Today, one might ask what keeps this tradition going if they aren’t centered around agriculture anymore. What keeps fairs going today is tradition; fairs have become more of a family event and that is what has been driving their popularity in recent years. Also in recent year many have found small niches to make themselves unique compared to others, like for example the Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair. This fair has been operating every year for 36 years now! Others like the Turkey Hill Fall Fest, have evolved into huge festivals for everyone to enjoy!
The fall season in America brings with it some of our favorite traditions. From apple picking to football season, autumn has something for everyone. One of my favorite traditions is the guarantee of local fairs every year. In my opinion, American county fairs and fall go together like pumpkin spice and lattes. Fairs promise something for the whole family; from food to rides and games, no one misses out!
We have all gone to fairs almost strictly because of tradition and nostalgia but when and where did this glorious tradition start? Some early fairs are documented as far back as the 1500s in Europe! Back then though, the fairs were different than what we expect today and were used primarily as a way for rural communities to meet, discuss and share new farming techniques. This is the type of fair that was introduced throughout colonial America in the 1700s. The modern rendition of fairs didn’t surface in America until the early 19th century. In fact, America’s oldest “modern” fair was first held in 1818 by three Massachusetts counties (Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden), this was one of the first fairs to include games and it ushered in the era of the fair we know and love today! Once this type of fair started spreading across the country they became perennial events by the mid-1880s.
Fairs are a great way to bring the family together for a fun evening out. So be on the lookout for upcoming fairs coming near you. Currently the New Holland fair is in session until October 1st and the Manheim Farm Fair will be in running October 3rd thru the 7th. If you are in the mood for a more musically centered outing then the aforementioned Turkey Hill Fall Fest is celebrating its 25th show October 2nd and is an electric show for anyone in attendance.
Author: Adam B. Platt
Providing the food and beverage industry with installation, service, parts replacement and planned maintenance programs since 1971.