About the Fair

The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private not-for-profit membership corporation, which annually produces the Erie County Fair.  The Society is the oldest civic organization in western New York, established in 1819.  The Society does not receive funding from New York State or from the County of Erie. 

Mission Statement
The basic purpose of the Erie County Agricultural Society, sponsors of the Erie County Fair and Exposition, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York State.

The Society sponsors the Erie County Fair, which is held annually and intended to promote and showcase our community's agricultural traditions, talents, diversity and heritage.

A 13 member Board of Directors governs the operation of the Society.  The Erie County Fair employs a small, but dedicated staff which produced the annual event in August. 


THE FAIRGROUNDS

Facilities

  • 275 Acres
  • 86 permanent buildings and structures            
  • 4 green parks (Baker, Slade, Fries, Hickory Tree) 
  • 15,000 parking spaces

ERIE COUNTY FAIR

Admissions - The attendance for the Fair has a 6 year average of over 950,000.

Gate Admission
Adult $10.00
Senior Citizen (60 Plus) $7.00
Children ages 12 & under FREE

MIDWAY
James E. Strates Shows has played the fair since 1924 and still provides the midway with approximately 70 rides and 100 games. 

The Strates Midway is the only railroad carnival operating in the US. The 61 car train travels over 6,500 miles and to 16 cities each and every season.


A LITTLE HISTORY...
In the Beginning…The Agricultural Society was established in 1819, then called the Niagara County Horticultural Society.  It held its first fair in 1820 on what is now the site of the Donovan Office Building in Buffalo. One year later, Niagara County split into Erie and Niagara Counties, and so did the agricultural society. The Erie County Agricultural Society is the oldest civic, community member organization in Erie County.

The Society’s first president, Dr. Cyrenius Chapin, was also the first physician to ever come to Western New York.

After the 1821 Fair, the Society foundered due to the poor economy in the area and the difficulty of transporting livestock over nearly impassable roads.  The Society was reborn in 1841 and again started holding its annual Fair.  The Erie County Fair has been held every year since 1841 with the exception of 1943, which was canceled because of World War II.

After many years of being held in Buffalo, the Fair was moved throughout different locations in Aurora, Lancaster, East Hamburgh, (now Orchard Park) West Seneca, and Springville from 1851-1867.  In 1868, the Society moved the Fair to its Hamburg location and has remained there ever-since. 

Originally, the Hamburg location for the Fair was 12 acres.  Over the years, The Fairgrounds have grown to cover 275 acres.  Likewise, the Fair began as a one-day event held in the fall.  It too has grown to become an 12-day event held each August.


OTHER INTERESTING FAIR FACTS

  • The oldest building on the grounds is the Octagon Building, which was built in 1885 for $2,037.50.
  • The James E. Strates Shows Midway first appeared at the Fair in 1924 and still arrives at the Fair each year via railroad.
  • The Fair owns the only original San Francisco Cable Car operating outside those city limits.
  • The metal 40-foot span main gate on McKinley Parkway was built in 1930 to allow four automobiles to enter the fairgrounds abreast.
  • Lynda Bird Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson, formally dedicated the Historical Building on August 23, 1965.  The Agricultural and Grange Building was opened five days later. 
  • The Erie County Fair became the country’s largest county fair for the first time in 1970, with an attendance of 600,960.  It is currently the nation’s third largest county fair. 
  • The Event Center (formerly known as the International Agri-Center) was completed in 1990.  The Center is 74,000 square-feet and cost $4.5 million.
  • The Erie County Fair set its attendance record in 2011 with a paid attendance of 1,053,150.
  • These and many other interesting facts about the Erie County Fair can be found in the limited collector’s edition, Reflections of America’s County Fair, a 200+ page chronicle of over 60 years of the Erie County Agricultural Fair.
  • The Erie County Fair is not affiliated with any government agency and does not receive any government funding.  As a non-for-profit agency we are eligible to apply for grants.