State Fair or County Fair? You Be the Judge.

There are certain things that you can expect at any agriculture-based county or state fair: the smell of carney food, livestock, 4-H exhibits and the thrill of the Midway. This month (July) you have your pick between the Cecil County (Maryland) Fair (July 20th to 28th, 2018) and the Delaware State Fair (July 19th to 28th, 2018). A few years back, I had the opportunity to attend both fairs and found that each has their virtues. Note: The Cecil County Fair has become an annual outing for me.

**Edited for 2018. Edits reflect links to this seasons prices and entertainment and more. 

Girl with Horse

Regardless of which event you choose you are sure to have fun.

The Cecil County Fair is a smaller venue and therefore has fewer carnival rides. Because the 4-H agricultural competitions are on a county level, expect smaller exhibits and less livestock than at the Delaware State Fair.


When it comes to the 4-H agricultural exhibits, I must admit, I am not sure what makes one summer squash a prize winner over another. I assume there are some qualities that make one more desirable to the judges. I’ll just have to trust their evaluation.



However, I do enjoy viewing the arts and crafts exhibit, especially those in the kid’s classification. The creativity and quality of work done by the children and teens amaze me. And when it comes to the quilts and the stitchery competitions I am in awe of the detail in the handiwork.

Both fairs provide a fine sampling of 4-H and agricultural exhibits.

GoatThe Cecil County Fair is a bit less commercialized than the Delaware State Fair. What I mean is you will find fewer vendors hawking their goods at the County Fair. There are a few vendors, most selling cowboy hats, belt buckles, leather goods and some clothing. At the State Fair, you can find merchants peddling everything from cookware to pianos and even a small marsupial called Sugar Babies (also known as Sugar Gliders or Pocket Pets).


The Delaware State Fair brings in some big-name entertainers such as Toby Keith (2018), Jeff Dunham (2018) and Brett Eldridge (2018). You won’t find the big “Stars” at the Cecil County Fair but all the entertainment, except rides, are included in the admission price (rides not included with admission at either event). Most evenings, to enjoy the State Fair’s entertainment you will need to purchase a separate ticket.

Rides at CCF

Despite space limitations and running for fewer days (and I’m sure budget restrictions), the Cecil County Fair does an impressive job bringing in quality entertainment throughout the duration of the fair. With two nights of rodeo (Tuesday, July 24th and Wednesday, July 25th, 7 pm ), three nights of demolition derby (Thursday, July 26th, Friday, July 27th and Saturday, July 28th, 8 pm), tractor pulls plus live bands each night, offering a variety of music styles, fair-goers are sure to be entertained.


The Delaware fair also offers free performances. They have multiple showings of the Hollywood Circus and a hypnotist daily, plus cooking demonstrations, a juggler, smaller concerts and a nightly parade. The final night there is a fireworks display as well.

The Cecil County Fair offers Chainsaw Carving demonstrations which always seem to be a crowd pleaser. This year (2018) they have added Glass Blowing demonstrations by Ryan Gothrup, of Mobile Glass Studios. Gothrup’s style is a combination of Italian, Swedish, and German techniques with an American twist.

Since both fantastic events last only a limited time, you will want to make your choice soon. Get the family together and go have a grand old time at the fair.

Interested in more agriculture-based fun in Cecil County? Check out Milburn Orchards Fall Festival and Summer U-pick adventures.


Originally posted to on July 27, 2012. Updated 7/19/2018 for the 2018 season. 

Susan Decoteau-Ferrier

Travel writer/blogger, photographer. Avid potter and wanna-be artist. Wife, Mom to 6 fur kids, gardener, coffee snob.

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