Summer County Fairs Showcase Local Community Spirit

county fair
randychiu/ Flickr

County fair season is coming up quickly, showcasing the work of local farmers and ranchers around the United States. Prize livestock and winning agriculture entries will be on display, but many visitors to county fairs have little interest in that sort of thing. People come from miles around for the local food, carnival rides, performers or just to get out of their normal routine and do something different on the weekend. Here are some of the more notable county fairs this year.

Chautauqua County Fair
Listed as one of ten Blue-Ribbon County Fairs by USAToday, the Chautaugua County Fair features the expected agriculturally focused events like a Goat Milking Competition, Livestock Judging Contest and more. Those events showcase the efforts of 4-H and FFA youth club members. Like the nature of county fairs themselves, those two organizations, the FFA (Future Farmers Of America) and 4-H (pledges Head, Hands, Heart and Health to their club, community, country and world) have evolved too, now focusing on citizenship, healthy living, science, engineering and technology programs.

That’s not to say they won’t enjoy features like the demolition derby, the county fair beauty pageant, New York State Police K-9 demonstrations, the baby parade or the jugglers, unicyclists and acrobats of the Dazzling Mills Family, a traveling act not to be missed.

July 22-28, 2013
Dunkirk, NY
Admission $10 Parking: $102013 San Mateo County Fair
This year marks the 79th San Mateo County Fair that features contests, opportunities to win ribbons, educational exhibits, carnival rides, commercial vendors, food concessionaires, local performers and main stage artists. Nearly 150,000 visitors are expected this year.

Held at the San Mateo County Event Center, the fair will host traditional events focused on pie baking, home brewing, livestock and agriculture, as well as free summer concerts all nine days of the fair. This year features bands including: Tower of Power, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Three Dog Night, The Whispers and Morris Day & The Time, as well as award-winning tribute bands Aerorocks and Queen Nation.

Themed “Where Tradition Meets Innovation,” the San Mateo Fair also hosts contests in technology and industrial arts, as well as exhibits and demonstrations in those areas.

Saturday, June 8-16, 2013

2495 South Delaware Street– San Mateo, CA 94403

Admission $10 Parking: $10

San Mateo kicked off the 2013 County Fair season with a flash mob at a local mall earlier this month, as we see in this video:

Photo of the day (8.26.10)

County fairs are full of good old-fashioned fun. Where else can you see a tractor pull, eat nothing but deep-fried foods, see carnies in their native habitats, and admire the area’s finest livestock, all in a day? This photo from the Nicollet County Fair in Minnesota by mlmartense is titled “the surly llama” but I get more of a coquettish, even cunning, vibe. It’s as if the llama alpaca has big plans for me to follow. Actually, llamas and alpacas are quite docile and gentle creatures often used as therapy animals as they have a calming effect on people. Looking into this fella’s eyes, I can see how an hour of feeding and hugging a llama or alpaca could be an excellent form of therapy.

Have you taken an evocative animal photo in your travels? Upload it to our Gadling Flickr pool (make it downloadable, please!) and it could be a future Photo of the Day.

UPDATED: It turns out this charming creature is, in fact, an alpaca and not a llama. Apologies to any pack animals offended by the mix up.