Dancing pigs and transcendental goats are among the new offerings this year at the 63rd annual Lebanon Area Fair.
The fair runs July 20 to 27 on the fairgrounds off Rocherty Road, where it’s been held since 1970. Expect to see the usual favorites, including truck and tractor pulls, animal competitions, the petting zoo, music and, of course, milkshakes and fries.
“I grew up in Lebanon County, and I love how the fair has stayed farm-focused,” said fair spokeswoman Emily Summey, who serves on the board and has been active in various capacities since she was 8 years old.
“We have 1,645 exhibitors this year, from dairy cows to cut flowers, and it spans all ages,” said Summey. “We have kids as young as 2 showing their crafts, to our oldest fair members who are still gardening, baking or whatever their niche is.
“It’s just stayed so focused and true to its core, and that’s what I love about it.”
The biggest crowds are expected on Friday and Saturday nights, Summey said.
“Our attendance is usually in the ballpark of 50,000 people,” she said. “Of course, it’s weather dependant, and we only count attendance after 3 o’clock, when we start charging admission.”
Additions to the schedule this year include the Pork Chop Revue, which will be performing all week on the midway. The family-friendly production features singing, dancing and acrobatic swine, according to the revue’s website.
“We also have goat yoga. That’s totally new this year,” Summey said.
“We’ve partnered with WellSpan Health to bring new programming to the fair,” she explained. “Goat yoga is one of the new things we’re doing. A local farm is supplying the goats, and someone from WellSpan will lead the yoga.”
Meanwhile, she said, “the goats just kind of wander around. They nuzzle you and check out what you’re doing while you do yoga.”
Goat yoga will be held in the pavilion, and preregistration is required. Up to 40 people can attend the class, Summey said.
“Our first class filled up right away, so we opened a second class,” she said. “If we need to, we’ll open a third.”
New offerings haven’t replaced the standby attractions that keep people coming back to the fair year after year, Summey noted. For instance, she said, people always flock to see the animal exhibits and judging, enjoy the carnival rides and games, sample the food offerings and listen to varied music performers.
“Our track events are our anchor events,” Summey said. “Our fairgrounds is known for its dirt track,” she added, noting there are track events scheduled each night of the fair, including a 4×4 truck and semi pull, firefighters’ competition, tractor pull, rodeo and demolition derby.
“It’s noteworthy that we’re still having them after the rain we had last year,” Summey said. “The terrible rain affected a lot of fairs last year, and a lot of them have had to cut programming. Fortunately, we haven’t had to do that.”
In fact, the Lebanon fair is growing, she said.
“We’ve expanded our last Saturday,” she explained. “We used to not have much going on for the last Saturday — it was mostly about cleaning up — but now we’ll have music, we’ll have the carnival and midway.
“People will still clean up, they’ll take their animals home, clean up and come back to enjoy the fair without having to worry about their livestock.”
For music fans, the main stage will feature acts including the Pentagon Band, Elvis impersonator Jeff Krick Jr., the Uptown Band, LUV GODS, Emily’s Toybox and Flamin’ Dick and the Hot Rods. A variety of acts is scheduled for the pavilion stage as well.
For some people, certainly, the fair is all about the food. And there will be plenty on offer, Summey said, including a variety of local vendors and food trucks.
Of course, many of the food vendors serve wares produced somewhere close by.
“We really are local, farm to table with our foods here,” Summey said. “The peach sundaes — those peaches all come from a local orchard. The milkshakes are driven by the Lebanon County Dairy Promotion Program. Our french fries are all grown on a potato farm just a few miles from the fairgrounds.
“We try to source our food as locally as we can.”
It’s important to Summey that Lebanon County holds its agricultural roots close.
“This county is getting more and more developed,” she said. “We’re losing farmland to residential developments, and while that’s good for the economy, it also means people are getting farther and farther away from their food — from knowing where their food comes from.
“This fair gives them the opportunity to see it up close, to interact with the farmers who produce it. Food doesn’t just come from a grocery store.”
If you go….
The Lebanon Area Fair runs from July 20 to July 27.
Admission is free from 8am to 3pm daily. Children under 10 years old are admitted free all day, every day. Admission after 3pm is $5 for ages 10 and up.
Admission to track events requires a separate ticket or a weekly track pass.
See the full schedule and more information here.
The Lebanon Area Fair is a sponsor of LebTown. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on sponsorship status and sponsors do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about LebTown’s sponsorship program here.