DE State Fair Celebrating 97 Years

File Photo. 2015 Delaware State Fair.
File Photo. 2015 Delaware State Fair.

With a weekend full of entertainment and excitement the Delaware State Fair opens its gates on Thursday, July 21 and will run through Saturday, July 30. The streets of the Harrington Raceway & Casino will be filled with families this weekend hoping to enjoy music, food, carnival rides and the numerous sites the Delaware State Fair offered.

The Delaware State Fair began around a coal burning pot belly stove in the town of Harrington in 1919. Local community members decided that it was time to bring together a County Fair for the rural communities in the area. The Kent and Sussex County Fair made its debut in July of 1920, right on schedule. Thirty acres, 33 directors, 1,200 shares, six departments, three carnival rides, two types of racing and four days made up the very first Fair. The Kent and Sussex County Fair has since become what is known as the Delaware State Fair. There are now over 70 board members, a full year-round staff and over 3,000 competitive exhibits as the numbers keep growing. This year the Fair is “A Slice of Summer Fun” as they hold the 97th Annual Fair.

Eating at the Fair for the first time can be similar to eating on vacation in a foreign country. The food looks vaguely familiar but there is also something very different about it. Fried Oreos, pickles and Twinkies can be found throughout the fair as a staple that is served after the main course of turkey legs, corndogs and pizza. Size and proportion of every meal can be best described as “super-sized” and just about everything can be found on a stick including bananas, slices of cheesecake and fried dough balls.

Animals from horses, pigs, sheep, rams and cows spend the week at the fair trying to stay cool as their owners hope for the blue ribbon in their category. The organizers of the Delaware State Fair have made sure that the animals are housed under roof with plenty of access to food and water. Animals of all sizes and shapes will be shown throughout the week. Any type of produce that can be imagined is also judged including, peaches, pumpkins, seeds, sunflowers and crabapples.

The Grandstand Concerts at the Fair are the big attraction and this year features big names like George Thorogood and The Destroyers, Alabama, Rachael Platten, Little Big Town and comedian Jef Dunham. The entertainment will also include a monster truck meltdown, demolition derby, harness racing and craft beer festival. The festival rides and games offer entertainment for all ages. While the small kids enjoy water slides and balloon rides the older kids test their bravery on free fall and anti-gravity rides. Between the entertainment and food, the 2016 Delaware State Fair is shaping up to be another fun year.

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