This Year’s Barnstable County Fair Offers Something for Everyone!

When the Barnstable Fair was first opened almost two centuries ago, the entertainment its visitors could expect to see was vastly different from what fairgoers experience today. The public could witness trotting horses, sulky racing (using a lightweight cart with two wheels), horse/oxen drags, Vaudville shows, fireworks and livestock exhibits. Late 1800s fairs even included baseball tournaments! The merry-go-round first appeared at the fair in 1899, and the 1954 fair included an auto show.

Today’s fair, which runs this year from July 22 through July 28, offer sights and sounds that will wow the senses.

The midway offers all kinds of rides for kids, teenagers, adults and everyone in between, including a large roller coaster, two ferris wheels, fun houses, games and more. The Zipper – which flips you upside down as you rotate around a center axis like you’re tumbling through a washing machine – is always a favorite for the more adventurous riders. If it spins, flips, or rotates, you’ll find it on the midway!

The livestock exhibits are always a kid-friendly highlight. The fair hosts cows, pigs, goats, chickens, horses, the occasional alpaca and perennial kids’ favorites, the rabbits. The fair’s livestock crew does a great job explaining the animals to curious kids, and it’s one of the few opportunities on the Cape where children can be up close and hands-on with farm animals. Returning this year are Serama chickens – aka teacup chickens. They’re the smallest animals at the fair, and one of the smallest chicken breeds in the world.

The youth building holds great activities for kids as well, with juried exhibitions covering flowers, vegetables, arts and crafts, photography, science and more. It’s amazing, the talent that is on display from area youth!

The Long Pasture Touch Tank from the Audubon Society is always a highlight, as is the Kiddie Land with kid-sized rides and games. All of the grounds’ acts are family-friendly, as are the strolling performers with magicians, mad science shows and even a man who dresses like a tree.
The Main Stage will offer a mix of live music, and there will be motorsports shows in the Main Arena, and amazingly talented grounds performers. The Flying Fools high divers will be performing acrobatic diving maneuvers into a pool from a platform 85 feet up in the air! The stunt bike show is also a highlight, taking place down by the Main Arena.

The Main Stage lineup features Tyler Rich, Herman’s Hermits with Peter Noone, RaeLynn, The Spin Doctors and The Association this year. This year carries a very strong lineup, balancing genres while adding a second night for the growing popularity of country music. Arena shows include the Team Demolition Derby on Tuesday, and the World’s Largest Demolition Derby on Wednesday. There’s something for everyone!

The fair will also have the beer garden, amazing food from vendors across the fairgrounds serving everything from salads to fried dough to bacon on a stick. The Demonstration Gardens, maintained by the Barnstable County Master Gardeners, are always a highlight, as they are in full bloom with flowers, vegetables and herbs making it a quiet place to explore and escape the hustle and bustle of the fair for a bit. All of the produce is donated to local food banks.

A fun, new addition this year is Baby Goat Yoga! This is a book-in-advance experience, an hour-long yoga class with baby goats. The classes will take place by the administration building at 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and at 5 p.m. on Sunday. The cost of the class is $34 and includes a discounted $9 fair admission. If you book the class, you can skip the line and go straight to the ticketholder gate. Book classes at

See you at the fair!

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About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.
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