Carnival rides, side shows, unusual food and big-name entertainers: they'll all be found at the 95th Annual Delaware State Fair.
Carnival rides, side shows, unusual food and big-name entertainers: they’ll all be found at the 95th Annual Delaware State Fair.
But the fair, which runs from July 17 to July 26, offers much more than just those attractions, which we’ve all come to expect from this First State tradition.
Tucked away in various corners of the fairgrounds, visitors also will find an array of new and fun things to do.
And the fair also has gone high-tech this year, with an app that will allow visitors to use their smartphones to enhance the entire 11-day experience.
Here are a few things to take note of at the 2014 Delaware State Fair:
The Roost: Wine and Beer Garden
New to the fair this year, The Roost will offer fairgoers a place to kick back under the shade and enjoy a locally-produced beer or glass of wine.
Reminiscent of the popular biergartens found in Germany and Austria, The Roost will feature craft beers brewed on Delmarva, as well as wine vintages from Delmarva vineyards, allowing brewers and vintners the chance to showcase their wares to a large and diverse crowd.
The idea grew out of the State Fair’s phenomenally popular Triple Threat BBQ, Beer and Music Festival in April. In fact, the idea went over so well, a third festival already has been scheduled for April 2015.
One caveat about The Roost, though: you must be 21 years old to enter.
Located on Smith Street, The Roost will be open from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily throughout the fair, and will feature live music on selected evenings.
Like to watch cars run around at insane speeds, crashing and crunching into each other until they finally expire in a cloud of steam, burned rubber and mangled steel?
Then make sure you check out the fair’s two – count ’em, two – demolition derbies, one on Friday, July 18 and another on Saturday, July 19.
This will be the first time since 2009 that the fair has doubled up on the popular auto smashing event.
Most of the colorful, imaginatively painted vehicles come straight from the junkyard, with the drivers having done just enough work to get them moving. But scrap yard prices were so high during the past five years that it made the price of even the worst clunker out of reach.
However, with scrap prices having come down, all that has changed.
Friday night’s event, sponsored by Manlove Auto Parts, will be a qualifying event, with the Demolition Derby All Championship Shootout, featuring the best of the best, on Saturday night.
Both events will take place at 7 p.m. in the M&T Bank Grandstand. Ticket prices are $16 to $18.
Bucking broncos! Bull dogging! Calf roping! Clowns! Cowboys and cowgirls! The sights! The smells! The sounds!
What can be more all-American than a genuine rodeo?
A fair staple for years, the 2014 rodeo has been moved from its longtime site in the Quillen Arena to the larger M&T Grandstand.
Sponsored by the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association, the rodeo is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and riders come from all over to compete.
From the Grandstand venue, rodeo lovers will get additional seating, better views and will be able to watch the action on large video screens.
Be sure to attend this fan favorite from 7 to 9 p.m. July 17. Admission is $16.
Chicks and bunnies
Just because the Delaware State Fair has its share of large animals – horses, cattle and swine – doesn’t mean the small stock gets the short shrift.
The poultry and rabbit exhibits have been some of the fair’s oldest and most popular events, giving many children their first chance to see and hold small farm animals.
Chickens are a valuable economic resource on Delmarva, and the many displays and exhibits also will give visitors, and youngsters in particular, a chance to learn more about these animals.
To accommodate this extremely popular venue, the fair has constructed a new building, across from the 4H and FFA building.
In addition, the building will host the rabbit show at 9 a.m. July 20, the poultry show at 10 a.m. July 21, and the youth poultry showmanship event at 3 p.m. July 26.
Delaware State Fair Mobile App
The newest feature at the fair will be all over the fairgrounds.
The Delaware State Fair Mobile App is already online, allowing visitors the chance to experience the fair as never before.
Developed over the past year, the app will allow patrons to buy tickets, view a large map so they can find where they are, as well as where they want to be. The app also includes a list of all the fair’s events, along with where and when they’ll be taking place.
Anyone wanting to buy fried Oreos or barbecued turkey legs need only use the app to locate a vendor and a GPS-powered map to make their way there. Numerous food vendors will have menus and prices listed, along with coupons and special offers.
Users also can build their own fair schedule, allowing them to see and do as much as possible. Meanwhile, special photo filters also included will allow visitors to create a unique record of their fair experience.
The app is available for all Apple and Google devices. A link to the app also is available at delawarestatefair.com.