America's Biggest State FairsState fairs in the U.S. go with summer like watermelons and apple pie.
In the country’s early years, state fairs were held to show off county winning livestock, canning, crafting and cooking skills. Many still hold these competitions, but they’re also all about the shows, rides, rodeos and food, too. Some fair entry fees are free, but charge extra for admission to shows, rides and attractions. Others have an entrance fee as well, so check the website for ticket prices.
Here’s a list of 10 of the biggest state fairs in the country.
Photo Credit: justindoub
The State Fair of TexasThey do everything big in Texas and the state fair is no exception. The fair draws an average of 3 million visitors each year. Held this year in Dallas between Sept. 30-Oct. 31, the fair will hold its 125th anniversary celebration this year. Of course, the fair will have all the carnival rides, games, car shows and even Cirque Shanghai. Entertainment includes performances by K.C. & the Sunshine Band, Pat Benatar and Randy Travis, among others.
Photo Credit: Big C Harvey
Minnesota State FairThe Minnesota stat fair welcomes approximately 1.6 million visitors each year and is held in St. Paul, Minn.. The annual event this year will be held Aug. 25 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 5. The Minnesota State Fair was first held in 1859 and now includes big name entertainers like Marc Anthony and Toby Keith.
Photo Credit: Northfielder
Ohio State FairIt is no accident that many of the largest state fairs are still going strong in the nation’s heartland, which is the birthplace and still a large agricultural hub in the U.S. The Ohio State fair is held in Columbus and will open on July 27, closing Aug. 7 this year. In addition to all those funnel cakes and cotton candy, attendees can check out concerts featuring Ke$ha, Meatloaf, Lorretta Lynn and the Oakridge Boys, Journey, Foreigner and Night Ranger, among others.
Photo Credit: whiteshark29
New York State FairNew York has a large state population and its citizens support its fair in droves each year. The fair boasts a 1 million annual attendance number and for good reason: It's home to many rides and attractions, including grilling contests and agricultural exhibits. Three Dog Night, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, REO Speedwagon and the Script are just some of the concert headliners at this year’s fair, which will be held in Syracuse from Aug. 25 through Labor Day, Sept. 5.
Photo: Joe Shlabotnik
Iowa State FairThe Iowa State Fair’s motto is “nothing compares,” and anyone who has ever gone will tell you it is truly something to see. The fair draws more than 1 million visitors each year for its midway attractions, agricultural exhibits, tractor pulls and a life-sized butter sculptured cow. The fair opens in Des Moines Aug. 11 and closes Aug. 21. Concert draws this year include Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Doobie Brothers, Reba and Janet Jackson.
Photo Credit: Phil Roeder
The Big EThe Big E is actually a multi-state regional fair for New England, held in West Springfield, Mass. This year, the fair will be held Sept. 16–Oct. 2. The fair generally draws approximately 1.2 million attendees looking for New England fair food and fun. Concerts this year include Cheap Trick, Darius Rucker and Reba.
Photo Credit: justindoub
Arizona State FairThe warm Arizona climate allows citizens to hold their state fair a little later in the season from Oct. 14–Nov. 6. And the weather seems to draw the crowds, as approximately 1 million people flock to the fair each year. In true western style, the Arizona State Fair adds regional flavor to its event by having Native American dancers show off their talents. In concert this year: Trace Adkins, Billy Idol, 3 Doors Down and Bret Michaels, among others.
Photo Credit: kevindooley
Puyallup FairThe fair held in Puyallup, Wash., draws approximately 1.3 million visitors each year and will be held Sept. 9-25 this year. This fair seems to have something for everyone, from a rodeo and midway attractions to dirt bike races. Chicago, Weird Al Yankovic and Sammy Hagar are just some of the acts scheduled to perform.
Photo Credit: Chase N.
California State Fair“Big Fun,” as it is known in California is held July 14-31, in the middle of the summer, which helps it draw its approximately 900,000 visitors each year. Petting zoos, games and rides attract the wee ones, while horse racing provides a winning draw for adults. The concert series includes MC Hammer, Starship, Lee Greenwood and Blue Oyster Cult.
Photo Credit: portmanteaus
Kentucky State FairIf Kentucky is known for one thing, it's its big state fair, which draws more than 600,000 visitors each year. The fair will be held Aug. 18 through Aug. 28 this year at the fairgrounds in Louisville. Main Street Kentucky presents exhibits that represent the cultural heritage and diversity of the Bluegrass State. But of course the fair also has a midway and many free concerts. Paid shows include Maroon 5, Train and Lady Antebellum.
Photo Credit: The Pug Father
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