Farmgirl Fun at the Fair!

The end of summer and beginning of fall bring one of my most favorite things to do…go to a county fair!  There’s so many scattered throughout my area, that it’s hard to go to all of them.  Come have some ol’fashioned farmgirl fun with me and my family, as we


As a child in Texas, after a busy week in the city, we’d pack up on Friday nights and head to the Texas hill country for the weekend.  Sometimes, we’d drive “into town”. That’s where I was first introduced to the iconic “county fair”.  Outside in the beautiful, warm weather, I loved the animals, the fair food, and the attractions.  (As a kid, my favorite attraction was the “Swimming Piglet”).  As an adult, I still love heading to the fairs that are peppered throughout New England and the tri-state area.The animals!  The tractors!  The food! There’s really something for everyone, and in this day and age there are few events that can truly entertain all ages.

Recently, my family and I headed down to the  “Dutchess County Fair” ( in charming Rhinebeck, New York.  Considered the second largest county fair in New York state, it’s certainly the biggest fair I’ve ever seen! Heading up on a weekday, my family and I spent a day of classic American fun!

There we met vendors and small business owners from all over, from the deep south to way up north, and everywhere in-between. For bargain shoppers or those looking for something specific, it’s a great place to pick up brochures and get pricing (usually there’s some good specials for the fair). Spotted: handmade aprons, $5.00!

We then headed to our most favorite part of the fair: the animals!  I was in “Farmgirl Heaven” seeing all the cows, pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits and chickens, all entered for a chance at a Blue Ribbon.  “4H” kids (  get a chance to show off their skills and their animals.  One little girl, who told me she was eight, was so proud of her baby cow, she excitedly asked if we would like to pet it. She was just beaming…so sweet!

Bunnies as far as the eye can see!

“Chicken Cubicle”

“Baby Brown”

“That face! That face!  That Cover Cow Face!”

We also enjoyed seeing the entries in gardening and handiwork.  Every year, I say I am going to enter my knitting or “famous” jam.  One of these days, I’ll have to do that!

My daughter and I pause at the entrance to the plant exhibit

Prize-winning blooms

The Dutchess County fair also had a special section showing off some exotic animals, and in another area, a very popular “petting zoo”.

“I like to move it…move it!!”

The tortoise and the hare

This friendly creature at the petting zoo is a Zebu from India.

We grabbed a homemade apple cider donut (a delectable, $1.00 treat) and ducked out of the hot sun for a bit and into the “museum” of fair days past.

We had such a great family day, and before we knew it, the day was getting late.  After six hours of walking around, we limped back to the car!

Another (but smaller) county fair we always love to go to is the Bridgewater County Fair, which opens on Fridays with a procession of fire trucks from all around the area, both antique and current. There’s also a great collection of vintage tractors.

Fun at the Bridgewater County Fair, 2011

The Fairfield County fair happens in the fall, and this year my daughter plans to enter a beautiful potted plant.  Little changes year to year at the county fairs, and I love that.  I think it’s important county fairs continue and keep
Americana traditions.  It’s inexpensive, traditional family fun, and the various 4H clubs give kids so many great opportunities to learn and excel.

Do you attend a county fair, and if so, what’s your favorite part of the fair?  Have you ever won a ribbon?  Share your experiences and memories in the comments below!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  1. Mindy says:

    I also love county fairs. My daughter, who is in 4th grade, has been sewing for 2 years. This past spring, she entered a shirt she sewed in our county fair. She won a blue ribbon for it! Now, she is really into sewing and wants to make more items. I am so proud of her. We entered a dress she made this summer into our Arizona state fair for next month. The only down side of our fair was that I found it very expensive. It was $15 just for 3 of us to ride the ferris wheel. The prices won’t stop me from going, though! 🙂

    Hi Mindy!  Congratulations to your daughter for her blue ribbon!  Tell her the Suburban Farmgirl says "Awesome job!"  That’s a great accomplishment for anyone, but in fourth grade?  That’s really something.  You must be so proud!  As for the prices of the fair, I understand.  Some fairs in our area are more expensive than others. Seems to me the smaller ones cost more than the large ones!  The Dutchess County Fair surprised me.  I found it to be pretty reasonable.  I still think it’s worth to go to the fair, too.  Thanks for sharing with me! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Maureen says:

    I love the fair every year and never miss this end of summer event. The quilt and fiber exhibits draw me in. I love the creativity of the 4-H kids and my favorite exhibit this year was a raincoat made out of a Twister game mat! The theme was recycling and it turned out awesome! Such creativity; it sort of made me want to make one for myself!

    Hi Maureen!  What a great idea for the theme, one of my favorite things as a farmgirl, of course! Bet that raincoat was amazing!  Thanks for sharing! Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  3. Joan says:

    Oh thanks Nicole for the trip to the Fair, I didn’t get to go this year so you made it for me. My recall is bringing up all the great smells – yes I like the animal smells too. God Bless

    Hi Joan!  I love the animal smells, too. It’s all part of the fun.  Farmgirl hugs to you! – Nicole

  4. Sarah says:

    I entered some butternut squash in our local county fair a couple of years ago. I won a ribbon, but I was the only butternut squash, so I’m not sure how fair it was. It was still thrilling to win!

    Sarah, Of course! It’s awesome that you grew prize-winning squash. My favorite way to cook it by the way is roasted with butter and cinnamon. Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  5. Laurie Dimino says:

    Hi Nicole!
    Ya know how you said to me the more we talk the more you feel like we have in common? Well gee,
    I got that EXACT feeling as I read this blog post! Every year my daughter and I go to the Long Island Fair, at Old Bethpage Village Restoration. We have been going for years! In fact when my daughter was in 4th grade she went as a field trip from school. Of course, I, not wanting to miss out on the fun, tagged along as a chaperone. Well, my daughter entered the " guess how many beans are in the jar" contest and WON! It was really quite amazing considering there were THOUSANDS of entries, and SHE guessed the closest! She was thrilled and brought the letter she received in the mail along with a copy of her $25.00 prize check in to school to show her teacher.
    This year she is entering several of her photographs that she has taken into the junior hobby category. She is a budding photographer, and we are trying to encourage her to pursue her love of taking pictures , so we thought this was a great opportunity to do just that. We are really looking forward to it. She has to enter above her age class (she has just turned 13 years old) and the photography category doesn’t technically start until age 14, so she will be going up against 14-17 year olds, but it will be a good learning experience for her.
    We look forward to our local fair every year, and this year will be a new experience for us because we will be actual "participants" !
    Thank you as always for your wonderful posts, and one of these days girlfriend we are definitely going to get together for some farmgirl fun!

    Hi Sweet Laurie,  I am chuckling as I read this, because of how you mention chaperoning field trips.  I have volunteered for every field trip I could that my daughter has had.  I think I got more excited over some of them than she did!  So proud to hear that your daughter is entering her photos.  Good luck to her!  Can’t wait to meet you both!  Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Diane Loehr says:

    I love this fair as well and the Vanilla shakes are the best at the 4H stand. Well worth the long line, but it goes pretty quickly. We were in Lake George this year camping so we were not able to go. Now I am home for the month of September, since I had to have my left hip replaced. At least I can catch up on some of my craft projects. I loved reading your article about the fair. We all hope to go again next year! Have a great day!Diane

    Hi Diane! I wondered why there was such a long line at the 4H shake stand!  Next year I will have to get one!  Thank you for your comment, hope you have a speedy recovery! Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

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