LANCASTER — The annual Lancaster Fair begins Thursday, Aug. 31, and runs through Labor Day Monday, Sept. 4, at the Lancaster Fairgrounds.
Now in its 147th year, the Lancaster Fair marks the end of summer by celebrating the area’s agricultural heritage with a variety of family-friendly activities and entertainment. There’s carnival rides and games, farm animal competitions, top-notch music performances — this year’s headliner is country music supergroup Sawyer Brown — motorized competitions, food and special activities for the kids. ATVs are welcome and parking is free. Campsites are available on site.
Here is an overview of what fairgoers can see and do:
• Rides and games — all free with admission: From the flashing lights of the Ferris Wheel to the kiddie rides to all types of carnival games, the fair’s large midway offers fun and thrills for all ages.
• Animal Shows: Farm animals and their owners compete for the blue ribbon, and the hard work of the 4-H students is on display. Each day of the fair features oxen and horse pulls, sheepdog trials, working steer shows and horse drills.
• Entertainment, including country supergroup Sawyer Brown: The Lancaster Fair features a wide range of entertainment, including a pig scramble, the eighth annual fireman’s muster and the 22nd annual Classic Car Cruise Night. On Saturday night, Sawyer Brown brings their high-energy music to the fair grandstand. They have been making music and touring for more than 30 years. More than 50 of their singles have entered the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including three no. 1 singles. On Friday night, The Hitmen will be playing a variety of '70s classics to modern hits. Local musicians and singers will also be performing throughout the fair. All these performances are free with paid admission.
• Rip-roaring, motorized competitions: It's all about the horsepower at the fair’s paid ($10 admission) grandstand shows: Big Rig Truck Pull & Show N Shine is at 1 p.m. and a 4 x 4 truck pull is at 6 pm on Sunday, Sept. 3, and the popular demolition derby is at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4. Drivers are coming from as far north as Canada and as far south as New Jersey to participate in these high-octane, motorized competitions. Other competitions include a lawn-and-garden tractor pull on Saturday and a traditional tractor pull on Monday.
• Special activities for the kids: Along with the midway rides, the fair’s Kids’ Korner tent has crafts, daily ventriloquist shows, scavenger hunts, train rides, pedal tractor pulls,and other contests. Children can practice farming at special Farmer-for-a-Day stations and compete in their own power-wheel demo derby on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 1 p.m.
• Agriculture showcase: See northern New Hampshire's finest vegetables, plants, fruits, flowers and homemade crafts in special exhibitions, including 4-H exhibits.
Food stands will be serving pizza, grilled sausage with pepper and onions, French fries, fried dough, apple crisp and ice cream among other offerings. One of the food vendors is Robbie Lemos of Annemarie’s Catering.
“Our family has been involved in providing food at the Lancaster Fair for 52 years, and over that time we have seen the fair grow and offer more choices for food and entertainment,” said Lemos. “We enjoy seeing our customers and the other vendors each year.”
Another fair vendor that has a long history with the fair is North Country Ford in Lancaster. “It started with my dad in the early 1980s, and now my brother and I bring our inventory to the auto sheds at the Fair each year,” said Keith Kopp, North Country Ford partner. “We look forward to participating each year, as it is a great opportunity for us to meet new people and connect with our existing customers.”
Dreamland Amusements, which supplies midway rides and games to country fairs in the eastern United States, has been working with the Lancaster Fair since 2006. “Each year, we try to change the flavor of rides a little bit. This year, we are introducing the 93-foot-long Wacky Worm, a nice family roller coaster,” said Bob Destefano of Dreamland Amusements. “The Lancaster Fair is a great way to mark the end of summer with lots of fun activities and entertainment that the entire family can enjoy.”
The Lancaster Fair is open rain or shine. General admission is $15 on Thursday, Friday, and Monday and $17 on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free for children under 36 inches (when accompanied by a paying adult). Seniors 70 and older get in free on Thursday and Monday and at a reduced admission ($10) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A season pass is available for $65. Rides are included and open at noon on Thursday and Friday and 11:30 a.m. Saturday through Monday.
There is an additional $10 charge for the following grandstand shows: Big Rig Truck Pull & Show N Shine on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 1 p.m., 4x4 Truck Pull on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 6 p.m., and the Demolition Derby on Monday, Sept. 4 at 3:30 p.m.
Parking is free. Camping sites available on the fairground. Call (603) 237-8143 or register for a campsite at lancasterfair.com.