This year marks the 175th year of the Erie County Fair, and it’s looking to be the biggest Fair experience yet with over a MILLION people expected to attend this year’s 12-day event! But it all started from humble beginnings…
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. 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.
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 Erie County Fair set its attendance record in 2013 with a paid attendance of 1,160,184.
If you stop by this year’s Fair make sure to come and visit us in the Outdoor Showplace Building (near Gate 6)!