It has been one of the biggest events in the Hudson Valley year after year for generations, and the Dutchess County Fair is back for its 176th go-around later this summer!
For six consecutive days – Aug. 23-28 – the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck will host a celebration of homegrown agriculture and all the best of what Dutchess County has to offer. Drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, it’s the second-largest county fair in New York State. Attractions will include carnival rides, concerts, livestock shows and competitive, historical and educational exhibits. Plus, enjoy an endless supply of tasty food and beverage options to satisfy every appetite. It’s 147 acres of family fun!
To save on admission and avoid long lines by purchasing advance tickets for rides and concerts, click here.
The Dutchess County Fair has been a highlight of the summer season for more than 170 years. It offers something for everyone and creates memorable moments that will be cherished for a lifetime.
Whether you come for a day, plan a weekend getaway or stay for the duration of the Fair, there’s plenty to see and do. The list of vendors and attractions includes agriculture, horticulture, arts and crafts, antiques, crafts food and beverages, rides, live music and so much more!
Here are some of the highlights:
Live music is always a crowd-pleaser, and this year’s Grandstand concerts will include Darci Lynne on Aug. 23; Tusk, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, on Aug. 24; Niko Moon on Aug. 26; and Chris Janson on Aug. 26. The All-American Rodeo Company will host a two-day rodeo on Aug. 27 and 28.
In addition to the concerts, there will be plenty of free attractions and shows including Rosaire’s Racing Pigs, Hilby the Skinny German Juggler, Commerford’s Petting Zoo, Pawstars Canine Frisbee Dogs, Dock Dogs competitions and more.
With a focus on agriculture, it should come as no surprise that you’ll see plenty of livestock exhibitors, who bring thousands of dairy cows, beef cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits, hogs, llamas, alpacas and horses to an area known as Livestock Hill. One of the liveliest spots of the fairgrounds, you can witness daily judging, milking demonstrations, wool working and sheep shearing. Experience something new at the Salute to Agriculture Tent where you may witness the live birth of a calf! And there’s always something for the little ones at Kiddie Land and the Children’s Fun Zone.
Gardeners spruce up the Fairgrounds every year with dozens of themed gardens. See waterfalls and koi ponds filled with colorful water lilies at the Horticulture Center. In addition, enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the Memorial Garden.
RELATED CONTENT: To see our guide to the Great Estates Garden and Landscape Weekend event in September, click here.
You’re certainly going to work up quite an appetite as you walk from one exciting exhibit to the next. Don’t worry, there will be dozens of food vendors cooking up all sorts of delicious dishes to satisfy even the hangriest of fairgoers.
Take your pick from traditional favorites like burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and French fries. Try something a little more adventurous like lobster grilled cheese, pierogies, or oxtails. Of course, find deep-fried snacks galore ranging from Oreos to Brussels sprouts and everything in between. Snack on kettle corn, nachos and soft pretzels. Satisfy your sweet tooth with ice cream, Italian ices, Zeppoles and cheesecake.
Thirsty? Wash it all down with fresh-squeezed lemonade, bubble tea, pickle juice and all sorts of soft drinks. Or stop by the beer tent for some ice-cold refreshment.
Of course, if you really want to enjoy the complete Fair experience, you absolutely must get a Hudson Valley Fresh milkshake. Sold by the Dutchess County Dairy Committee at the 4H building, these frosty masterpieces are always a huge hit and come in your choice of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. To learn more about Hudson Valley Fresh, click here.
There will be plenty of vendors at the Fair selling all sorts of hand-crafted and locally sourced items. Jewelry, hot sauce, hand-blown glass items, leather goods, handmade soaps, doll clothing and furniture, wrought-iron lawn ornaments, farm-raised meats, baskets, craft beverages, homemade candles, you name it. You can find all of that -- and so much more -- at the Dutchess County Fair! To see a list of participating vendors, click here.
Thanks to ThinkDIFFERENTLY and the Flourishing Farmers all-inclusive/accessible 4H program, there will be a sensory-safe tent at the Fair all week long. The sensory-safe tent will be located behind the tent shared by ThinkDIFFERENTLY and the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 4H programs. In this sensory-safe tent, there will be tables and chairs set up for individuals, families and groups to use if the hustle and bustle of the Fair becomes a little too much.
The ThinkDIFFERENTLY initiative, launched in 2015 by Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, advocates for the inclusion, accommodation and empowerment of those with special needs. To learn more, click here for the website and click here for a video.
RELATED CONTENT: To see our Accessible Travel Spotlight Series and find other accessible and inclusive destinations in Dutchess County, click here.
The Fair will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Bags will be searched prior to entrance. Pets are not allowed, and all service dogs must have proof of rabies vaccination.
Admission at the gate is $18; children 11 and younger are admitted free. On Wednesday, seniors 65 and older and military members are $12 with ID (excluding online ticket purchases). Ride-all-day wristbands are $30 and are good for one day. Ride tickets are $1.50 each, $20 for 20 or $50 for 52. Everyone needs a wristband or tickets to go on rides. A ride-all-day wristband does not include a general admission ticket.
Parking is free and can be accessed at 6636 Route 9, Rhinebeck. Accessible parking is available.
For a map of the Fairgrounds, click here.
Related: To see our daily Events Calendar and start planning your next Dutchess County adventure, click here!