Crowds at the York State Fair grew as the days went on, organizers say

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

The 2022 York State Fair has come to a close — and here's what vendors, entertainers and officials said about this year's festivities. 

Though the fair started amid a blistering heat wave, more people went through the gates as the days went on, according to spokesperson Montgomery Stambaugh.

"Our crowds have steadily increased over the days as it's gotten cooler, and we're happy with how it's ending," Stambaugh said Sunday. "We had a great crowd yesterday, and we're open for an even better one (Sunday)."

Final attendance figures will be available later this week, officials said.

Around 1 p.m. Sunday, crowds were noticeably larger compared to the crowds during the weekdays, with families both inside buildings and walking outside on the midway.

Stambaugh said the York State Fair's busiest day was either Wednesday, during the Weis Markets promo, or Saturday.

York State Fair in York, Pa., Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

Even though Saturday's concert, The Steve Miller Band, was canceled, ticket holders were able to use their tickets as admission to attend the fair, Stambaugh said. Miller canceled several tour dates after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week.

Another one of the fair's headlining performers — country star Toby Keith — also pulled out of the event in June after he received a cancer diagnosis. 

The fair has had a tough run in recent years. The 2020 fair was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And the event drew criticism when it changed its usual timing from September to July for its return in 2021.

Popular fair food vendor Grandstand Pizza has been a staple since 2004. Owner Shannon Barrett said while attending the York State Fair is always a good experience, the heat was difficult for fairgoers.

"It was a little hot to come out," Barrett said, adding that their busiest times are typically around dinner time in the evenings.

York State Fair in York, Pa., Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

While many fair attendees were shocked by changing the date from September to July, Barrett said she was willing to give the new dates a chance.

"Hope everybody comes back next year — and I hope we have more comfortable weather," Barrett added.

Throughout the week, York State Fair attendees were entertained by several new attractions, including a jet pack flying water circus and the sea lion splash show.

On July 26, 1970s heartthrob Erik Estrada made an appearance at the fair as part of the Salute to Heroes Parade.

Other new events, featuring Pennsylvania agriculture, were a big hit among children and families, Stambaugh said. 

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"A lot of the kids enjoyed the Wheels of Ag game show," Stambaugh added. "Along with the birthing center, which is always a fan favorite."

Wheels of Agriculture is a high-energy game show featuring educational trivia questions. The traveling show operated daily throughout the entirety of the fair, said show-runner Dave Gerber.

"The people have been great and the staff here have been phenomenal," Gerber said. "And just all the other attractions have just been wonderful."

This is the first time Wheels of Agriculture made an appearance at the York State Fair. Shows operated three times a day inside Memorial Hall, with two additional "tractor trivia shows" outside the building, Gerber said.

"We have young kids to adults that play this game, and they all get excited," Gerber added. "So I guess that excitement is probably the best thing for me. It's so great to be able to perform and have fun."  

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.