Head for Rhinebeck to enjoy the second-largest fair in NY state

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

The 173-year-old Dutchess County Fair this week at the Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck is the second-largest county fair in New York State. Everything about it, from the midway to the array of agricultural exhibits spread over the 160-acre site, is huge. You could probably go for each day of its August 21-to-26 run and still not see everything.

The choices of activity are mind-boggling: In addition to typical fair fare like prizewinning 4-H livestock, giant pumpkins, pies and pickles, horse-jumping and racing pigs, you can also check out oddball offerings like dock-diving dogs and sheep and goat costume competitions. Food vendors are introducing new dishes, competing for a People’s Choice award in what’s called the SporkRun. There are hands-on things for kids to try  – spinning, felting, weaving – plus fun educational programs about bugs and robots and “mad science.” You can download the full Fair schedule at https://bit.ly/2B99RPU.

The $12 advanced General Admission price for everyone over age 12 includes most attractions, but not carnival rides and games, and most of the Grandstand shows require an additional charge. Parking costs $10 extra. Ride tickets, if purchased online at www.dutchessfair.com/tickets.php before August 21, go for $20 for 10 rides; they will cost more onsite.


The lineup of big-name Grandstand acts this year includes the Wallflowers at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21; Kane Brown (already sold out) at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday; Chris Lane at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 23; Kip Moore at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 24; Little Creek (free!) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 25; and the Northeast Lumberjack Show (free!) from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 26.

The entry gates and exhibit buildings at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21 through Sunday, August 26. Rides run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day except Friday and Saturday, when they keep going until 11 p.m. The food vendors stay open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more details and to order tickets, visit www.dutchessfair.com or call (845) 876-4000. The Dutchess County Fairgrounds are located at 6550 Springbrook Avenue (Route 9) in Rhinebeck.