Dutchess County Fair & Other Fun New York State Fairs Including Three in NYC
Summer is quickly coming to a close, but you still have time for a few last flings. How about hitting a fun-filled county fair or country festival? There are lots of fantastic annual fests at this time of year, like the Dutchess County Fair, the New York Renaissance Faire and the New York State Fair, most a short drive (or train or bus ride) from New York City. There are even three county fairs right here in NYC!
These fairs let city kids get face time with farm animals like chickens, goats, pigs and cows; hop on cool carnival rides; groove to live music; and enjoy other entertainment and activities. They're good old-fashioned fun for the whole family, and the perfect way to say goodbye to the season. Here are nine county fairs and festivals near or in New York City.
Fairs in Upstate New York and Long Island
Dutchess County Fair – Rhinebeck, NY
Tuesday, August 20-Sunday, August 25 10am-10pm
Dutchess County Fair Grounds, 6550 Springbrook Avenue
Admission: $15 for adults, free for children under 12; additional fees for rides and other attractions.
Approximately two hours by car from midtown Manhattan. Metro-North also offers a package deal Friday through Sunday to the Poughkeepsie station, where you can board a shuttle bus to the fair.
The bucolic fairgrounds in lovely Rhinebeck become a hot spot of family fun with agricultural and horticultural displays, lots of farm animals, decadent treats, live entertainment, vendors and a carnival midway that will really wow the kids. Planning ahead is best since ride tickets are less expensive if purchased in advance by August 19. Be warned: Most of the rides are best for older kids. Families with younger children will probably want to stick with cheering on Frisbee-catching dogs, watching the pony rodeo or strolling through the stables. They'll also be able to see their country peers show off their prize farm animals. There's lots of live entertainment, too, including kid talent shows and animal contests like pig racing, plus jugglers, clowns, bull riding, motocross spectacles and blast-from-the-past bands like Loverboy and Night Ranger. Tickets to the big attractions aren't included with admission so check the website for schedule and prices. New this year: a free app with a map, the complete schedule and even the ability to buy tickets on the go.
The Great New York State Fair – Syracuse, NY
Thursday, August 22-Sunday, September 1 8am-midnight; Monday, September 2 8am-10pm
The New York State Fairgrounds, 581 State Fair Boulevard
Admission: $10 for adults, free for children under 13; special: children under age 17 go free on Friday, August 30. Save 40 percent on admission by buying tickets before Wednesday, August 21. Additional fees for rides and other attractions.
Approximately four and a half hours by car from midtown Manhattan.
The Big Kahuna, this fair boasts 375 acres of family fun. Enjoy big-name performers like Korn, livestock competitions, antique tractor and train displays, butter and cheese carving, cooking demos, parades, petting zoos, pig races and a massive midway. While it's too far for a day trip, it makes for a great weekend getaway. No car? No problem. You can get to the State Fair via Amtrak.
Columbia County Fair – Chatham, NY
Wednesday, August 28 3-11pm; Thursday, August 29-Monday, September 2 10am-11pm
In advance: $8 for adults, free for children under 13. At the door: $10 Wednesday-Saturday and Monday, and $12 on Sunday for adults, free for children under 13. Additional fees for rides and other attractions.
Approximately two and a half hours by car from midtown Manhattan.
Another family favorite, this fair is packed with midway games and rides, agricultural exhibits, blue ribbon livestock competitions, craft demos, flower and garden displays, tractor pulls, a demolition derby and multiple stages with live entertainment.
The Great Schaghticoke Fair – Schaghticoke, NY
Wednesday, August 28 noon-10pm; Thursday, August 30-Monday, September 2 10am-10pm
Schaghticoke Fairgrounds, 69 Stillwater Bridge Road
Admission: $5 on Wednesday, $11 Thursday-Monday for adults; free for children under 14. Additional fees for rides and other attractions.
Approximately three hours by car from midtown Manhattan.
The Schaghticoke (say that three times fast) Fair is one of the oldest fairs in New York State with lots of opportunities for families to enjoy hands-on animal activities. Located at the base of the Adirondacks, it's a bit further north than the Dutchess or Columbia County Fairs, and is probably a better weekend than day trip. The tractor and pick-up truck pulls, agricultural displays, live entertainment and Saturday night fireworks definitely make for a fun family getaway.
New York Renaissance Faire – Tuxedo Park, NY
Weekends through Sunday, September 22 and Labor Day 10am-7pm
Sterling Forest, 600 Route 17A
Admission: $22 for adults, $11 for children ages 5-12, free for kids under 5. Buy your tickets in advance at a local Walgreens and save up to $4 (and skip the box office line).
Approximately one hour by car from midtown Manhattan.
While a different genre than the other fairs (no carnival rides or agricultural exhibits, but you can put your kids in the stocks—just look at our photo), the 36th annual Ren Faire is a seriously big to-do. The 35-acre fairgrounds are transformed into a Tudor-style village with period amusements like jousting, jesters and magicians, and vendors selling fancy puppets and masks, awesome corsets, and treats like turkey legs and funnel cake. All the while, the members of the Royal Court wander around greeting their subjects. If you've never been, it's definitely worth the trip. (I've attended more times than I care to admit.) It's an easy day trip by car or you can grab Short Line's once-a-day bus that delivers you to the castle doors. Sign up for the email list to receive discount coupons and hear about special events.
Long Island Fair – Bethpage, Long Island
Old Bethpage Village Restoration, 1303 Round Swamp Road
Fridays, September 20 & 27 10am-4pm; Saturdays and Sundays, September 21-22 & 28-29 10am-5pm
Admission to be determined
Approximately one hour by car from midtown Manhattan.
The schedule is still being worked out for this annual favorite, which has been around since 1842! We expect it will feature all of the usual fun, including puppet and magic shows, traditional music and dancing, old-time baseball, juggling, storytelling and lots of animals. You'll find all the details here once they're posted.
Fairs in NYC
Richmond County Fair – Staten Island
Saturday, August 31-Monday, September 2 11am-6pm
Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Avenue
$16, free for children under 30 inches
Didn't know we had county fairs right here in NYC, did you? Well we actually have three! This annual shindig is the oldest and, at 25 acres, the biggest of the trio, and takes place at New York City's only living history museum, which is located in the Staten Island Greenbelt. Unlike many county fairs, most attractions at Richmond are included with the price of admission, so the kids can enjoy carnival rides, crafts, eating contests, pig races, car displays, magicians, live music and face time with farm animals at no extra cost. There will also be vendors, fattening food and pony rides for additional fees.
West Side County Fair – Upper West Side
Sunday, September 8 1-6pm
Riverside Park South, Pier I at 70th Street
We admit, this isn't like going to Dutchess or the other biggies, but it's the closest you'll get to a county fair in the middle of Manhattan. Perfect for preschoolers, this 11th annual fest includes all of the usual attractions, including live animals (rabbits, pigs and mice—no cows or horses), small carnival rides, live entertainment and a smattering of country vendors.
Queens County Fair – Floral Park, NY
Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway
Saturday, September 21-Sunday, September 22 11am-6pm
Admission: $8 for adults, $5 for children. Additional fees for rides and other attractions.
NYC's only historic working farm, the Queens County Farm Museum, hosts this annual traditional county fair with blue ribbon competitions in livestock, produce, home crafts, arts and crafts, and more. Other old-fashioned fun includes pie-eating and corn-husking contests, pig races, hayrides, a petting zoo, carnival rides and a midway. My family and I have been to this fair several times and really enjoy it. It's all the fun of country farm life without having to leave the city. For an additional fee, you can also get lost in the Amazing Maize Maze.
Find more end-of-summer activities in our Summer Fun Guide.