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The York Fair - America's First Fair
America’s first fair, the York Fair, was held in the historic old town of York in 1765, 11 years before the nation was founded. At that time the York Fair was a two-day agricultural market on the town commons, now known as Penn Park. In 1856, the fair was a three-day event and held at the new fairground that was east of the City of York near what is now Queen and King Street.
Today, the York Fair is a vibrant 10-day event offering agricultural and livestock exhibits, tractor pulls, games and carnival rides, food and live entertainment. This year’s event will be September 11-20, 2015 and the Grandstand shows include: Alabama, Lauren Alaina, Andy Grammer & American Authors, and more. Tickets can be purchased online at 'yorkfair.org'. Admission to the York Fair is $8 for adults, $4 for children 6-18 & college students, and children under 5 are free. Parking is $7. There is an additional cost for concerts. Gates open 11:00am Friday to Sunday and Noon Monday to Thursday.
The fair has an interesting history. In 1861, within days of the firing on Fort Sumter, injured Union soldiers were placed in temporary hospitals set up in the town commons and the new fairgrounds. In 1862 the Secretary of War made those hospitals permanent so by fair time that year, the halls and grounds were filled with wounded from Antietam and the fair was closed until 1865. In 1888, following the Civil War, the fair had outgrown its grounds and the event was moved to the 73-acre site that was eventually expanded to the current York Fair/York Expo Center. The fair has changed over the decades in order to keep attracting visitors. Horse races, dancers, strong man competitions and all kinds of new things were added. During World War II most fairs and the Pennsylvania Farm Show were closed, but the York Fair stayed open, causing much controversy. In 1942 the dates of the fair were moved from October to September where it is celebrated to this day.
A must see fair. Book your stay at a nearby Bed and Breakfast.