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6 Fun State Fairs Across America

Daughter sitting on mothers shoulders at the state fair

Every year, corn dogs, livestock shows, and Ferris wheels take over fairgrounds across the country. Whether you want to try delectable, deep-fried foods, go on a gravity-defying ride, or sing along at a concert, the State Fair is the place to be. Here, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the most fun fairs in America.  

The Oldest State Fair in the U.S.

The Great New York State Fair is the longest-running state fair in the U.S., drawing over one million attendees annually. The 13-day event highlights agriculture, entertainment, education, and technology. Guests can enjoy fair games, music, food, and parades honoring local law enforcement, armed forces, and first responders.  

Fun Fair Activities: Visit the fair’s cultural villages. Spots like the Pan-African and Latino Villages commemorate some of the most predominant cultures in the state’s population. 

The Country’s Most Popular State Fair 

The State Fair of Texas is one of the largest state fairs in the U.S. by attendance, bringing in more than two million guests every year. They are welcomed to the event by Big Tex, a 55-foot-tall statue that has stood as the world’s tallest cowboy since 1952. Under his open arms, attendees experience auto showcases, agricultural expos, games, and fried food galore.   

Fun Fair Activities: Attend the college football rivalry games inside the fairgrounds at Cotton Bowl Stadium

The World’s Only Multi-State Fair 

Lasting 17 days, The Big E gives love to the states that make up New England—Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Once known as the Eastern States Exposition, the Massachusetts-held event has enough activities and entertainment to fill up the area it recognizes. 

Fun Fair Activities: Stroll through all six New England states in one day at the Avenue of States. You can explore replicas of each region’s statehouse on land owned by the respective states. 

The Largest State Fair in the Pacific Northwest 

The largest state fair in the pacific northwest

For 21 days in September, the Washington State Fair keeps decades-old traditions alive across 165 acres of land in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. From art exhibitions and farming simulations to Friday night fireworks, there’s plenty of opportunity for learning and leisure. 

Fun Fair Activities: Check out the Puyallup Rodeo, a three-day extravaganza in the middle of the fairgrounds. Get a front-row seat to country music concerts and top bull riding and steer wrestling competitions. 

The State Fair Where You Can Get in Free 

On select days, guests at the Arizona State Fair can get in free by donating canned goods at the front gates. Founded in 1884, this month-long southwestern fair has evolved into a gathering of eclectic affairs, like psychic readings, tribute band concerts, monster truck shows, and a haunted mansion. Attractions include a 17-story-high thrill ride named the Titan, one of the newest roller coasters.   

Fun Fair Activities: Rent a VIP cabana for a private space to relax and recharge with friends and family. The mesh tent has misting fans, TVs, Wi-Fi, and complimentary water. 

The State Fair That’s Big on History

Visit the North Carolina State Fair’s Heritage Circle to see historic buildings and blacksmith demonstrations during its 11-day opening. And be sure to stop by the Folk Festival hosted daily from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM to find bluegrass, clogging, and square-dancing competitions that celebrate North Carolina’s musical past.  

Fun Fair Activities: Tour the Village of Yesteryear. Open since 1950, the exhibit is dedicated to preserving the history of handmade crafts, clothing, and art. There are countless artifacts and works on display and for sale.  

The Best State Fair Foods 

The best state fair foods across America

New York: Anything in the Taste NY Marketplace. The premiere destination offers free samples of 100+ foods and beverages made, grown, and brewed right in New York.   

Texas: There’s always a new rotation of unusual fried foods. Past fairs have touted deep-fried Oreos, strawberry shortcakes, lasagna, and pizza. 

The Big E: The Big E Bakery’s cream puffs have been the fair’s signature dish for 20 years. Try the popular cream flavor or the recently added chocolate ganache. 

Washington: Korean corndogs served at one of the newest food stands, “Extreme Carnival Eats.” The dogs are wrapped in crunchy ramen and coated with hot Cheetos for a unique bite of flavored fusion. 

Arizona: A cotton candy burrito filled with ice cream and sprinkles for the ultimate sugar rush.  

North Carolina: Pepsi-glazed mini donuts. The formula for the sweet soda was invented in New Bern, North Carolina in 1893. 

Plan a Road Trip to These Fun Fairs

Visiting the fun fairs and most famous state fairs across America could make for a very fun road trip if you’ve got the money to make things worthwhile. To help you save on some trip essentials, read our article “4 Tips for Saving Big Money on a Road Trip.” With the money you hold onto, you’ll be able to enjoy more fair food and fun and see more of what these events have to offer.  

State Fair FAQs

1. Do all states have a state fair?

No, not all states have a state fair. Rhode Island and Connecticut don't have state fairs. However, they may have regional or local fairs.

2. What are the best state fairs?

The best state fairs and most famous state fairs include:

  • The Great New York State Fair
  • The State Fair of Texas
  • The Big E
  • The Washington State Fair
  • North Carolina's State Fair

3. Who has the best state fair?

These states have the best state fairs:

  • New York
  • Texas
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • North Carolina