State fair

A state fair is an annual competitive and recreational gathering of a U.S. state's population, usually held in late summer or early fall. It is a larger version of a county fair, often including only exhibits or competitors that have won in their categories at the more-local county fairs.

State fairs began in the nineteenth century for the purpose of promoting state agriculture, through competitive exhibitions of livestock and display of farm products. As the U.S. evolved from a predominantly agrarian to an industrial society in the twentieth century, and the more service economy of the 21st century, modern state fairs have expanded to include carnival amusement rides and games, display of industrial products, automobile racing, and entertainment such as musical concerts. Large fairs can admit more than a million visitors over the course of a week or two. The first U.S. state fair was that of New York, held in 1841 in Syracuse, and has been held annually to the present year.[1] The second state fair was in Detroit, Michigan, which ran from 1849[2] to 2009.[3][4]

Events similar to state fairs are also held annually in each state capital in Australia, known as royal shows. Australian royal shows are organized by state agricultural and horticultural societies, and are described further in the agricultural show article.

List of state fairs

United States

State or RegionFair NameLocationAttendance (year)Attendance as % of State Pop.
AlabamaAlabama State FairPelham
AlabamaAlabama National FairMontgomery
AlaskaKenai Peninsula State FairNinilchik7,300 (2013) .99%
AlaskaSoutheast Alaska State FairHaines
AlaskaTanana Valley State FairFairbanks12.49%
AlaskaAlaska State FairPalmer299,698 (2015) 40.68%
ArizonaArizona State FairPhoenix1,102,044 (2015) 16.37%
ArizonaNavajo Nation FairWindow Rock100,000 (2016) 57.58% (of Navajo Nation)
ArkansasArkansas State FairLittle Rock473,106 (2015) 15.95%
CaliforniaCalifornia State FairSacramento673,237 (2016) 1.7%
ColoradoColorado State FairPueblo466,576 (2016) 8.71%
DelawareDelaware State FairHarrington262,587 (2016) 28.07%
District of ColumbiaDC State FairWashington
FloridaFlorida State FairTampa395,435 (2016) 1.99%
GeorgiaGeorgia State FairHampton
GeorgiaGeorgia National FairPerry, Georgia535,000 (2016) 5.30%
GeorgiaNorth Georgia State FairMarietta320,000 (2016) 3.17%
HawaiiHawaii 50th State FairAiea
IdahoEastern Idaho State FairBlackfoot229,992 (2015) 14.08%
IdahoWestern Idaho FairBoise243,474 (2016) 14.90%
IdahoNorth Idaho Fair Coeur d'Alene84,600 (2015) 5.18%
IllinoisDuQuoin State FairDu Quoin
IllinoisIllinois State FairSpringfield509,000 (2019) 4.00%
IndianaIndiana State FairIndianapolis730,000 (2016) 11.07%
IowaIowa State FairDes Moines1,130,260 (2018) 35.93%
KansasKansas State FairHutchinson359,808 (2016) 12.39%
KentuckyKentucky State FairLouisville609,955 (2017)[5]13.7%
LouisianaCajun Heartland State FairLafayette
LouisianaGreater Baton Rouge State FairBaton Rouge
LouisianaState Fair of LouisianaShreveport379,700 (2017) 9.78%
MaineBangor State FairBangor
MaineSkowhegan State FairSkowhegan
MaineFryeburg FairFryeburg166,838 (2016) 12.54%
MarylandMaryland State FairTimonium407,000 (2013) 6.81%
MichiganGreat Lakes State FairNoviClosed in 2009
MichiganThird Bank Michigan State FairNovi, Michigan92,000 (2014) .93%
MichiganUpper Peninsula State FairEscanaba80,000 (2013) .81%
MinnesotaMinnesota State FairFalcon Heights2,126,551 (2019) [6]37.90%
MississippiMississippi State FairJackson733,151 (2016) 24.49%
MissouriMissouri State FairSedalia366,218 (2013) 6.04%
MontanaMontana State FairGreat Falls54,938 (2015) 5.37%
MontanaMontanaFairBillings, Montana226,333 (2016) 22.10%
NebraskaNebraska State FairGrand Island379,108 (2017)[7] 19.88%
NevadaNevada State FairRenoClosed
NevadaThe Nevada FairCarson City, Nevada22,000 (2015) .77%
New England[lower-alpha 1]The Big EWest Springfield, Massachusetts1,543,470 (2018) 10.4%[lower-alpha 2]
New HampshireHopkinton State FairContoocook
New JerseyNew Jersey State FairAugusta420,000 (2013) 4.70%
New MexicoNew Mexico State FairAlbuquerque497,000 (2016) 23.83%
New MexicoSouthern New Mexico State FairLas Cruces
New MexicoNorthern Navajo Nation FairShiprock
New YorkGreat New York State FairSyracuse1,329,275 (2019) 6.8%
North CarolinaNorth Carolina State FairRaleigh1,028,364 (2016) 10.34%
North Carolina Dixie Classic Fair Winston Salem 357,416 (2011) 3.7%
North CarolinaNorth Carolina Mountain State FairFletcher187,819 (2007) 1.89%
North DakotaNorth Dakota State FairMinot293,123 (2016) 39.64%
OhioOhio State FairColumbus921,000 (2016) 7.95%
OklahomaOklahoma State FairOklahoma City900,000 (2012) 23.21%
OklahomaTulsa State FairTulsa1,206,000 (2016 estimate) 31.10%
OregonOregon State FairSalem295,000 (2016 estimate) 7.43%
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Farm ShowHarrisburg500,000 (approx) (2008) 3.91%
PennsylvaniaAllentown FairAllentown500,000 (approx) (2014) 3.91%
PennsylvaniaButler FairProspect240,000 (approx) (2011) 1.88%
PennsylvaniaBloomsburg FairBloomsburg364,037 (2015) 2.85%
PennsylvaniaThe Reading FairReading40,000 (2016) 0.3%
PennsylvaniaYork FairYork555,252 (2016) 4.34%
Rhode IslandWashington County FairRichmondaround 100,000 9.48%
South CarolinaSouth Carolina State FairColumbia464,878 (2016) 9.62%
South DakotaSouth Dakota State FairHuron211,371 (2016) 24.77%
TennesseeTennessee State FairNashville115,000 (2015) 1.76%
TennesseeDelta FairMemphisabout 200,000 (2016) 3.05%
TennesseeTennessee Valley FairKnoxville180,000 (approx) 2.75%
TexasSouth Texas State FairBeaumont175,000 (2014) .65%
TexasState Fair of TexasDallas2,049,118 (2018) 7.24%
TexasEast Texas State Fair[8]Tylerabout 250,000 (estimate from 2016) .93%
TexasNorth Texas State FairDenton140,000 (2009).52%
UtahUtah State FairSalt Lake Cityaround 300,000 (2014) 10.19%
VermontVermont State FairRutland61,604 (2010) 9.83%
VirginiaState Fair of VirginiaCaroline County238,000 (2014) 2.86%
WashingtonCentral Washington State FairYakima312,191 (2016) 4.42%
WashingtonEvergreen State FairMonroe342,631 (2016) 4.85%
WashingtonNorthwest Washington FairLynden189,154 (2015) 2.68%
WashingtonWashington State FairPuyallup1,117,323 (2012) 15.82%
West VirginiaState Fair of West VirginiaFairlea155,000-160,000 (2016) 8.65%
WisconsinWisconsin State FairWest Allis1,015,815 (2016) 17.64%
WisconsinCentral Wisconsin State FairMarshfield85,000 (2015) 1.48%
WisconsinNorthern Wisconsin State FairChippewa Falls90,000 (2016) 1.56%
WyomingWyoming State FairDouglasabout 50,000 (2012 estimate) 8.56%
  1. The Eastern States Exposition, popularly known as The Big E, is a combined state fair for all six New England states. Each state has its own dedicated area during the fair.
  2. Percentage based on combined population for all New England states.

Provincial exhibitions in Canada

A few annual exhibitions in the summer in Canada are similar to state fairs in the United States:

ProvinceFair NameLocationAttendance (year)
AlbertaCalgary StampedeCalgary1,214,972 (2017)[9]
AlbertaK-DaysEdmonton816,250 (2017)[10]
British ColumbiaPacific National ExhibitionVancouver712,049 (2013)[11]
OntarioCanadian National ExhibitionToronto1,360,000 (2013)[12]
OntarioOttawa SuperEXOttawa422,095 (2009)[13]
OntarioRoyal Agricultural Winter FairToronto
ManitobaRed River ExhibitionWinnipeg175,971 (2013)[14]
ManitobaRoyal Manitoba Winter FairBrandon114,000 (2012)[15]
SaskatchewanCanadian Western AgribitionRegina122,300 (2013)[16]


State and county fairs are famous for a variety of competitions that award ribbons. Awards are generally given according to the following scale:[4]

  • First place – blue ribbon
  • Second place – red ribbon
  • Third place – white ribbon
  • Fourth place – yellow ribbon
  • Fifth place – green ribbon
  • Sixth place – orange ribbon
  • Seventh place – purple ribbon
  • Eighth place – brown ribbon


As of 2019, the largest attendance at a state fair in the USA is in Minnesota attracting 2,126,551 visitors. The largest average per day attendance is also at the Minnesota State Fair averaging just under 200,000 people per day.[17]

See also


  1. "New York State Fair :: The Encyclopedia of New York State :: Syracuse University Press". Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  2. Archived November 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. Granholm cuts State Fair from budget Archived November 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  4. It's official: State Fair a goner Archived November 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Tribble Greer, Carolyn (August 31, 2017). "It was a good year for the Kentucky State Fair". Louisville Business First. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  6. "Minnesota State Fair - Attendance". Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  7. Rollin, Kelli (5 September 2017). "State Fair 2017 attendance nears all-time record". The Grand Island Independent. BH Media Group, Inc. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  8. Waterson, James and Seymour, Rachel Anne. Pulling Up Stakes: East Texas State Fair Says Goodbye Until Next Year. Tyler Morning Telegraph, October 4th, 2010, p. 1A, 6A
  9. "Calgary Stampede 2017 attendance tops 1.2M". CBC. 2017-07-17. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  10. Mertz, Emily (July 31, 2017). "K-Days attendance soars despite 'curve ball' from Mother Nature". Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  11. "2013 PNE attendance falls short of goal". CTV British Columbia. Bell Media. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  12. Tedder, Sean (24 October 2013). "CNE attendance down slightly but weather to blame". The Toronto Star. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  13. "SuperEx attendance higher than last year". Bell Media. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  14. "Weather rains on Red River Ex's parade; attendance down this year". Winnipeg Free Press. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  15. "Province Renews Support For Royal Manitoba Winter Fair". Government of Manitoba. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  16. McDonald, Alyssa (12 April 2013). "Canadian Western Agribition continues to grow". Free Daily News Group Inc. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
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