About The Fair
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Instagram Blog

Sign up for email updates from Erie County Fair

Home > Guest Info > About The Fair

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, producers of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York State.

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

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

Erie County Agricultural Society By-Laws
Click Here to read the by-laws or download the PDF

Board of Directors
A Board of Directors governs the operation of the Society. The Erie County Fair employs a small, but dedicated staff which produce the annual event in August.
Admissions - The attendance for the Fair has a 5 year average of over 1.1 million guests.

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 Hamburg, (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.
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 an original San Francisco Cable Car, Sacramento-Clay Cable Car #17, constructed in 1883. In 1962, the retired car was fitted on a bus frame and purchased by the Erie County Fair. Legend has it that after the cable car was fitted on a bus chassis and purchased by the Fair, West Seneca’s Norman Dust & wife Lorraine drove the cable car 2,500 miles to the Fairgrounds. Along the way the Dusts encountered all types of weather including a snowstorm in the Rocky Mountains.
  • 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 2019 with a paid attendance of 1,238,456..
  • 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.
Our 1949 Erie County Fair "Fairmobile" - 1949 GMC One Ton Panel Truck
This lovingly restored 1949 GMC 250 panel truck serves as a mobile ambassador for the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York. Since 2013, it has appeared at hundreds of parades and special events across the region promoting Western New York’s most popular annual event. In 2014, the Erie County Fair was ranked as the 10th largest fair in North American when compared with all state/county fairs and expositions.

HISTORY - In 1949, the Lowery Novelty Company of Allentown, Pennsylvania purchased this GMC “250” and a smaller “150” version for use with their wholesale business. When original, the truck was painted in a pale, “robin egg” blue color scheme. The truck was driven daily until the company went out of business in 1983. In 1983 Kevin Redline of Walnutport, PA purchased the truck to use in conjunction with his restoration carpentry business. In the early 1990s, after years of hauling ladders and saws, it came into the possession of Russell Kelly of Orchard Park, New York. Under Kelly’s direction, the truck received an extensive restoration which was completed in 2006. Finally, it was purchased by the Erie County Agricultural Society in 2013 as part of its marketing and promotional efforts for the 175th Erie County Fair in 2014. The striking graphics and digital vinyl wrap, based on an Erie County Fair poster, was printed and installed by VSP Marketing Graphic group of West Seneca.
Image of the Fairmobile
Image of the Fairmobile
Image of the Fairmobile
Back to