December 31st, 2014


With 2014 coming to a close, the Fairgrounds looks back on the top fourteen stories that made this year one of the best yet on the grounds. The stories are not in order of importance, but chronological instead. So take a journey through the past twelve months and relive some of the most exciting moments of the year!



The Buffalo Raceway was not without  excitement in 2014. In total seven track records were equaled or broken. The biggest of these feats was by far Gural Hanover lowering the all age trot mark to 1:56:1 as a 3 year old. 




The Fairgrounds is home to many exciting events, many of which return year after year. 2014, however, was extra special in that the Fairgrounds had the opportunity to host the NHPA World Horseshoe Tournament. More than 1,500 horseshoe pitching competitors from around the world made their way to the grounds for the 12 day competition. With pits lining the Event Center, and the constant clank of horseshoes hitting the pin, the competition was by far one of the most unique events the grounds have ever hosted. 


The 60,000 square foot Agriculture Discovery Center opened its doors becoming one of the largest buildings of its kind in the region. From livestock stalling to the fun (and educational) components, the ADC is one of the Fairgrounds’ greatest achievements in 2014. Opening its doors at the beginning of August, it was truly incredible to see the all of the hard work and creativity come together. 

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The celebration for this historic anniversary began in 2013, but the party really got started once 2014 hit. The Fair Truck made appearances throughout WNY, 17,500 wooden nickels were passed out, planning for the Fair was underway, and finally the time had come to really celebrate. From an opening night with the BPO, to honoring traditions, eating food, riding rides, and creating memories, the 2014 Erie County Fair was an incredible event.



For many years, days at the Fair ended its nights with dark skies. In 2014, the Erie County Fair was excited to bring back a crowd favorite, fireworks. With the help of Sklighters of New York, the Fair was able to feature three nights of incredible pyrotechnic showcases.  Could the tradition of illuminated skies continue into 2015….you will have to wait and see!


After more than a year in the making, the Erie County Fair Skywalk was the highlight of the 175th Fair. 125 Feet above the grounds Nik Wallenda made his way slowly from the Midway to the Grandstand in his longest walk of the year. For the first time ever there was silence on the grounds, that was until Wallenda made it to the crane and pumped his fist. A collective sigh could be heard before 100,000+ people let out a deafening cheer!


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The 175th Fair promised to be the BEST FAIR EVER, and it certainly delivered. The Fair’s attendance record was broken, yet, again with 1,220,101 people coming through the gates in just 12 days. 


The Showplex and Agriculture Discovery Center played host to the National Junior Swine Association’s regional show at the beginning of October. More than 250 hogs came from as far as Colorado to compete. Exhibitors and their families were treated to special events, such as a movie night in the Silo Theater, as well as a friendly but competitive Skill-a-thon testing everyone’s knowledge about pigs.



Farm 2 Table spent a good deal of the year on the road, while construction was completed on the ADC, however, in October the grade school program returned home to the Fairgrounds. In just three months the program has educated more than 2,000 students grades K-5 on everything agriculture from apples and turkeys, to Christmas trees! The program looks forward to an even bigger 2015.


Another holiday favorite at the Fairgrounds, Christmas in the Country Artisan Marketplace, opened its doors for its 30th year. While all of them haven’t been at the Fairgrounds, it is still  great to be part of this show’s long history!  In 2014, more than 30,000 visitors came to the grounds to get their hands on holiday gifts right as the shopping season began. 


It wasn’t just the Fairgrounds, it was all of WNY. The storm dropped nearly six feet of snow on the grounds causing quite a bit of havoc. From a downed barn to the postponement of the Festival of Lights the Fairgrounds did not get through unscathed. However, much like the incredible people of WNY, the Fairgrounds bounced back and are ready to rebuild bigger and better than ever! 


Celebrating a decade lighting up WNY’s holiday season, the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights opened its gates (a week late due to Snowvember) to families by the carload. The Festival celebrated by opening up the all new North Pole Experience. This walk through display led guests to Santa’s house, where they could meet the Big Guy himself. The Festival also featured shows, activities, rides, food, and of course more than one million twinkling lights.

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awards    After the hard work that poured into the 175th Erie County Fair, the Fairgrounds received honors at the IAFE (International Association of Fairs and Expositions)  Awards for Communications, Agriculture, and Competitive Exhibits. With the Fair bringing home more than a dozen awards in everything from the app to the ADC, it feels great to be recognized for the efforts put forth by the dedicated Fair staff. 


Through the Festival of Lights was postponed due to the Snowvember storm for a week, it didn’t stop guests from coming out by the carload. In 2014 the previous attendance record was shattered with 11,520 carloads coming through the gates and celebrating the season right here on the Fairgrounds.       

Fair Merchandise in Time for the Holidays

December 16th, 2014

Need to get some holiday shopping done? The Erie County Fair is excited to open up its online merchandise store yet again for 2014! There are 5 exciting products being offered this year, including the return of the 12-Day Season pass.

Happy Shopping!

1. 12-Day Pass. You asked for it , WNY and the Fair is ready to deliver. 12-day passes will be for sale again this year for the 176th Erie County Fair. The passes are available for $25* and there is a 4 per person limit. When you break it down, its only $2.08 per day at the Fair! Supplies are limited. Click here to purchase


2. DVD. Maybe you caught it on WNED when it aired in late spring, or maybe you missed it! Relive the memories of the Fair all year through with The Great Erie County Fair on DVD. The disc features bonus content, including an interview with Mr. Strates! DVDs are $10.* Click here to purchase

3. Book. The Images of America: Erie County Fair book will be for sale, at the Fairgrounds Main Office only. The supplies are very limited. However, savvy online shoppers can find the book for sale at Amazon.com, and BarnesAndNoble.com. The book will sell at the offices for $20.

4. Ornament. They flew off the shelves in 2014, being sold out long before Christmas 2014, so do not delay in ordering your 176th Fair ornament. The hand painted ornament features the 2015 Fair poster. The ornaments are just $15*.  Click here to purchase

5. Gift Card. The Erie County Fair gift card is the perfect gift for the Fair-natic in your life! The card can be redeemed for admission at the Fair, or cashed in for money to spend on your favorite food or shopping vendor. Gift cards are $25* Click here to purchase

All of these great items are available at the Fairgrounds Main Office- located inside the Grandstand. Sales at the Office can be made through cash or credit.

*Prices do not include shipping & handling.

The Holiday Spirit of Competiton

November 7th, 2014

Ffest logoor those of you who need a little friendly competition to get you into the holiday spirit, the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights has just the fix. The tenth annual Festival will be offering three holiday contests. 

Cash prizes are awarded to top three in each contest. Please, download an entry form and read all the rules before beginning your project- this listing only mentions the highlights of each competition!

Holiday Stocking Competition

  • Bring your homemade stocking to the Fairgrounds between November 17-21 for judging
  • All stockings will remain on display at the Festival of Lights (through Dec. 28)
  • Two divisions Junior (16 and under) and Adult (17+)
  • Judging is based on technicality, creativity, and eye appeal
  • Stockings will be eligible to win a “People’s Choice Award,” based on votes from guests at the Festival of Lights.

Click here for more information and contest entry

Wreath Decorating Competition

  • Bring your artificial wreath to the Fairgrounds between November 17-21 for judging
  • All wreaths will remain on display at the Festival of Lights (through Dec. 28)
  • Judging is based on technicality, creativity, and eye appeal
  • Wreaths will be eligible to win a “People’s Choice Award,” based on votes from guests at the Festival of Lights. TK8A0542

Click here for more information and contest entry

Gingerbread Decorating Competition

  • You must pre-register for this competition – and space is limited
  • Participants must bring all of their own disassembled pieces and embellishments
  • Everything used must be edible
  • Judging is based on difficulty, appearance, and originality
  • Competitors must race against the clock to construct and decorate the best gingerbread house

Click here for more information and contest entry

Erie County Fair in National Spotlight

October 31st, 2014

The cold weather is already upon us – and it seems as though the 175th Erie County Fair is but a distant memory. However, you can relive some of the best food from the Erie County Fair, when it is featured on Cooking Channel’s Carnival Eats.

Tune in to Cooking Channel’s Carnival Eats on November 6 at 10:30pm to see if your favorite vendor will be featured!

Illumination Insider: All New! North Pole Experience

October 29th, 2014

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See the making of a Holiday showcase like never seen before, created by local set/prop designer Ron Daugherty. 

“Ok, here it is.” Ron Daugherty stood in hazy darkness as the lights finally came on in his prop warehouse in Buffalo. His shrug and nonchalant attitude nowhere near matched the monstrous set that was coming into focus behind him.

Standing sixteen feet tall and nearly forty feet wide was a porch; no it was more like the front of a house. Situated beside it was a small gathering of intricately detailed and colorful buildings- a village nearly cowering in the shadow of a house- what could it all be?


Anyone who knows Dougherty or his work would assume that this is another one of his internationally known haunted or Halloween displays. However, this was a stark break from his normal. What was sitting in that warehouse were pieces of what is going to be the biggest, best and most intricate Santa display in the area. Named the North Pole Experience, the display will cover nearly  10,000 square feet. 

In February, the sketch arrived at the Fairgrounds illustrating four distinct areas of what will become the new North Pole Experience. The sketch could not do justice to what was being assembled in the warehouse.


The quaint village wasn’t small- it was elf sized. It will soon be decorated for Christmas and inhabited by animatronic elves and situated around a Christmas Tree to create Santaville.

Stacked against a wall were what looked like slabs of wood haphazardly organized with no regard to color, size or cut. Daugherty pointed at the pile and said “there’s the workshop.” Implying that that pile of wood was all ready to be moved to the Fairgrounds to become an inside look at Santa’s Workshop. The scene will be completed with elves hard at work.


Now to the porch- the focal point of the North Pole Experience. The porch will be where guests can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus- right at their own home. Santa’s house will without a doubt be the most extravagant meeting place for the Big Guy in Western New York. When complete the porch will feature an ornate chair, Christmas decorations, and a sign to remind all who come just whose house it is.


For the fourth and final portion of the North Pole Experience, guests will walk through “Penguinpalooza.” The artic themed space has yet to be constructed, but don’t worry- the rest of the items only took two months to complete. This area will have an artic feel with the Northern Lights shining above and flocks of decorative penguins lining the path out of the building.

Waiting in line for Santa will never be more fun than at the North Pole Experience- which can only be seen at the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights. This interactive and magical experience is included in your carload admission. The attention to detail in the display will make it the standout attraction of the tenth annual event, which opens its gates November 28th at 5:00pm and runs select dates through December 28th. For more information on the event, visit www.FairgroundsHoliday.com.


Insider Bonus- Here is a photo of Santa’s Workshop before it was dissembled for transportation!


Welcome to the Erie County Fair Blog!

October 20th, 2014

We are more than the Erie County Fair! Click on the logos below to find out more about all the fun at the Fairgrounds!

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The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer…

October 9th, 2014


“…Is to sing loud for all to hear” –Buddy the Elf


The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights is looking for talented local choirs and music groups to perform this holiday season.

If you or someone you know is in a group that would like to perform apply today! Shows will be approximately 45 minutes in length and must include family friendly holiday music.  Bell choirs, school choirs, a cappella groups,  and other musical acts are welcome to apply.

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The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights runs select dates from November 27 to December 27 and there are multiple show times per date.  

Before and after your performance you and your friends and family can explore the Festival and all it has to offer. From a nearly two mile long drive through of light displays, to rides, activities, shows, shopping, and of course SANTA- the Festival of Lights has all the makings for a perfect winter evening.

Applications will be accepted until November 15th.  Apply  here!




#ThinkMemories Photos of the Fair

September 8th, 2014

Here are 17.5 photos that sum up all the tradition, agriculture, and excitement of the 175th Erie County Fair!





















Thank you WNY for making the 175th Erie County Fair the BEST. FAIR. EVER!

See you August 12-23, 2015!

Fairgoers Do It Again…

September 7th, 2014

…and donated more than 42,000 pounds of food to the Food Bank of WNY. Food along with cash donations will serve the Food Bank in providing more than 66,000 meals to those who need them most. 

Food Bank representatives say that Fairgoers donated over 28,000 pounds on Opening Day alone.

Along with the support of our Fairgoers, the Fair and the Food Bank of WNY would like to thank Strates Shows, Kings of Crash, and Johns_K8A0606onville Brats for their generosity in this wonderful project.

The Erie County Fair Food Drive proved to be essential in 2013 for the Food Bank in bridging the gap between the summer and holiday months, when donations are generally low. Last year’s donations were being used well into November and the Fair is excited to provide assistance to the Food Bank again this year.

The Fair is honored to help the community that has welcomed and grown with us for the past 175 years by giving back in this small but important way. However, it could not be done without the kindness and support of the Fairgoers who came out with bags of food in

their arms to help those in need within our community. Thank you to all who made this year’s Food Bank another great success.

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A Big Fair-well to the 175th Erie County Fair

August 19th, 2014

For more than a year the 175th Erie County Fair has promised to be the “Best Fair Ever” and when gates opened on August 6, 2014 


it was time to stand and deliver.  The Fair hosted headline entertainment, exhibited livestock from throughout the northeast, awarded hundreds of ribbons, and helped WNYer’s pack on some pounds with its delicious food offerings.  After twelve days of tradition, agriculture, and excitement the Erie County Fair is proud to announce it has broken another attendance record with 1,220,101 guests coming through the gates.

 This number exceeds 2013’s record of 1,160,184.  Fair organizers believe this increase in attendance is due in part to as special events such as Wallenda Walks the Fair (August 10) and Heritage Day (August 14) alongside a yearlong Think Fair Thoughts marketing campaign.


With all its moving parts organizers will be the first to admit that it is difficult to throw a “perfect” Fair but with a lot of hard work, preparation, and fun it is safe to say the 175th edition of the Erie County Fair came pretty close.

 On behalf of the Erie County Fair, its staff, its volunteers, and its directors, thank you Western New York, for continuing to make the Fair a must see summer attraction.

Whether you come for a few hours or the full twelve days, the Fair appreciates your patronage and hopes to see you in 2015. Mark the calendars because the 2015 Fair runs August 12-23- just 357 days away!