The 172nd Erie County Fair is underway in Hamburg.  It’s the third largest county fair in the country and is the second-longest operating fair in the United States.

The first one was held in 1820 and was just a one-day fair at a spot across from where Memorial Auditorium once stood.  It was held again the following year but a poor economy and funding put the fair on hold for nearly 20 years until it was reborn again in 1841.  Since then, the Erie County Fair has been held every year with the exception of 1943, when it was canceled because of World War II.

After begin held in downtown Buffalo for many years, the Fair was moved to  locations in the towns of Aurora, Lancaster, Orchard Park, West Seneca and Springville. In 1868, the Fair was moved to its Hamburg
location and has remained there ever since.

The current location started as a 12 acre plot of land but over the years the site has grown to a full 265 acres. It’s also grown from a one-day event to 12 days.

The fair always features various music shows at the grandstand.  Some of the stars over the years have included Willie Nelson, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Ronnie Milsap, Keith Urban and this year Miranda Lambert and Randy Houser.  The last day of the fair traditionally features a demolition derby.

While most fair workers are employed by the fair or by vendors, there is a group of dedicated volunteers who in 1988 started The Friends of the Fair Volunteer Program to act as greeters, ticket takers and to man information booths.

SOURCE: Erie County Fair Media Guide