Delaware State Fair

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Delaware State Fair
Delaware State Fair.svg
Begins22 July 2021
Ends31 July 2021
Location(s)Harrington, Delaware
Years active1919–1941, since 1946
Inaugurated27 July 1920
AreaDelaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland

The Delaware State Fair is the annual state fair for the state of Delaware. It is held in Harrington. The fair is a ten-day event at the end of July.[1]


The midway of the Delaware State Fair in 2012

The first Delaware State Fair was held in Wilmington, with mentions of the "Delaware State Fair" being found in newspapers as far back as 1869.[2] In 1878, the Delaware State Fair was moved to Fairview Park Fair Grounds in Dover and held September 24–27.[3] The opening speaker of the 1878 Delaware State Fair was Daniel Henry Chamberlain, former Republican Governor of South Carolina, as well as guest speakers J. Proctor Knott, at the time a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives representing Kentucky's 4th congressional district, and Samuel S. Cox, then Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives representing New York's 6th congressional district.[4][5]

In 1917, the state fair moved to Elsmere where the Delaware State Fair Association had purchased property and built a fairgrounds within the town limits, in the area of the current Filbert, Birch, and Dover Avenues. The fairgrounds included racetracks, agricultural exhibits, and stages for various entertainment acts.[6] The Association went bankrupt after the 1924 fair, and its assets were sold off.[7][8] A new fair association was formed and held the Wilmington Fair, which was sometimes referred to as the Delaware State Fair, in 1927 and 1928 at the fairgrounds in Elsmere.[9][10][11][12]

The first fair on the current grounds was held in 1920 and was known as the Kent and Sussex County Fair. It lasted four days and was held on 30 acres (120,000 m2). The Kent and Sussex County Fair changed its name to the Delaware State Fair in 1962.[13] Today the fairgrounds encompass over 300 acres (1.2 km2) and feature concerts, wrestling, rodeo, races, agricultural exhibits, a midway, and other typical state fair demonstrations and events. The Harrington Raceway & Casino is also located at the fairgrounds. The property also hosted a Donald Trump rally for his presidential campaign on April 22, 2016.[14]

The only cancellations were from 1942 to 1945 due to World War II. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the fair resisted cancellation, although safety modifications were put in place and concerts were cancelled.[15]


The Delaware State Fair has long been a center for regional entertainment, drawing in crowds from the rest of the state, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. It is one of few local concert venues, so has been able to attract many popular acts to Delmarva, among them:


Harrington Raceway & Casino operates on the fairgrounds year round and consists of a harness racetrack and a casino offering slot machines, table games, and sports betting.

Winter Season[edit]

During the winter season the Centre Ice Rink located on the fair grounds hosts public skating and Ice hockey sessions.[16]


  1. ^ "Delaware State Fair". Retrieved 12 October 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Seventeenth Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society". The Harrisburg Telegraph. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. September 29, 1869. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  3. ^ "Eastern Shore Jottings". The Times. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. July 17, 1878. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  4. ^ "untitled". The Times. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. August 2, 1878. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  5. ^ "Delaware State Fair". The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte, North Carolina. August 6, 1878. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  6. ^ "Town History and Photos". The Town of Elsmere, Delaware. Retrieved 12 October 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Delaware State Fair will go into receiver's hands". The News Journal. Wilmington, DE. September 20, 1924 – via
  8. ^ "Property of fair goes at auction". The Morning News. Wilmington, DE. January 27, 1925 – via
  9. ^ "September 5–10 fixed as dates for new fair". The Evening Journal. Wilmington, DE. February 15, 1927 – via
  10. ^ "Grangers' and children's day at Wil. Fair". The Evening Journal. Wilmington, DE. September 6, 1927 – via
  11. ^ "Gates open on city fair today; many exhibits". The Evening Journal. Wilmington, DE. September 24, 1928 – via
  12. ^ McLaughlin, Joe (September 26, 1928). "Lee Frisco wins Elsmere opener". The News Journal. Wilmington, DE – via
  13. ^ "State fair's leaders work to make it that". The News Journal. Wilmington, DE. July 14, 1962 – via
  14. ^ Bittle, Matt (April 22, 2016). "Trump wows crowd in Harrington". Delaware State News. Dover, DE. Retrieved March 29, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Neiburg, Jeff (June 24, 2020). "'Unusual times for us all': Delaware State Fair will go on, with restrictions in place". The News Journal. Wilmington, DE. Retrieved October 12, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "Centre Ice Rink". Skate at the Fair. Archived from the original on 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2012-10-15. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°54′36″N 75°34′26″W / 38.910°N 75.574°W / 38.910; -75.574