A close up of a funnel cakes sign

11 Best State Fairs in the USA

Aug 23,2022read

There’s nothing better than visiting a state fair in the summer. The smell of deep-fried food, exciting carnival rides, and fun activities help create memories for years to come. The below list of best state fairs in the U.S. ensures you have plenty of event options.

These top 11 U.S. state fairs generally see large groups of people, with some options having over two million visitors annually! Whether you prefer a wine garden, giant slide, or heart-pumping rides, you’re in for a real treat with these options!

Aerial view of state fair

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Indiana State Fair

The Indiana State Fair is a top choice for many, offering delicious and unexpected deep-fried foods. Here, you can find items like deep-fried sugar cream pie and nachos made from potatoes covered in pork! This state fair also includes a circus with three free daily shows, offering additional entertainment for families.

Each year, the Indiana State Fair can maintain the state fair tradition of fun rides and delicious food options while continuously adding new traditions and entertainment options.

Iowa State Fair

The Iowa State Fair is one of the most well-known fair options. It's inspired various movies, books, and even a Broadway musical. It's even nicknamed "America's Classic State Fair." This fair is also distinguishable by the many ways it uses butter, from a butter sculpture to deep-fried butter that you can try during a visit.

You’ll want to visit this fair if you love anything related to “food-on-a-stick,” as the Iowa State Fair provides 82 options to choose from. There’s also live entertainment and a competition to decide who is the Fair Queen. 

nighttime view of state fair

 

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Wisconsin State Fair

Each August, the Wisconsin State Fair occurs. This fair is famous for its many tasty food options, like its famous cream puffs, deep-fried cheese curds, and cajun crawfish nachos. When you visit this state fair, make sure to ride on the iconic giant slide! You can also stop by the Milwaukee Mile at this fair, the world’s oldest still operating race car track.

Minnesota State Fair

Heading to the Minnesota State Fair is quite a serious affair, as it is one of the most famous fairs. This state fair, occurring nearby Labor Day each year, is the most popular fair in the country. There are quite a lot of food options, including deep-fried tacos.

The entertainment at this state fair is also quite impressive, with top music industry performers making an appearance each year. 

Skeeball machine

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New York State Fair

The New York State Fair is held in Syracuse each year. It features all the typical options, like whirling rides and tasty comfort food. What sets this state fair apart from others is the giant ladders and wine slushies you can purchase. Enjoy the live entertainment in between going on a few rides. There's also a food truck competition, making this an excellent choice for foodies.

Ohio State Fair

Head to the Ohio State Fair for a myriad of deep-fried foods. Here, you'll find everything from a buckeye funnel cake to deep-fried tofu and even mac and cheese fried and served on a stick! Like with the Iowa fair, you'll likely see a butter sculpture. The Ohio State Fair changes the butter form each year into different items, animals, etc. Keep an eye out for the professional pogo stick athletes that hop around the fair.

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North Carolina State Fair

If you're visiting North Carolina, you don't want to miss out on this exciting event! It's one of the largest events in the state and holds the title of the biggest agricultural event in the U.S. This state fair lasts 11 days and hosts a whopping five million people annually. Some of the activities you'll see at this fair include a horse show and livestock show. You can also find a delicious Krispy Kreme burger at this state fair, a must-try food option.

California State Fair

Each year, this state fair occurs in Sacramento, CA, with an earned nickname of "Big Fun" due to its full-size waterpark and a long list of attractions and activities. This state fair is a top choice for everyone, as the entertainment and activities seem to cover nearly every interest. Here, you can visit animal exhibits, watch a hypnotist, catch an acrobatic show, ride the monorail, enjoy a motocross race, and more.

The California State Fair also includes some unusual food options, such as bacon-wrapped turkey legs and churros with bacon dipped in chocolate. One of the most famous attractions at this fair is the California Counties Exhibit. This exhibit offers views of the stunning California landscapes, with information on the agricultural offerings around the state.

a fairground ride

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Kentucky State Fair

Kentucky’s State Fair is filled with bluegrass performers, delicious food, trick bears, and horse races. There’s quite a lot to do at this state fair, from watching tight rope walkers to listening to live performances. This state fair also holds an annual talent show, where you can watch 13-21 year old perform.

Arizona State Fair

Arizona’s State Fair is quite an event, lasting about three weeks each year. This state fair began before Arizona was established as a state, originally known as the Arizona Territorial Fair.

It's held each year in the fall to avoid the overly hot summer temperatures. Through the years, this fair has welcomed larger performing artists such as Elvis, Nirvana, and Jimi Hendrix. You can enjoy activities like a Monster Truck Show and Swimming Pigs event at the Arizona State Fair.

Texas State Fair

Neon Texas Site

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The Texas State Fair is regarded as the largest in the country, typically occurring in the fall between September and October. This fair lasts nearly a month and sees about two million visitors yearly. There are quite a few attractions and activities available at this state fair, including rides and rodeos.

This fair features many variations of deep-fried foods, from fried gumbo balls to stuffed French toast and everything in between. Keep an eye out for the elusive cotton candy taco, as it's a must-try while in Texas. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of best State Fairs in the U.S.! These top fair options provide ample entertainment, mouthwatering food options, and a fun environment for the whole family. Whether you attend one, or all of them, you’re bound to have a great time.

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