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, 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
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 over 150,000 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
- Michiganians struggle with loss of state fair
- The Future of the Michigan State Fair
- "Nevada State Fair ending after 136 years amid budget crunch". Associated Press. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- 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.