York State Fair is returning (and earlier than usual). Here's what you need to know

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
From left, Jennifer Petenbrink and Karina Ortiz, both of Hanover, and Riley Clark, 11, Brianna Carey, Alex Gamber, and Leah Clark, 9, all of Cumberland County, ride the Tilt-A-Whirl at York Fair in West Manchester Township, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The York State Fair is coming back in full force after being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 York State Fair will be the first since the York County Agricultural Society decided to move its run from September to July. It is scheduled for July 23 through Aug. 1, with no plans for delays, reduced capacity or restrictions, said Bryan Blair, the CEO of the York State Fair.

"Everything will be pretty much normal," Blair said of the upcoming festival. "As things started to become clearer, it's a lot of relief."

On Memorial Day, COVID-19 mitigation efforts lifted. Though the first few months of 2021 were filled with anxiety and uncertainty, Blair said the future for the York State Fair is looking positive.

Masks will not be required, though Blair said anybody who prefers to wear one is encouraged to do so. 

"If people want to wear masks they can," he said. "We understand there might be a segment of the population that will want to keep their masks on at the fair."

From left, siblings Aidan Myers, 9, Mikayla Myers, 10, and Aubrey Myers, 9, all of Jackson Township, ride the Cliff Hanger at York Fair in West Manchester Township, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Additionally, fair officials implemented additional sanitizing stations and modified the fairgrounds' layout in order to space out rides and food booths.

Other improvements to the York State Fair include automated doors and an updated HVAC system to improve air quality in all buildings.

"We think we're going to have a big fair in terms of attendance," Blair said. "We're just trying to get everything ready — getting the dust off."

Blair said he expects the concert lineup to be a big draw to the fair this year — though no shows have fully sold out yet.

Here is the York State Fair's 2021 concert lineup:

  • July 23: Jake Owen
  • July 24: REO Speedwagon and Styx
  • July 25: Pitbull
  • July 26: Kane Brown
  • July 27: Skid Row and Warrant
  • July 28: Get The Led Out and Battle of the Bands
  • July 29: Casting Crowns
  • July 30: Halestorm
  • July 31: Blippi the Musical 

Tickets to each show can be purchased at https://yorkstatefair.org/.

Other notable changes coming to the York State Fair this year include new carnival rides and a butter sculpture that will be on display at Memorial Hall West. 

Admission and parking prices will not change this year, and any ticketing promotions will be announced within the month, Blair said.

Henlee Brown, 4, of York City, holds his prize fish at York Fair in West Manchester Township, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

This year, health care workers will be included in the York State Fair's Heroes Appreciation Day — which provides free admission to fire, police, EMT, active duty military and veterans with valid ID.

"We're all excited about it. There's a sense of excitement and anticipation, and it's in our office right now," Blair said. "Things have really picked up over the last three weeks —hopefully people will be ready to come out and have some fun."

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