167th Allentown Fair: A world of rock stars, culinary events, exhibits and bringing the country farm life to the city
The Great Allentown Fair, a Lehigh Valley classic for 167 years, welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors to experience its big-name outdoor concerts, rides, games, novelty attractions, food and, most importantly, a showcase of products, livestock, photography, arts, crafts and collectibles from the region’s farms, gardens and homes.
The Allentown Fair, ranked as one of the Top 50 fairs in the United States, kicked off Aug. 27 with “Preview Night” and continues through Sept. 2, Labor Day, Allentown Fairgrounds, 17th, Liberty and Chew streets, Allentown.
Allentown Fair organizers tout this year’s event as “Fair Fresh Fun.” The Allentown Fair is one of the longest-running fairs in the United States, and one of the largest in Pennsylvania. The first Allentown Fair was held in 1852.
The Lehigh County Agricultural Society, nonprofit owner and operator of The Allentown Fairgrounds and The Great Allentown Fair, brings the country to the city for seven days of agricultural exhibits, entertainment, and concert headliners at the 45-acre West End Allentown site.
Aug. 28 is American Bank Senior Day. Aug. 29 is Military Day, Aug. 30 is Lehigh Valley Press Day. Aug. 31 is Service Elecric Saturday.
Allentown Fair hours are noon-11 p.m. Aug. 28-Sept. 1 and noon-10 p.m. Sept. 2.
Admission is free noon-2 p.m. Aug. 28, 29 and 30.
Active military personnel and veterans with ID are admitted free Aug. 29.
All-day ride wristbands are available onsite. The wristband price is discounted Aug. 28.
Parking is available in the infield via Gate 7 along Liberty Street.
The Allentown Fair Guide and Map, posted on the Fair’s web site and handed out at Fair entrances. designates venues and activities that wrap around the Fair’s centerpiece, its historic “Home of the Stars” Grandstand shows site.
This year’s Fairgrounds Grandstand lineup is: Live and Bush, Aug. 27; Impractical Jokers, Aug. 28; Brooks & Dunn, Aug. 29; Miranda Lambert, Aug. 30; Why Don’t We, Aug. 31; Hall & Oates, Sept. 1, and J&J Demolition Derby, Sept. 2.
Grandstand show tickets include Fair admission when purchased in advance of the show date.
Here are highlights of entertainment at the 2019 Allentown Fair that is included with the price of admission.
Inside Gate 6 along Liberty Street on the northwest corner at the Fairgrounds is the RCN Farmerama Theater, a park-like area where entertainment, music and sports talk shows are presented.
Dialed Action Sports performs at various times Aug. 28-Sept. 2. Athletes soar more than 10 feet in the air while doing tricks and flips on BMX bikes.
“RCN Sports Talk” broadcasts, 6 p.m. Aug. 28 and 7 p.m. Aug. 29, with sports commentators previewing the fall sports season and with appearances by area high school cheerleaders and bands.
Glenn Miller, a one-man band, hosts “Polka Palooza,” featuring Kermit & the Haus Band, 1 p.m. Aug. 28 and, featuring the Alex Meixner Duo, 3:30 p.m. Aug. 28.
Cat Country 96 and 100.7 LEV hosts the new “The Lehigh Valley Sings” contest, 8 p.m. Aug. 28.
Magician Tom Yurasits has several performances Aug. 30, 31 and Sept. 1 and 2.
Pop, rock and dance music bands performing concerts are The Large Flowerheads, at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30; Lucky 7, at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31, and Philadelphia Funk Authority, at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sept.1.
Fair-goers can relax on Labor Day by participating in Goat Yoga and Barre Fusion with fitness instructor Ally Weinhofer, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sept. 2.
This area is between the RCN Farmerama Theater and the Agri-Plex.
“Robinson’s Pig Paddling Porkers” return with four shows daily, Aug. 28-Sept. 2. The “Oinkers” race around a turf track and dive into a “Pig-lympic”-sized pool.
The area outside the east side of the Agri-Plex features perfornaces by ZuZu Acrobats, with two performers who were on NBC-TV’s “America’s Got Talent,” doing pyramid-building, contortion, bottle-balancing, tower of chairs, and hand-balancing, and The Uptown Band, with several performances daily Aug. 28-Sept. 2.
Performing on the Harvest Patio stage: Jake Kaligis, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 28 and Aug. 31: Craig Thatcher and Nyke Van Wyk, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 29 and Sept. 2; Line-Dancing with DJ Nugget, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 30, and Lou Franco Project, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sept. 1.
In the Agri-Plex are displays of an estimated 9,000 items and contest entries from Lehigh Valley farmers, gardeners, crafters, collectors, cooks and photographers.
There are 175 types of fruits and vegetables that are juried.
Allentown Fair Special Culinary Contests sponsored by PenTeleData include:
Ultimate Fruit Pie Challenge, 2 p.m. Aug. 28, sponsored by Jeff and Grace Stinner of Ritz BBQ
The Greatest Whoopie Pie Contest, 7 p.m. Aug. 28, sponsored by Sharon Bagenstose and Steph Fenstermacher, owners of The Buttered Crumb LLC
Ultimate Cheesecake Challenge, 2 p.m. Aug 29, sponsored by Suburban Car Wash
Wicked Sweet Bakeshop Brownies-Cookies Bar, 7 p.m. Aug. 29, sponsored by Jessica Pelletier, owner
Bake Your Best “Special Occasion” Bread Contest, 2 p.m. Aug. 30, sponsored by King Arthur Flour
Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery’s Hearty Harvest Soup, 7 p.m. Aug. 30
Pampered Chef Vegetable Quick Bread Contest. 2 p.m. Aug. 31, sponsored by Beth DeFrancisco
Bechdolts Orchard Fresh Peach Dessert Contest, 7 p.m. Aug. 31, sponsored by Bill Rowe Sr, owner
Best “No Bake” Dessert Contest, 2 p.m. Sept. 1, sponsored by A&A Plumbing, LLC
3rd Annual Nicole M. Gruber Memorial Pineapple Upside Down Cake Contest, 7 p.m. Sept. 1, sponsored by M. Frantz Lawns
Blue Ribbon Apple Pie Contest, 2 p.m. Sept. 2, sponsored by Grim’s Orchard and Family Farms
The “Farm to Table” chef demonstrations and culinary tips features more kitchen masters than ever before sharing their secrets and even giving audience members sample tastes. Demonstrations take place daily by experts, including those from St. Luke’s University Health Network, Sodexo, The Pennsylvania State University and area restaurants.
The “Iron Chef Competition” returns.
Battle One, 1 p.m. Aug. 30, features Executive Chef Esteban Morales of Sodexo Air Products, Executive Chef Erin Haas of Diana’s Café, and Sous Chef John Abela of Zest bar and grille.
Battle Two, 3:15 p.m. Aug. 30, features Executive Chef Courtney Davenport of The Shelby, Chef de Cuisine Kristina Wisneski of Amis Trattoria, and Executive Chef Steve Brett of Torre.
The winners of the two contests Aug. 30 face off, 1 p.m. Aug. 31, to determine who competes against last year’s winner, Executive Chef Kayla Swinicki of oKaysions Katering, in the final battle, 3:15 p.m. Aug. 31.
The “Grain To Glass Cocktail Competition,” 3 p.m. Sept. 1, features products from local distilleries and local bartenders creating cocktails. Representatives of County Seat Spirits, Eight Oaks Craft Distillers, Gallows Hill Spirits Co., Triple Sun Spirits Co. and Xplorer Spirits-Kilimanjaro Distillery LLC are expected to attend.
On the Centennial Stage in the Agri-Plex are daily contests for children, including Play Doh Sculpting, Pumpkin-Decorating, Rain-Gutter Regatta and a coloring contest. Parents may join their children onstage for the Mother-Daughter and Father-Son Look-Alike Contest. Register onsite.
Performers on the Centennial Stage include: Dave Fry, 2:15 p.m. Aug. 28, 29, 3:15 p.m. Sept. 2; Rachel Marie, 3:15 p.m. Aug. 28, 29; Mike Manning and John Hufford, 4:15 p.m. Aug. 29, 3:15 p.m. Aug. 30; Stefanie Johnson and Mike Anthus, 6:15 p.m. Aug. 29; Alex Alegra, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29, 2:15 p.m. Aug. 30; The Last Train Band, 6:15 p.m. Aug. 30; Magician Mark Mysterio, 3:15 p.m. Aug. 31, 4:15 p.m. Sept. 2; Elysium String Quartet, 4:15 p.m. Aug. 31; Gesture Without Motion, 6:15 p.m. Aug. 31, and Brian Xander, 6:15 p.m. Sept. 1.
The “Agri-Land” area on the Fairgrounds’ west end shelters more than 1,200 farm animals, including cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and rabbits.
Livestock judging takes place in the Judging Tent, Aug. 28, 29 and 30. The annual Lehigh County 4-H livestock sale is Aug. 31.
There’s also “Barnyard Olympics,” Hay-Bale Throwing contests, “Lil’ Farm Hands” activity tent, 4-H petting zoo, the Pedal Push Tractor Pull and other activities.
Entertainment, in addition to Powers Great American Midways rides and games, includes the “World of Wonders,” with sword swallowers, fire-eaters and extreme jugglers, and “Tommy’s Wild West Revue,” west end, and “The Brunon Blaszak Royal Bengal Tigers Show,” MainGate Courtyard, with daily shows, Aug. 28, 29, 30, 31, Sept. 1 and 2.
Performing on the MainGate stage are: Social Call, 6:30-11 p.m. Aug. 28; Scott Marshall Band, 6-11 p.m. Aug. 29; The Aardvarks, 6-11 p.m. Aug. 30; Endzone, 6-11 p.m. Aug. 31, and Grupo Tipico Nexo, 9-11 p.m. Sept. 1.
Allentown Fair President Beverly Gruber has again challenged Fair concessionaires to come up with a new treat at their stands. Fair-goers may vote for their favorites.
Tickets: allentownfairpa.org; 610-433-7541; Ticketmaster.com; 800-745-3000