York Fair will move to summer in 2020

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Dawn J. Sagert photo

The York County Agricultural Society Board of Directors has voted to move the York Fair to the summertime in an attempt to boost attendance after a rough year.

The fair, the oldest of its kind in the U.S., will still take place Sept. 6-15 next year. But beginning in 2020, the dates will change to July 24 to Aug. 2, according to a Thursday, Nov. 15, news release from the board.

Brian Blair, chief operating officer of the Agricultural Society, said the move will allow the fair to bring back some older traditions that have "perhaps disappeared in recent years."

"The staff and board members plan to work to become a community partner and build community relations with many local organizations and individuals as we make the York Fair the showcase of the year for all things York and southern Pennsylvania," Blair said.

This year, rain or threat of rain was present for seven of the fair's 10 days — and attendance dropped by more than 100,000. A total of 450,173 people attended this year compared to 565,483 last year.

More:Attendance at rainy York Fair down more than 100,000

But the move to the summertime is expected to help the situation. The decision to change the date of the fair was based on trends, research and discussions with those involved with the fair, the release states.

With the summer dates, the fair is expected to bring in more participants because the weather will allow livestock exhibitors, who often attend fairs across the state in the summer, to make their way to York with ease.

The weather will also help attract "higher quality concert entertainment," and the youth will be able to attend more fair events because school won't be in session, the release adds.

The fair, which has a 253-year history, will also work to have an "enhanced educational component" to emphasize agriculture and local industry.

The changes will produce "a new look that will be noticeable," Blair said. But he added regardless of the date change, the fair will "continue to be America's first fair and will carry on many of the outstanding traditions."

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.