Master of ceremonies Bruce Belanger, left, of Escanaba, Mich., log rolls with Bob Saari of Rosburg, Wash., during the Great Lakes Timber Show at the York
Master of ceremonies Bruce Belanger, left, of Escanaba, Mich., log rolls with Bob Saari of Rosburg, Wash., during the Great Lakes Timber Show at the York Fair Thursday. (Bill Kalina photo)

Believe it or not, there's a lot packed into the $8 admission at the York Fair.

From a hypnotist to a lumberjack show to free country music shows, the fair offers a full lineup of free entertainment to give visitors the best bang for their buck.

And two crowd favorites, the Royal Hanneford Circus and the exotic petting zoo, have made for a lot of fun for thousands of fairgoers.

Stacks of acts: With about 100 or so attendees in the audience, the circus begins at Memorial Hall, dimming the lights before illuminating the red, yellow and blue stage in anticipation of the first act, David Rosaire and His Perky Pekes.

Out of London, the act brings out 10 small, well-trained dogs to the floor, jumping hurdles, riding a scooter and pushing each other on a swing, among other adorable stunts.

At the end of the act, the dogs piled into a carriage driven by a monkey sheriff - who packs his own heat and isn't afraid to show it.

The show features a handful of other family-friendly acts, such as performing housecats and Kim and Roger's acrobatic comedy.

More extreme acts, such a BMXers catching air off a huge ramp while doing 360-degree flips, also make for thrills. And motorcycle duo, the X Metal Riders, even rode together in a huge metal cage nicknamed the Globe of Death.

And like a smiling circus Barbie doll, Angela Martin swings from the rafters on the flying trapeze in her sparkly leotard, gracefully tucking and tumbling her body through the air.

"She was really good," said Christopher Keller, 27, of Dover Township. Aside from the aerial artistry, he also liked the bike and dog shows.

"That monkey was awesome, too," Keller said.

The 45-minute circus holds five shows daily and four shows on Saturdays.

A taste of 'Madagascar': And along the midway, fairgoers can take a far-out trip to the exotic petting zoo, hosted by Eudora Farms out of Salley, S.C.

It's completely free to come in, walk around and pet the animals, and Melman the Giraffe greets visitors as soon as they wander in, hoping for a treat.

Other animals at the petting zoo include a yak, camel, lemurs, zebra, goats, llamas and more.

And for an additional fee, visitors can get even closer: Camel rides, an up-close experience with a slew of parakeets and food for the animals are all available.

It's the exhibit's second year at the fair, and it hasn't been short on attendees, said owner Mark Nisbet. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, people were waiting outside the 80-foot tent for about 40 minutes to see the animals, he said.

"We love it," Nisbet said of the York Fair. "It's one of our favorite fairs. People seem to just really appreciate and enjoy what we do so that makes it even nicer."

The exhibit is open from 11 a.m. to about 11 p.m. each day till the end of the fair on Sunday, he said.

"It's one of the few things the parents can do with the family. It's something to do together. That really makes it kind of neat," Nisbet said.

And visitors keep pouring in the zoo - fascinated with the variety of uncommon animals.

"I think it's amazing," said Ashley Miller, 23, of East Berlin. "It's like 'Madagascar' right here in York."

And York College sophomores and first-time visitors to the zoo Dan Dougherty and Matt Hawn enjoyed the exhibit, too.

"I was not expecting the variety of animals, that's for sure," said Dougherty, 19.

As the miniature horse, Wrangler, stared the guys down, tapping his hoof against his pen, they noted how much visitors are getting without spending a dime.

"It's one of the more interesting things at the fair," Hawn, 19, said. "It's free - you just come in and see animals you don't see every day."

For a complete list of shows and exhibits at the York Fair, visit yorkfair.org. The festivities run till Sunday.

-Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.