The region's county fairs deliver loud machines, twangy guitars and fun with farm animals

ARE YOU READY FOR THE COUNTRY?

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No matter where you turn, the price of gas is hitting everyone hard this year -- driving the price of everything out of sight. You'll be happy to know that by and large, the admission prices for this year's fairs have remained steady -- a few have even lowered their prices. Give kudos to the thousands of volunteers across the state who continue to give their time and extraordinary talents to this great tradition.


Bob Donaldson, Post-GazetteHarley Boyd, 9, of Worth takes "Foxy" in a tight turn during barrels competition at the Big Butler Fair last week.

Sad to report, one fair that couldn't escape the economic crunch is the Allegheny County Fair. But that still leaves more than a hundred across the state that are still going strong, so grab your friends and family and let's go to the fair!

This list is up to date, but, as always, events are subject to change. For a complete list of fairs in the state, visit www.pafairs.org.

BIG BUTLER FAIR
Through July 9

This fair is already in full swing -- what's left? Check out the motor sports action semi-truck pulls 7 p.m. July 7; quad and motorcycle races 2 p.m. July 8.

The big music feature this year is John Michael Montgomery headlining the July 9 Y108 Freedom Festival. Local acts begin at noon and feature the Povertyneck Hillbillies, Joe Patrick, Alli Gillis, Kellie Lynne, The Legendary Hucklebucks and Dallas Marks. Tickets to this all-day event are $15.

Admission: $4 before 4 p.m., $6 after 4 p.m. Rides not included; all-day ride band $8.

Directions: Take 1-79 north to exit 99. Connect to Route 422 east, go 5 miles. 724-865-2400.

CLARION COUNTY FAIR
July 24-30

Six days of big events kick off with the 4-H horse and pony show 10 a.m. July 24 followed by the Knight Cruisers' Cruise-in and another pet show at 4:30 p.m. That first day concludes with a hymn sing at 7 p.m., but all of that is just a warm up for the week. Mini, antique and farm tractor pulls start at 3 p.m. July 29; the Demolition Derbys -- some of the best around -- will be held 7:30 p.m. July 26, 27 and 30.

A lot of the judging takes place on July 25, beginning with the rabbits at 9 a.m., followed by home and family, junior dairy show, goat show and apple pie/Hershey chocolate baked goods. The baked goods auction begins at 6 p.m. the same day.

Other events thrown into the mix include a health fair, a 4-H horse and pony show, numerous livestock competitions and carnival activities. Other attractions: Rebound Greyhounds from 3-8 p.m. July 27 and children with special needs have their own time 10 a.m.-2 p.m. July 28. Mark Preston's variety show appears daily, and Lions Club bingo games will be held nightly.

Admission: $7 includes grandstand shows.

Directions: Redbank Valley Municipal Park in Alcola, 1.5 miles north of New Bethlehem on Route 28 north. 1-814-365-5179, www.clarioncountyfair.com.

FAYETTE COUNTY FAIR
July 28-Aug. 6

Music is always a big part of this fair. Rising country stars the Povertyneck Hillbillies take the stage -- twice -- 8:45 p.m. July 29 and 9 p.m. Aug. 6; up-and-coming country hottie Billy Currington shows off his wares at 8 p.m. July 30; The Fabulous Hubcaps perform 7 p.m. Aug. 1. The local girls show the men how it is really done when Vanessa Campagna does her set 8 p.m. July 29 and Deanna Dawn Denning does the country thang 7:30 p.m. Aug. 6.

There's always plenty of motor sports action, with the Dead Weight Tractor Pulling Contest, 7 p.m. July 27; Demolition Derby, 7 p.m. July 28 and Aug. 2; Quad and Dirt Bike Drags, FMX Freestyle Exhibition, 7 p.m. July 29; Garden Tractor Pull, 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. July 30; Motocross Races, 8 p.m. July 31; Stock Semi and Tri Axle Truck Pull & ATPA Limited PS Tractor Pull, 7 p.m. Aug. 1; Monster Truck Races, 7 p.m. Aug. 3; and Mudmania: 4x4 Trucks and ATV, 7 p.m. Aug. 5.

Lots of family activities on the schedule, including the Barnyard Petting Zoo, Kid$bucks Game Show, The Victoria Circus, Nancy's Pig Racing and The Tigers of India. Great American Midways will run the rides for the third consecutive year.

Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Baked Goods Auction, 7 p.m. July 28; Angel Food and Apple Pie, 1 p.m. July 30; Hershey Chocolate Cake and Cookie Contest, 1 p.m. July 31. Gardeners are always welcome and can check out the judging of the floral exhibits 7 p.m. July 28.

Admission: $9; advance admission $6 at local retailers. Check Web site for complete list.

Directions: Fayette County Fairgrounds, off the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Route 119, 20 miles south of New Stanton. 724-628-3360 or www.fayettefair.com.

GREENE COUNTY FAIR
Aug. 5-13

Fair planners have attached the moniker of "A Real Old-Time County Fair" to the event. Some old-timey events include home and garden judging at 9 a.m. Aug. 8 followed by a charity baked goods sale; the Kids Pedal-Power Contest 7 p.m. Aug. 8 and the 4-H market steer show 6:30 p.m. Aug. 9.

Motor sports events include Demolition Derby, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5 and 12; Imperial Hell Drivers Stunt Show, 8 p.m. Aug. 6; Lawn and Garden & Farm Stock Tractor Pulls, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 8; Duramax Truck Night, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9 and 13.

Harness Racing is at noon Aug. 9-11, and the Rawhide Rodeo Company takes the ring 7 p.m. Aug. 10-11.

Family activities and local performers are scheduled throughout the fair. Check the Web site for updated details.

Admission: $8; senior citizens admitted free on Aug. 11 until 3 p.m.

Directions: Waynesburg exit off I-79 to Route 21 and the Greene County Fairgrounds. 724-627-9160.

BEDFORD COUNTY FAIR
July 24-30

Have you ever taken a hot-air balloon ride? Here's your chance -- rides begin daily at 4 p.m. and weekends at 1 p.m. The kids can visit a petting zoo, which is open daily.

For gearheads and lovers of loud cars and trucks, the ATPA Tractor and Truck Pulling Contest is 4 p.m. July 24; Antique and Stock Tractor Pull is 6 p.m. July 25; Compact Car Demolition Derby is 6:30 p.m. July 27; Stock Car Racing is 6:30 p.m. July 29; and the Large Car Demolition Derby is 6 p.m. July 30.

Artisans and crafters have a heavy schedule as well, featuring knitting with Victoria's House of Needlework 6 p.m. July 25; spinning with Shelly Aujer 6 p.m. July 26; rug-making with Becky Swallow 6 p.m. July 27; quilting with the Bedford Quilters, 6 p.m. July 28; and soap/flax spinning by the Old Bedford Village, 6 p.m. July 29. Most of these events take place at Jordon Hall. Don't forget to grab a bag of home-baked goodies at the auction, 7:30 p.m. July 25.

Admission: $8; July 25 is half-price admission day.

Directions: Pennsylvania Turnpike east to Bedford, then take Route 220 south to Route 30. The Bedford County Fairgrounds are west of Bedford on Business Route 30/West Pitt Street. 1-814-623-9011 or www.bedford-fair.com.

BUTLER FARM SHOW
Aug. 8-13

Miniature Horse Show begins at 9 a.m. Aug. 8; the 4-H Rabbit Judging will take place at the same time. Baked Goods Auction begins at 7 p.m. the same day. The rest of the fair is bulging with a breeding show, dairy events, showmanship events and other market shows. Don't miss the fiddle contest 5 p.m. Aug. 13.

Motorsports include Championship Figure 8 Race, 8 p.m. Aug. 8; Stockcar Football 8 p.m. Aug. 9; 4-Wheel Drive Pulling Contest, Street Stock Hi-Performance Stock, 7 p.m. Aug. 10; Truck and Tractor Pull, 6 p.m. Aug. 11; Big Demolition Derby, 8 p.m. Aug. 12; Stock Semi & Tri-Axle Truck Pull, 8 p.m. Aug. 13.

Admission: $7; $6 Aug. 8.

Directions: Take I-79 north to the Evans City exit; Route 528 to Route 68. Farm Show grounds are on Route 68, three miles west of Butler. 724-482-4000 or www.butlerfarmshow.com.

WASHINGTON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL FAIR
Aug. 13-20

This fair is usually jam-packed with musical events, motorsports events, food events and music, music, music. The schedule was not available at publication date, but look for it soon online.

Directions: Take I-79 south to exit 41 (Racetrack Road); follow the signs to the fairgrounds in Arden. 724-225-7718 or www.washingtonfair.org.

LAWRENCE COUNTY FAIR
Aug. 15-20

Scheduled music includes Darryl Worley, 8 p.m. Aug. 19 ($20).

Lots of motorsports on tap here, beginning with Monster Trucks-Tough Truck Competition 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17; The ATPA Tractor/Truck Pull takes place 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18, followed by a combine Demo Derby; The Farm Stock and Antique Tractor pull 9 a.m. Aug. 20 with another demolition derby 7:30 p.m. the same day. The fair ends with fireworks by Zambelli.

Admission: $8 Mon.-Tues.; $6 Wed. (rides included, grandstand extra); $5 Thurs.-Sat. (rides and grandstand extra); children 3 and under admitted free.

Directions: Take Route 108 three miles east of New Castle to Lawrence County Fairgrounds, across from Laurel High School. 724-654-7745 or www.lawrencecountyfair.com.

WESTMORELAND COUNTY FAIR
Aug. 19-27

This nine-day fair boasts nonstop action, and it all begins with the animal judging 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 19; rides open at 4 p.m. the same day, and then the fair queen is crowned at 7 p.m. Once the formalities are done, the Motocross Racing begins at 8 p.m., and that is just the first day!

The music schedule features country star Gary Allan in concert 7 p.m. Aug. 22 ($20-$30; includes fair admission, rides and parking). Other entertainment sticks to the country road with Mike Garris Pure Country Band, 7 and 9 p.m. Aug. 20; the Quickchange Band, 7 and 9 p.m. Aug. 21; the Povertyneck Hillbillies, 7 p.m. Aug. 23; Triple Creek Band, 7 and 9 p.m. Aug. 24; and Midnite Run, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 27.

Motocross racing continues 8 p.m. Aug. 20; Demolition Derby & Bus Derby, 7 p.m. Aug. 21; Figure 8 and Mini Van Derby, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24; 4x4 Tractor and Truck Pull, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 26; and the Powder Puff Demolition Derby, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 27.

There are lots of other fun events throughout the fair, including the 4-H Pet Care Show, 6 p.m. Aug. 22; Dog Agility Contest, 1 p.m. Aug. 13; judging Market Lambs and Sheep Showmanship, 6 p.m. Aug. 23; The Skid Rodeo Contest, 1 p.m. Aug. 25; and the Annual Dressing Contest 3:30 p.m. Aug. 26, to name a few.

Admission: $7, extra fees for some events. Seniors Day is Aug. 24, with $3 admission with ID. Aug. 23 is Family Day for $6.

Directions: Take Pennsylvania Turnpike to Irwin exit and head east to Greensburg. Follow Route 30 to Mount Pleasant exit, and go south 6 miles. 724-423-5005 or www.westmorelandfair.com.

CRAWFORD COUNTY FAIR
Aug. 20-27

This fair is celebrating its 60th year and is still chock-full of events for everyone. The baked goods auction will be held 5:30 p.m. Aug. 20, honey demonstrations at 3 p.m. the same day. Aug. 22 is full of livestock, rabbit, 4-H and dairy cattle judging. A "Make it With Wool Contest" will be held 10:30 a.m. Aug. 24, followed by a "Making Purses -- Demure to Dynamic" segment at 1:30 p.m. The fair is full to the brim with agricultural events daily. Check the Web site for details. The Miss Crawford County Scholarship Pageant begins at 7 p.m. Aug. 22. The winner goes on to compete in Miss Pennsylvania.

Motorsports on tap include ATPA Sanctioned Truck & Tractor Pull, 7 p.m. Aug. 20; Monster Truck Pull, 8 p.m. Aug. 24; Demolition Derby, 7 p.m. Aug. 27.

If you didn't make it to Burgettstown to see Toby Keith, you can catch him at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 25 ($41.50-$49.50); Rascal Flatts and Blake Shelton perform 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23 ($30-$35); Clay Aiken will work his magic 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21 ($30-$35). All tickets can be ordered in advance at 1-814-333-7400.

Admission: $3; under 12 free; 65 and older admitted free Mon. and Wed. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Crawford County 4-H and FFA members admitted free.

Directions: Take I-79 north to Meadville. The fairgrounds are on Route 77, south of Meadville. 1-814-333-7400.

SOMERSET COUNTY FAIR
Aug. 21-27

This fair is in a beautiful part of the state, and it's worth the ride. The charity baked goods sale will be held 2:30 p.m. Aug. 21, and a traditional farmers parade starts at 7 p.m. the same day. New this year? Market Goats Judging on Aug. 20 followed by an evening at the grandstand that begins at 7:30 p.m. with a fair queen competition and a performance by The Vogues.

The carnival arrives on the grounds Aug. 21, and the rest of the fair kicks in with a Figure 8 Demolition Derby, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22; 4x4 Mud Bogging at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23: a full-scale Rodeo, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24; 4x4 Truck Pull, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 25; Farm Tractor Pull, 3 p.m. Aug. 26; Wood Carving Auction, 8 p.m. Aug. 26; and, last but not least, the Demolition Derby, 6 p.m. Aug. 27.

Admission: $4 Sun.-Mon.; $6 rest of the week. Directions: Take Pennsylvania Turnpike exit 10 to Somerset and follow Route 219 south to Meyersdale, about 25 miles. 1-814-267-3294

HOOKSTOWN FAIR
Aug. 23-27

This year's fair theme is "Ewe Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet!"

Although the final schedule hadn't been released at press time, we can tell you that this fair will be packed with daily family entertainment, a community tent and kiddie land.

On the baking front, contests include Hershey Cocoa Cake, Apple Pie Contest and Angel Food Cake. The fair is always rich in entertainment, and this year should be no exception.

Motor sports events include Demolition Derby, ATPA Tractor/Truck Pulls, Farm Stock Tractor Pulls and Antique Classic Car and Truck Show. The Web site should be updated shortly with times and dates for all events.

Admission: $7 until 3 p.m.; $9 thereafter; everything included, free parking. 60 and older free before 3 p.m.; under 2, free.

Directions: 1/2 mile north of U.S. Route 30 on Route 168. 724-573-4512 or www.hookstownfair.com.

INDIANA COUNTY FAIR
Aug. 27-Sept. 3

The queen of the fair gets crowned at 8:15 p.m. Aug. 28.

On the motorsports front, derbies are scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 27 and noon Sept. 3; Limited Pro Stock Tractors, Smoker Series Tractors and Big Rig Semis, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2; Stock Semi, Tri-Axle Dump and 4x4 Truck Pull starts at 7 p.m. Sept. 3. The Outhouse Race is at 3 p.m. Aug. 28.

Former "American Idol" contestant and country music star Josh Gracin has a new recording out soon -- he's stopping by 8 p.m. Aug. 31 to sing the new stuff. That concert will wrap up a day that includes a sheep show, harness racing, horse judging and the 4-H rabbit show. Sept. 1 is Cheerleading Expo night, followed by a milk chugging contest.

Admission: $8, ages 6 and under free. Aug. 1 is family day; admission is $1.

Directions: From Route 422 or Route 119, take the Wayne Avenue exit and follow Wayne Avenue/Jimmy Stewart Boulevard to the J.S. Mack Community Center. 724-465-6703 or www.indianacountyfair.com.

BIG KNOB GRANGE FAIR
Aug. 30-Sept. 3

The fair schedule won't be finalized until July 19, but keep this one on your calendar -- this fair has agricultural and home economics exhibits throughout, and there is usually free entertainment each evening.

The fair is also packed with the usual motorsports -- demolition derby, truck and tractor pulls and the like. Last year, it had a cow costume contest. Here's hoping that one returns -- it sounds like fun.

Admission: Not available at publication.

Directions: 2 miles east of Rochester on Big Knob Road. 724-843-7863.

CANFIELD FAIR
Aug. 31-Sept. 5

This big fair predates the Civil War -- and is still picking up steam. New this year: an arts & crafts building; the Zoppe Family Circus and the Shooting Star Entertainment Stage. The kids can stop by the milking parlor at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. to try their hand at milking a cow or to just watch. Old MacDonald's Farm animals are around all day awaiting visitors.

This fair always draws a big name or two to the grandstand. This year: Brad Paisley and Chris Cagle fire up the country sounds at 8 p.m. Sept. 4. Larry the Cable Guy brings his own brand of humor to the stage 8 p.m. Sept. 5.

The World's Largest Demolition Derby will take place at 8 p.m. Sept. 2. X-Fest Series Freestyle Motorcross is at 8 p.m. Sept. 1; ATPA Truck & Tractor Pull/Semi-Truck Pull, 7 p.m. Sept. 3.

Admission: $6, $2 ages 7 to 12, free for children 6 and under. Kids 17 and under admitted free on Thurs. Seniors admitted for $5 on Fri. Extra charges for rides.

Directions: The fairgrounds are in Mahoning County, Ohio. Take the Pennsylvania Turnpike west to Ohio Turnpike, to Youngstown exit, then Route 224 Boardman-Canfield Road. 1-330-533-4107 or www.canfieldfair.com.

GREAT STONEBORO FAIR
Sept. 1-5

Day one begins with the judging -- everything from canned foods to flowers to photography. Baked goods will also be judged in the morning and auctioned off at 6 p.m. Other fun family activities include "Traveling Shoes," a clogging show, 3 p.m. Sept. 3; a circus at 5 and 7 p.m. Sept. 2, and a milking contest 7 p.m. Aug. 31. Zambelli brings its grand fireworks spectacular to the skies 10 p.m. Sept. 3.

Motor sports events start with the Antique Tractor Pull, 6 p.m. Sept. 1 and 2; the Nationwide Demolition Derby is 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1 and 2, and the Garden Tractor pull is at 5 p.m. Aug. 31.

Country star Craig Morgan is the headlining music act, 8 p.m. Sept. 4. His concert will be followed by another Zambelli fireworks show at 10 p.m.

Admission: $8 (includes parking, rides and grandstand); 2 years and under, free.

Directions: Between Stoneboro and Sandy Lake on Route 62 in Mercer County. 724-376-2852 or www.pafairs.org/stoneborofair/.

CAMBRIA COUNTY FAIR
Sept. 4-10

The schedule for this fair is also not up yet, but the dates are confirmed. This event turns 115 this year and is sure to be chock-full of amusement rides, grandstand events, motorsports events, great bake-offs and fun for everyone. Check the Web site for updates.

Directions: Take Route 22 east to the Ebensburg exit and follow the signs. 1-814-472-7491 or www.cambria-county-fair.com.


Rosa Colucci can be reached at 412-263-3859 or rcolucci@post-gazette.com .


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