The McKean County Fair

Tiger show at McKean County Fair in Pennsylvania

From the various agricultural displays and competitions, to the many animals acts and rodeo events, to the demolition derby and freestyle motocross show, the 107th annual McKean County Fair provides a full week of fun and entertainment. Photo courtesy

Head to Smethport, Pa. Aug. 11-18, 2012 to Celebrate 107 Years of Food, Fun and Farming Contests!

Grab your closest friends and family and get ready to enjoy some of the area’s first-class farm animals, scrumptious concessions, and exceptional entertainment at this year’s McKean County Fair.

“This is the 107th year for the fair,” John Berne, President of the McKean County Fair said. “We have something for everyone - music, motorized events, agriculture - and there’s a wide variety of food and vendors. It’s a conglomeration of everything, and we have the young, old and teens who all come out for it.”

Agriculture is a major part of the fair, and Berne said the state sets guidelines for the events, and “we follow their recommendations.” Events during the week include 4-H Livestock weigh-in on Monday followed by 4-H horse show, 4-H open dairy show, open judging for swine, beef, and sheep, the 4-H open goat and dairy goat show, goat and sheep obstacle course, and the 4-H livestock sale.

“The 4-H livestock sale is a very important event,” Berne said. “Kids raise the animals throughout the spring and summer, then they have the chance to sell their animals. A lot of the banks will bid the animals up so the kids get a profit.”

“It’s teaching the 4-H kids a way of life,” he added.

The Sights, the Sounds

Berne said every year, the board works hard to plan events that will help make the fair a success.

“This year, we have Stayin’ Alive on Saturday, which is a tribute to the Bee Gees. We also have Penny sings Patsy. Both are new,” he said. “We try to get ideas from different people. We went to our booking agent and he said Stayin’ Alive was a good concert, and because we have people that love country acts, we have this girl that sings Patsy Cline songs. She sounds a lot like her.”

On Thursday, it’s Veteran’s Appreciation Day, so fairgoers can enjoy a band that will perform songs from the 1940’s to the present.

“We started this last year, and we decided to do it again,” Berne said. “We’ll also have our demolition derby and the monster truck show. This year, we have Bigfoot the Monster Truck. We’ve also had motocross every year for the last five years, and we’ll have that again this year too.”

Also returning to this year’s fair are the Wild World of Animals and Galaxy Girl, who will perform aerial gymnastic routines from an above-ground trapeze - with no safety nets or devices. Both attractions will be offered throughout the week.

“It’s getting harder and harder to make the fair a go,” Berne said. “The cost is so expensive, but we’ve continually been in the black. It’s been profitable. We’ve renovated and rebuilt a lot of buildings. We put in the new grandstand, a horse barn, and new goat/pig complex - all within the last 15 years. We just keep doing different things to make it better.”

Fairgoers can also take a moment to relax in a new garden, created by members of the community.

“A judge in McKean County came up with the idea,” Berne said. “It’s to celebrate agriculture. Next to the garden, we’ll have benches and tables that were made at the prison. Anyone who stops by can see everything at the fair but have the serenity of the garden.”

For anyone who has yet to attend the McKean County Fair, Berne said it’s a great time to “go around and enjoy all the things that are there.”

“What we have done, we did it last year and are doing it again this year,” he said. “We have so much going on, and we hope for nice weather so we do well. We have raffles and giveaways … people travel from all over, including folks from New York.”

He noted that the fair is accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. “We have golf carts that we’ll use for people with disabilities or injuries so they can still enjoy the fair,” Berne said.

The fun of the fair lasts all week long, and when it’s over, Berne said the team starts gearing up for the next year.

“The week after, we start working on it again. It’s all year long planning. There are around 35 people - board members, superintendents, helpers. The volunteers are key … without them, it wouldn’t go. They help make this fair a success,” he said.

For more information about the fair, visit

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