts, wine, photographs, cookies and more is entered into the competition to be judge for local bragging rights.  A tour of the farm show area tells so much about the life and traditions of the residents of Lancaster County!!  It's definitely worth checking out!!

8 - Reunions

Lancaster County Fairs, Historic Smithton Inn
Source: Class of 74 Facebook Page

Apart from holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Lancaster's Fall Fairs are prime time for scheduling local class reunions.  Fall fairs in Lancaster 'are so full of fond memories for anyone who grew up here.

Lancaster County fairs bring an opportunity to connect with the community and create family memories that last a lifetime.

Spend the night at a Historic Bed and Breakfast

Stone B&B And remember, if you’ll be visiting our area or have someone coming to town, the Historic Smithton Inn has comfy guest rooms and a hot, home-cooked breakfast awaiting you. Book your stay, and when you arrive we can tell you more about our fabulous fairs plus all the other wonderful things there is to see and do while you visit.  We highly recommend you book early for any trip to Lancaster County in the fall because it's peak season around here and weekends especially will sell out early.

This blog is all about Lancaster County Fairs

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