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. The second state fair was in Detroit, Michigan, which ran from 1849 to 2009.
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
|State or Region||Fair Name||Location||Attendance (year)|
|Alabama||Alabama State Fair||Pelham|
|Alabama||Alabama National Fair||Montgomery|
|Alaska||Kenai Peninsula State Fair||Ninilchik|
|Alaska||Southeast Alaska State Fair||Haines|
|Alaska||Tanana Valley State Fair||Fairbanks|
|Alaska||Alaska State Fair||Palmer|
|Arizona||Arizona State Fair||Phoenix||1,303,690 (2006) |
|Arizona||Navajo Nation Fair||Window Rock|
|Arkansas||Arkansas State Fair||Little Rock||467,007 (2008) |
|California||California State Fair||Sacramento||941,502 (2006) |
|Colorado||Colorado State Fair||Pueblo||400,351 (2006) |
|Delaware||Delaware State Fair||Harrington||307,000 (2007) |
|District of Columbia||DC State Fair||Washington|
|Florida||Florida State Fair||Tampa||434,067 (2006) |
|Georgia||Georgia State Fair||Hampton|
|Georgia||Georgia National Fair||Perry||456,023 (2014)|
|Georgia||North Georgia State Fair||Marietta||287,000 (2008) |
|Hawaii||Hawaii 50th State Fair||Aiea|
|Idaho||Eastern Idaho State Fair||Blackfoot|
|Idaho||Western Idaho Fair||Boise|
|Idaho||North Idaho Fair||Coeur d'Alene|
|Illinois||DuQuoin State Fair||Du Quoin|
|Illinois||Illinois State Fair||Springfield||700,000 (2006) |
|Indiana||Indiana State Fair||Indianapolis||975,000 (2009) |
|Iowa||Iowa State Fair||Des Moines||1,109,150 (2008) |
|Kansas||Kansas State Fair||Hutchinson|
|Kentucky||Kentucky State Fair||Louisville||614,477 (2006) |
|Louisiana||Cajun Heartland State Fair||Lafayette|
|Louisiana||Greater Baton Rouge State Fair||Baton Rouge|
|Louisiana||State Fair of Louisiana||Shreveport|
|Maine||Bangor State Fair||Bangor|
|Maryland||Maryland State Fair||Timonium||407,000 (2013) |
|Massachusetts||The Big E||West Springfield||1,260,487 (2009)|
|Michigan||Great Lakes State Fair||Novi|
|Michigan||Upper Peninsula State Fair||Escanaba||80,000 (2013) |
|Minnesota||Minnesota State Fair||Falcon Heights||1,943,719 (2016) |
|Mississippi||Mississippi State Fair||Jackson|
|Missouri||Missouri State Fair||Sedalia||366,218 (2013) |
|Montana||Montana State Fair||Great Falls|
|Nebraska||Nebraska State Fair||Grand Island||361,107 (2016)|
|Nevada||Nevada State Fair||Reno|
|New Hampshire||Hopkinton State Fair||Contoocook|
|New Jersey||New Jersey State Fair||Augusta|
|New Mexico||New Mexico State Fair||Albuquerque||738,664 (2006) |
|New Mexico||Southern New Mexico State Fair||Las Cruces|
|New Mexico||Northern Navajo Nation Fair||Shiprock|
|New York||Great New York State Fair||Syracuse||1,102,995 (2006) |
|North Carolina||North Carolina State Fair||Raleigh||1,009,173 (2011) |
|North Carolina||North Carolina Mountain State Fair||Fletcher||187,819 (2007) |
|North Dakota||North Dakota State Fair||Minot||247,970 (2006) |
|Ohio||Ohio State Fair||Columbus||982,305 (2015) Ohio State Fair|
|Oklahoma||Oklahoma State Fair||Oklahoma City||900,000 (2012) |
|Oklahoma||Tulsa State Fair||Tulsa||1,022,000 (2012) |
|Oregon||Oregon State Fair||Salem|
|Pennsylvania||Pennsylvania Farm Show||Harrisburg||500,000 (approx) (2008) |
|Pennsylvania||Allentown Fair||Allentown||500,000 (approx) (2014) |
|Pennsylvania||Butler Fair||Prospect||240,000 (approx) (2011) |
|Pennsylvania||Bloomsburg Fair||Bloomsburg||422,429 (2013) |
|Pennsylvania||York Fair||York||650,000 (approx) (2010) |
|Rhode Island||Washington County Fair||Richmond|||
|South Carolina||South Carolina State Fair||Columbia||492,395 (2010) |
|South Dakota||South Dakota State Fair||Huron||183,005 (2013)|
|Tennessee||Tennessee State Fair||Nashville|
|Tennessee||Tennessee Valley Fair||Knoxville||180,000 (approx) |
|Texas||South Texas State Fair||Beaumont|
|Texas||State Fair of Texas||Dallas||3,000,000 (approx) (2003) |
|Texas||East Texas State Fair||Tyler|
|Texas||North Texas State Fair||Denton||140,000 (2009)|
|Utah||Utah State Fair||Salt Lake City||325,000 |
|Vermont||Vermont State Fair||Rutland||61,604 (2010) |
|Virginia||State Fair of Virginia||Caroline County||226,924 in 2010 |
|Washington||Central Washington State Fair||Yakima||304,000 (2012)|
|Washington||Evergreen State Fair||Monroe|
|Washington||Northwest Washington Fair||Lynden||214,315 in 2009 |
|Washington||Washington State Fair||Puyallup||1,065,208 in 2010 |
|West Virginia||State Fair of West Virginia||Fairlea|
|Wisconsin||Wisconsin State Fair||West Allis||911,231 (2011) |
|Wisconsin||Central Wisconsin State Fair||Marshfield|
|Wisconsin||Northern Wisconsin State Fair||Chippewa Falls||70,956 (2013)|
|Wyoming||Wyoming State Fair||Douglas|
Provincial exhibitions in Canada
A few annual exhibitions in the summer in Canada are similar to state fairs in the United States:
|Province||Fair Name||Location||Attendance (year)|
|Alberta||Calgary Stampede||Calgary||1,133,050 (2013)|
|British Columbia||Pacific National Exhibition||Vancouver||712,049 (2013)|
|Ontario||Canadian National Exhibition||Toronto||1,360,000 (2013)|
|Ontario||Ottawa SuperEX||Ottawa||422,095 (2009)|
|Ontario||Royal Agricultural Winter Fair||Toronto|
|Manitoba||Red River Exhibition||Winnipeg||175,971 (2013)|
|Manitoba||Royal Manitoba Winter Fair||Brandon||114,000 (2012)|
|Saskatchewan||Canadian Western Agribition||Regina||122,300 (2013)|
State and county fairs are famous for a variety of competitions that award ribbons. Awards are generally given according to the following scale:
- 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
The largest attendance at a state fair in the USA is in Texas attracting an estimated 3,000,000 people annually. The largest average per day attendance is at the Minnesota State Fair averaging just under 200,000 people per day.
- Michigan.gov Archived November 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Granholm cuts State Fair from budget Archived November 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- It's official: State Fair a goner Archived November 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Nebraska State Fair Attendance surpasses 2015" (PDF) (Press release). Nebraska State Fair. September 6, 2016. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
- 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
- "Attendance Goes Over 304,000 Mark as Fair Finishes Another Great Run". Cental Washington State Fair. October 1, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
- "Northern WI State Fair Attendance" (Press release). Northern Wisconsin State Fair. July 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- Franklin, Michael (July 15, 2013). "Stampede 101 surpasses one million mark". CTV News. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- "Capital EX attendance up, but doesn't eclipse K-Days". Edmonton Sun. Canoe Sun Media. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- "2013 PNE attendance falls short of goal". CTV British Columbia. Bell Media. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- Tedder, Sean (24 October 2013). "CNE attendance down slightly but weather to blame". The Toronto Star. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- "SuperEx attendance higher than last year". ctvottawa.ca. Bell Media. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- "Weather rains on Red River Ex's parade; attendance down this year". Winnipeg Free Press. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- "Province Renews Support For Royal Manitoba Winter Fair". Government of Manitoba. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- McDonald, Alyssa (12 April 2013). "Canadian Western Agribition continues to grow". Free Daily News Group Inc. Retrieved 10 July 2014.