Where do you get carnival rides and games, farm animals, the junk food gamut, live entertainment, pony rides, piglet races, and wares for sale all in once place? Down at the county fair. The season for them runs from early August through mid-September, and this post has the lowdown on this year’s events around the area. Happy Fairin’!
Howard County Fair
The 76th annual fair begins this coming weekend, and you have through next Saturday to enjoy rides, magic shows, musical entertainment in the evenings, pig races and pony rides, the Kids & Critters barn, Demolition Derby, a pro rodeo, and more. Most of the rides cost extra, and packages are available, so be sure to check out the website to see what’s available if you plan to go.
When: August 6-13, ground open 8am – 10pm daily, though most exhibits open at 10am, and activity times vary, so be sure to check schedules.
Where: 2210 Fairground Road | West Friendship, MD
Cost: $10/ages 13+, $5/seniors, free for under 10. Rides and games are extra.
Montgomery County Fair
This fair is a family fave. (You can get a glimpse of one of our experiences there and read a review from a several years ago), so trust me when I say that there is so much to do, you have to see the schedule on the website for yourself to get the full scope. Highlights include lots of 4-H exhibits and demos, including opportunities to visit with some of the animals; animal races, pony rides, a KidZone with interactive games and activities, tons of carnival and kiddie rides, arts & crafts, monster trucks and a demolition derby, and much more.
When: August 12-20, times vary by day so check the website for specifics.
Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds | 501 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, MD.
Cost: Admission is $12/advance $15/at gate for age 12+, free/11 & under. Tickets for rides cost extra. A one-day all-u-can-ride carnival wristband is available for $20/online until 8/14, $30/on site. And note that parking is $10 at the fairgrounds, but FREE parking and shuttle bus service are available from Lakeforest Mall, located at Lost Knife Rd. and Odenhal Ave.
Prince William County Fair
Virginia’s largest annual county fair includes 4-H exhibits, rides, contests (think pie eating and water balloon tossing), animal shows, craft demos, the Children’s Barn, Kid’s Zone, live performances, and more. Note that August 9 is Kid’s Friday when all admissions are $6. And there are other special days with all kinds of promos, so be sure to check the schedule for details.
When: August 13-21, Hours vary by day, so check the daily schedules.
Where: Prince William County Fairgrounds | 10624 Dumfries, Manassas, VA.
Cost: Admission is $6-12/age 14-64, $4-8/seniors and age 5-13, free/4 & under. Check for package deals and daily specials, too!
Arlington County Fair
We’ve been to this fair and have had a great time. It’s big enough for a fun-filled day, but not so huge that it’s overwhelming, and you feel rushed to get to everything. There are carnival rides for everyone from toddlers to adults, and the kids especially loved the pony rides and piglet races when they were younger. You can also check out competitive exhibits, enjoy live entertainment, cheer on a variety of racing animals, view outdoor movies, and take little ones to the Kids’ Court for moon bouncing, face painting, a beer garden for adults, and more.
When: August 17-21, hours vary by day, so check the schedule for specifics.
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Center | 3501 Second St., Arlington, VA. Get parking/shuttle information here.
Cost: Admission is FREE. But, of course, you need to buy tickets for rides and other activities: $1/ticket, $20/24 tickets, $40/48 tickets. There is an online special of 72 ride tickets for $55.
Prince George’s County Fair
A variety of entertainment and attractions for all ages — 4-H exhibits magic and dance shows, pig and duck races, a horse pull competition, a chain saw artist, a K-9 show, and much more.
When: September 8-11, hours vary by day.
Where: Showplace Arena | 14900 Pennsylvania Ave., Upper Marlboro, MD.
Cost: Admission is $6/age 13-54, $5/age 6-12 & 55+, free/5 & under. Rides and games are extra.
Anne Arundel County Fair
Carnival rides and games, animal exhibits, monster trucks, pony rides, garden tractor pulls, pig races, pie eating contests, a talent show, live music and much more.
When: September 14-18, check the website for hours.
Where: Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds | 1450 General’s Highway, Crownsville, MD
Cost: Admission is $10/age 10+, free/9 & under. Rides and games cost extra.
The Great Frederick Fair
Rounding out the county fair season, this one in Frederick has many of the same offerings as the others, so if you can’t make it to a fair earlier in the season (or even if you can), keep this one on your radar. There are agricultural events, rides and games, live performances, a Kids Zone with free entertainment, and much more.
When: September 16-24, 4-10pm the first day, then 9am – 10pm daily
Where: Frederick Fairgrounds | 797 E Patrick Street, Frederick, MD
Cost: $10/age 11+, free/10 & under. Tickets for rides and some activities are extra.