The 12 best days of summer begin when the 182nd Erie County Fair opens on August 10. This year’s theme guarantees exactly that: “A Roaring Good Time”. Grab these new favorites and check the fair’s website for money-saving coupons.
1) Eat a sundae for dinner.
A Smoky Mountain Sundae, that is, with cornbread, baked beans and slowly roasted pulled pork, topped with fresh coleslaw. Feast on corn and chorizo waffle dog or sample fried pickle nachos. “Food is one of the main reasons people attend the fair, and we have 21 new foods this year,” said Holly Smyczynski, marketing manager at The Fairgrounds. At the Taste of the Fair on August 15, food vendors will offer select menu items for just $2.
2) Sip, sip, hooray!
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Sip the best of the show and listen to live music in the beer gardens. Mild Dark is this year’s award-winning beer, and Hop Cider took top honors.
3) Rock, rap and do-si-do
Rock old school, dance to the latest hits, or stay country. Catch the free Grand Funk Railroad show on August 12 or get tickets for the August 16 Happy Together Tour featuring the Turtles, Cowsills and other classic bands. Rapper Nelly takes the stage on August 18 and girl-fronted Halestorm will rock the house on August 13. The country favorites will bring that twang when Riley Green performs on August 11 and Trace Adkins on August 14.
4) Help fund scholarships with pancakes and art
Attend the Breakfast of Champions on August 13 at 10 a.m. or bid on chainsaw carved pieces or blown glass to help send local students to college to pursue their dreams.
5) Honor firefighters and veterans
Firefighters Day is August 11 with free admission for firefighters and auxiliary members with proper ID. Veterans Day is August 14, with free admission for veterans, active military, and auxiliary members with proper ID. “Both days, free admission includes a $10 voucher for food, drinks or rides,” Smyczynski said.
6) Meander halfway
The James E. Strates Midway returns this year for its 98th edition. Ride a tame or mildly terrifying ride, depending on your thrill preferences, and cruise through mid-tier concessions, side shows, and shopping areas.
7) Review the Ribbons
Find out who won a blue for livestock, vegetables, wine, fancy hair, photography, vintage tractors, flowers, needlecraft, cider and more. In the Bucket of Junk contest, each contestant must craft something from items provided by the fair. “People are getting really creative,” Smyczynski said. Admire finished masterpieces or watch people create in real time in the outdoor painting competition.
8) Go back in time
The historic building houses exhibits from 19 historical societies in the area, with additional exhibits and attractions inside and on the grounds. Fair celeb Gramma Butter returns this year to churn homemade butter. The Heritage & History Center chronicles over 195 years of farming, food and competition in Western New York.
9) Immerse yourself in indigenous nations
At the Nya:Weh Indian Village, members of six nations offer crafts, food, demonstrations and traditional dances.
10) Encourage local talent
Discover the next big stars. Singers, dancers and musicians present their talents on the stage of the avenue of flags.
11) Get your adrenaline pumping on the Buffalo News Stand
Watch backflips and big jumps on the Free ATV Big Air Tour on August 17 at 3 and 7 p.m. In the world’s largest demolition derby on August 21, vehicles from across Western New York will battle it out for the championship in afternoon and evening shows.
12) Feel the magic, find the laughs
Check the daily fair schedule to find a magic or comedy show, fortune teller, acrobatic event, pig race and more entertainment, all included with your fair admission.
Download the Erie Fairgrounds app for full event and ticket information and to vote for your new favorite food. See you at the fair!