The 2021 Barnstable County Fair runs from Monday July 19th to Sunday July 25th. The festive event has been a favorite since its start in 1844. The fair is a great time for kids and adults alike! Make it a tradition for your family, it’s a Cape favorite and a great way to celebrate the community and the season! While the Cape Cod Fairground has been serving as a Covid-19 testing site for the past year, this event is sure to be a celebration of the return to normal so many are craving, along with the fried dough!
The 2020 fair was cancelled due to the pandemic, joining the ranks of the few past cancellations in the fair’s 170+ year history, caused by severe weather, war, and a polio outbreak. The first fair was held in October of 1844 at the county courthouse, and involved livestock and handicraft exhibits. From there the fair gained popularity and added events including sulky races, horse and oxen pulling, livestock shows, fireworks, and lots of food! The Merry-go-round, carnival barkers, Agricultural Ball, baseball games, and trotting races followed, and soon the fair was a favorite, drawing visitors in from the surrounding areas. After success in the 1920s the fair lost steam until it was revived in 1954 by a committee of citizens devoted to bringing the Barnstable County Fair back to its former glory, this time in Marstons Mills. In 1973 the Barnstable Agricultural Society celebrated its 107th year with the debut of the current site in Falmouth.
Much like years past, the fair still celebrates the traditions of livestock shows, exhibitions of baked goods, crafts, quilts, vegetables, flowers, canned goods, and other agricultural delights. The fair has adopted modern fair fun as well, with carnival games, midway rides, music, shows, and more. Guests can indulge in the wonders of fun fried fair food and enjoy trying their luck in the carnival games. Be sure to look for the wristband days for unlimited rides! Main Stage and Arena events for the 2021 fair include musicians Emily Ann Roberts, Billy Bob Thornton & The Boxmasters, The Guess Who, and Earth to Mars, as well as Demolition Derby events. Ground Acts include T-Bone (America’s musical Pied Piper), circus performers from Cirque Equinox, a pirate dog show called Puppies of Penzance, Mime, Magic, and Mirth, with Chris Yerling, and Magic with Robert Clarke.
General Admission to the Barnstable County Fair includes the main stage shows and is $15 for adults, $5 for children 6-11, free for children 5 and under, $12 for seniors and military ($10 on Friday). Multi Day passes are available. There are options for free and paid parking. Wristbands for rides are $30 for unlimited rides and $35 to include the roller coaster. Check the fair’s website for the details on times and availability of wristbands. The proceeds from the fair are reinvested in the fairgrounds, awarded as scholarships to young people pursuing careers in agriculture or conservation, or distributed to many local charitable causes.