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122nd Cuyahoga County Fair: 2018 guide and vintage photos

August 1, 2018

122nd Cuyahoga County Fair: 2018 guide and vintage photos

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cuyahoga County Fair has been a tradition since 1893.

There have been just a few exceptions to the annual event that draws hundreds of thousands of locals to see the prized vegetables, draft horses, cows and sheep and show chickens, entertainers and rides and races: There was no fair in 1932, due to the Great Depression, and in 1942 and ’43, during World War II.

Cuyahoga County Fair Board President Tim Fowler says the fair’s roots go back even earlier than ’93.

“It’s a community tradition,” says Fowler. “We’re a land-grant state. Part of being a land-grant state is that each county must conduct an annual county fair, which goes back to the beginning of the state of Ohio.”

Which was 1803.

In the beginning, there were actually two Cuyahoga County Fairs, one on the west side and the other in Chagrin Falls. The east side fair ended in 1929 due to the Depression.

But nearly a century later, the west side fair endures ... even though very few Cuyahoga County residents are raising their own livestock or produce. To what does Fowler credit the enduring appeal?

“Early exhibits were based around agriculture and community and picnics and judging. ... We still do a lot of that today, but we’ve also added a lot. People like the unique combination. I don’t know of another combination of exhibits like this, and a midway, and old food and new fair food, and entertainment and rides.

“There’s something different every day, for six days.”

Fowler says education remains an important component of the fair – perhaps more than ever.

“The fair has always been about education, but now we’re providing education to urban people, so they can learn where their food comes from.”

That’s not to say nothing changes, however.

“We’re bringing in alpaca yoga this year,” says Fowler. “It’s a new trend, and people can participate at the fair.”

They’re also bringing in a sea lion show.

Like cheese on a stick, it’s a safe bet you wouldn’t have seen that back in 1893.

Fun facts

Nearly 150,000 fair lovers attended the 2017 Cuyahoga County Fair.

For the first time in its history, the fair opens on a Tuesday this year.

Three thousand workers help to put together the fair: directors, grounds crew, 4-H members, volunteers, concession workers, ride and midway operators.

The Cuyahoga County Fair’s Demolition Derby is one of the largest in the state.

There will be approximately 30 entries into the SPAM-eating competition.

All the potatoes predicted to be used during county fair week could fill a semi truck. New this year

DreamShip hot-air balloon rides: Brought to the fair by the Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program, the DreamShip balloon stands more than eight stories tall and is made from 400 fabric panels, 130 of which uniquely feature drawings of the dreams of children helped by Folds of Honor, a nonprofit dedicated to providing educational scholarships to children of fallen or disabled service members.

Sea Lion Splash Show: The only show in the United States to feature both California and South American sea lions.

Alpaca Yoga: Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11. Class size is limited; register at https://www.facebook.com/events/242683869855356.

Entertainment

Grandstand entertainment ranges from truck racing to horse racing, live bands to demolition derbies. A full schedule can be found at http://www.cuyfair.com/.

Highlights include the show Saturday night, Aug. 11, from Pink Floyd tribute band Wish You Were Here at 8 p.m. Tickets, $20 to $30, available at the fair or WNCX.com/fair.

The grand fair finale is the Demolition Derby finals at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12. Admission is $10. Drivers still needed; visit cuyfair.com to sign up.

Admission info and ticket deals When: Aug. 7-12; noon-11 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; and noon-10 p.m. Sunday. Where: Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, Berea. General admission: $7, Monday-Thursday; $8, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Seniors and children under 12 are $6. Active military with valid ID and children under 3 get in for free. $2 off admission with a donation of one nonperishable, unexpired food item. Admission does not include ride tickets: $1.25 for one ticket/$20 for a day pass. Many discounts available; see below.

Daily deals Tuesday, Aug. 7: BOGO (Buy One, Get One) fair admission for all age groups. 

Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 8 and 9: Old Fashioned Dollar Days; admission just $1 before 3 p.m. Also on Wednesday and Thursday ONLY: All-Day Half-Price Ride Stamps (just $10) if purchased before 3 p.m. 

Friday, Aug. 10: Senior & Veterans’ Day; $2 admission for seniors (age 60+) and veterans until 5 p.m. Veterans must show proper ID (DD-214, A.L. Card, VFW Card, or Armed Forces Symbol on Driver’s License). 

Saturday, Aug.11: $2 admission on Saturday between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon for Family Morning at the Fair.

Grandstand events: Separate admission required for demolition derby and grandstand concerts, available at the box office. See cuyfair.com/music-events/grandstand for a schedule, concert admission and ticket information.

Daily schedules and more information: cuyfair.com, facebook.com/cuyfair, twitter.com/cuyfair or call 440-243-0090.

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