This year the Delaware State Fair is celebrating 100 years as the premier summer tradition for local families on Delmarva and visitors to Delaware. With ten days full of entertainment and excitement, the State Fair will open its gates on Thursday, July 18 and run through Saturday, July 27. The streets of the Harrington Raceway & Casino will once again be filled with families enjoying music, food, carnival rides and the numerous sites the Delaware State Fair offers.
The Delaware State Fair began around a coal burning potbelly 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.
Today, the fair sits on nearly 300 acres and offers a wide variety of carnival rides and games as well as multiple concerts featuring renowned musicians, singers and comedy stars. It is also the site of several business enterprises, including the Harrington Raceway Casino and the Centre Ice Rink. The harness racing track on the fairgrounds is the oldest continuously operating harness racing track in the United States. The fairgrounds have been an important part of the Harrington community with a strong economic benefit to Harrington and the surrounding area.
Kaitlyn Schafer of Lincoln, DE has attended the Fair her entire life, 22 years. Schafer has been showing cows for two years, alongside Whitney Loftus, a friend that has been showing cows for 21. This will be their first year the pair is showing under their own farm name, Just My Two Cents Farm.
“I would like people to know or at least have an understanding of the work that goes into bringing a quality livestock animal to fair and that it’s not just for show, it truly is about the love of the animal and the sport that is showing,” said Schafer.
The Hay family will also show animals at this year’s Fair. Mason, age 12, and Lexi, age 10 have been going attending the Fair with their parents since they were infants. Mason started showing when he was 2 on the sheep ring and 4 in the swine ring as Lexi started in the show ring at 3 with sheep. Their main focus for the ten days is caring for their animals and both say that they enjoy “hanging out with all my friends and eating cotton candy.”
Trisha Stevenson of Milford, a teacher at Milford Central Academy,has been attending the Fair since she was 10 years old. “I remember going to concerts with my mom, the first one being Glen Campbell, and riding rides on the Midway with my friends all day long until close,” she said.
Now a mother herself, Stevenson says her favorite part of the Fair is making great memories with her children. Both of her kids have been involved in Kent County 4-H since they were 5 and have been involved in community service at the Fair by working at The Grange and the Farm Bureau, entering projects and showing goats. “From the parade, to rides, to hanging with family, to learning about ag, to the local food vendors, to concerts, camping and seeing lots of people you never have time to visit with. All wrapped up in what my kids say is the best 10 days of the year,” said Stevenson.
The Delaware State Fair recently announced the final four artists for its highly anticipated Summer Concert Series Lineup for 2019. Previously announced acts included Sugarland appearing Thursday, July 18th at 7:30 PM; Dan + Shay performing on Monday, July 22nd at 7:30 PM; Bethel Worship on Tuesday, July 23rd at 7:30 PM; Darci Lynne appearing on Wednesday, July 24th at 8:00 PM; and Brantley Gilbert who will be performing on Friday, July 26th at 8:00 PM.
Brothers Osborne – July 19th
We are excited to announce that the chart topping duo Brothers Osborne are slated to perform at our Centennial Celebration! The Maryland natives will be “Down Home” and will make you want to “Stay A Little Longer” at the M&T Bank Grandstand on Friday, July 19th. Tickets range from $30-75 or upgrade to VIP tickets for $150. Gates open at 6:30 PM, show starts at 7:30 PM.
Reba McEntire presented by Delaware Lottery – July 20th
Reba fans rejoice! The legendary entertainer Reba McEntire will take the stage on Saturday, July 20th. Reba, presented by Delaware Lottery, will serenade fairgoers with her countless hits as well as songs from her most recent #1 album Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope. Tickets are $57-99 or upgrade to VIP tickets for $150. Gates open at 6:30 PM, show starts at 7:30 PM.
Demolition Derby presented by Taylor & Messick – July 21st
The celebration continues with the Demolition Derby presented by Taylor & Messick on Sunday, July 21st. We welcome fans to return for an evening of car smashin’, hootin, hollerin’ and clappin’ fun! This year the event will begin at 4:00 PM and gates will open at 3:00 PM. Tickets are $17-19. For tickets or more information on how to participate in this year’s derby visit the DelawareState Fair website.
Gladys Knight – July 27th
You won’t need to take a “Midnight Train to Georgia”, you’ll just need a ticket to the M&T Bank Grandstand on Saturday, July 27th to hear soul icon Gladys Knight! The “Empress of Soul” will close out the Delaware State Fair’s Centennial Celebration with her enduring style and unforgettable voice. Tickets are $32-90 or upgrade to VIP tickets for $150. Gates open at 7:00 PM, show starts at 8:00 PM.
The Delaware State Fair M&T Bank Grandstand is located at 18500 S. DuPont Highway, Harrington, DE 19952. For tickets or updates on more acts to perform at the 2019 Fair fans can go to www.delawarestatefair.com. The 2019 DelawareState Fair will be held July 18 – 27, 2019.
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