MEET US AT THE FAIR!
The Erie County Fair has been a community tradition since its founding in 1885. Nowadays classic farm festival ingredients mix with the modern for 12 days of wonder and fun for all generations – from rides to food to agricultural showcases, classic American arts, the sensory-friendly and the far out: Bring a cooler and picnic. Witness a calf being born! View the prize-winning chickens and their fine feathers. See llamas, a hypnotist, chainsaw carvers, glass blowers and even pigs racing. Taste 24 new Fair foods. Consider exhibit butterflies as they flutter up close. Visit the Nyah-Weh Indian Village for unique crafts and culture. Learn hands-only CPR at the Firemen’s Building. Break to calm and quiet in the Sensory Room. Relax with some live music across the grounds. And, at the end of every evening, take in the fireworks.
“There’s something for everybody at a county fair – of every age and of every walk of life,” said Jessica Underberg, CEO of the Erie County Fair. “There’s very few events, or very few places you can go, where you can take grandma, grandpa, mom, dad and the grandkids and everybody’s going to have a good time.”
ABOUT THE FAIR
Plan your visit by looking over the options and calendar listings of artisans, food purveyors, national acts, carnival rides and local competitions at ecfair.org. The lineup has the expansive variety of a state fair with the hometown vibe of a county fair – along with lots of flowers and plants, said Underberg. “It still has that small, community feel,” she said. “Not many fairs dedicate an entire building to horticulture and flora culture.”
When she was growing up, her farm family went to the fair instead leaving town for vacation. “The fair, for a dairy farm kid, was kind of like Disney,” Underberg said. “Now that I have the opportunity to work here and help create those memories and traditions for other families, it’s really great.”
For a deeper look into the fair and its traditions, watch the special from WNED, the local Public Broadcasting Service station: “The Great Erie County Fair”.
Returning this year, there are new sensory-friendly features for people sensitive to noise and lights. The Sensory Room, on the Avenue of Flags, with ambient sound, calming colored lights, wall padding, weighted blankets and a bubble water feature. People can also come for the toned down “Sensory Hours,” when rides will turn off flashing lights and music and lower volume throughout the fair. Kits with noise cancelling headphones, fidget spinners and soft toys are available in the Main Office, the Security Building and the Friends of the Fair Office.
“There’s a growing population that are on the autistic spectrum and have sensory issues,” said Underberg. “We want those folks to be cable to come and enjoy the fair like everybody else.”
WHEN AND WHERE IS THE FAIR?
In 2023, the Erie County Fair at 5600 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg, N.Y., will be held from August 9-20. Gates and buildings open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The midway carnival attractions open from noon to 11 p.m. Buy tickets for $17 online or for $20 by credit or debit card at the gate. Cash is not accepted for ticket purchases. Children under 12 are free. Parking is free on fair lots. For information, call 716-649-3900 or write FrontDesk@ecfair.org.