The Largest State and County Fairs in the United States (2024 Edition)

A closeup shot of the Texas Star, the largest ferris wheel in North America.
© MD Global/

Written by Em Casalena

Updated: December 28, 2023

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Only at the largest state and county fairs can you get deep-fried ice cream, races, musical performances, and carnival attractions all in one area! These fairs are fun for the whole family to attend and have developed into local traditions. County fairs can also provide a wealth of information about a place and its culture. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest county fairs in the country. A lot of these fairs have agricultural roots. They were established to serve as a gathering place for farmers and to raise public awareness of local commodities. The agricultural component is still there, but it is now pushed to the side in favor of family-friendly cuisine, rides, and musical performances.

When you visit any of the top largest state and county fairs included in our guide, you’ll create some lovely new memories with your family and friends!

The Largest State Fairs in the United States

State Fair of Texas

Annual Visitors: 2.25 million

This fair has occurred every year since 1886 except for varying periods during World War I and World War II and 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

©wickedchimp from Dallas, Texas, United States, CC BY 2.0 – Original / License

You can’t have a list of the largest state and county fairs without mentioning this one! Annually hosted in Dallas, the State Fair of Texas is a renowned occasion that embodies the soul and passion of the Lone Star State. It has a long history that dates back to 1886 and has grown to be one of the biggest and most recognizable state fairs in the country. The fairgrounds come alive with a dynamic mix of entertainment, agriculture, cuisine, and Texan pride over a number of weeks every autumn.

The fair’s amazing attendance, which draws millions of guests from near and far, is one of its key lures. The fairgrounds span a wide area and provide a variety of attractions. Explore the busy Midway’s exciting rides and games, or see explosive rodeo contests that highlight Texas’ equestrian history. One of the fair’s most recognizable structures, the Texas Star Ferris wheel, provides sweeping views of the busy fairgrounds.

The fair is also well known for its extensive food choices. The cuisine at the State Fair of Texas is a wonderful gourmet journey, with everything from traditional fair favorites like corn dogs and funnel cakes to distinctive Texas-inspired treats like deep-fried everything and award-winning barbecues.

Minnesota State Fair

Annual Visitors: 2 million

The Minnesota State Fair grounds at night.

The Minnesota State Fair (pictured) goes on well into the night with over 2 million visitors each year.

©Jacob Boomsma/

Since its start in 1854, the Minnesota State Fair has been a beloved yearly ritual. Two million people visit the Minnesota State Fair each year, making it one of the biggest state fairs in the country. And it has a particular place in the hearts of Minnesotans.

The fair, which has its roots in agriculture, honors the state’s agrarian tradition. A look back at Minnesota’s rural traditions can be provided via livestock displays, contests, and demonstrations of other agricultural goods. Visitors to the CHS Miracle of Birth Center can see farm animals give birth, which is both arresting and breathtaking.

The fair features a wide variety of attractions in addition to agriculture. Live entertainment such as concerts, comedy shows, and cultural performances grace various stages across the fairgrounds. Just as well, the Midway delights with thrilling rides and games. Numerous booths dishing up traditional foods like Pronto Pups (a.k.a. really good corn dogs), cheese curds, and deep-fried goodies make the fair’s culinary selections a prominent highlight.

The Great New York State Fair

Annual Visitors: 1.2 million

The New York State Fair, also known as the Great New York State Fair, is an end-of-summer tradition that runs for 13 days.

©Joe Shlabotnik / CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

Since it began in 1841, the Great New York State Fair has drawn crowds with its annual spectacle. It is one of the biggest and oldest state fairs in the country. The Great New York State Fair is held in Syracuse and draws over a million visitors annually.

The fair highlights New York State’s extensive farming history. The state’s agricultural competence is fascinatingly revealed through livestock shows, agricultural contests, and displays of regional food. A popular attraction, the Dairy Products Building, has the well-known Butter Sculpture in addition to a variety of delectable dairy delights.

The fair provides a wide range of leisure opportunities in addition to agriculture. The Chevrolet Court provides a broad roster of performances with renowned singers from many genres, while the Midway offers exhilarating thrills and activities. The fair also offers a wide variety of cuisine, from traditional fair fare to inventive dishes that highlight regional specialties.

Iowa State Fair

Annual Visitors: ~1 million

The Iowa State Fair has a variety of food, including healthy and gluten-free offerings, but it is known for its food on a stick.

©Akelly21, CC BY-SA 4.0 – Original / License

The tradition and agricultural legacy of the Iowa State Fair are deeply ingrained in this stunning event. Since its inception in 1854, it has been a legendary event for spectators from Iowa and beyond. It is one of the biggest and most well-known state fairs in the United States, drawing hundreds of thousands of people each year to Des Moines.

The Iowa State Fair serves as a showcase for the state’s agricultural heritage. Livestock displays, contests, and demonstrations provide spectators with a close-up view of Iowa’s strong agricultural sector. A favorite emblem of the fair is the well-known “Butter Cow,” a life-sized sculpture made entirely of butter.

Numerous family-friendly attractions are available at the fairgrounds. The Grandstand is home to a schedule of concerts, rodeos, and motorsport events, while the Midway offers exciting rides, games, and carnival entertainment. Various businesses exhibit anything from arts and crafts to cutting-edge items at the Varied Industries Building.

Tulsa State Fair

Annual Visitors: ~1 million

Since its inception in 1903, the Tulsa State Fair has been a cherished yearly tradition for Oklahomans. With its vast range of attractions, it is one of the biggest fairs in the state and is held in Tulsa.

The fair, which has a long history steeped in agriculture, highlights Oklahoma’s greatest farming customs. The state’s agricultural legacy is highlighted with livestock shows, agricultural displays, and contests. Young exhibitors get the chance to express their hard work and cattle knowledge, especially at the Junior Cattle Show and Sale.

The Tulsa State Fair features a wide range of attractions. All ages may enjoy the exhilarating rides, fun games, and entertainment in the Midway. Live music performances, talent competitions, and cultural displays take place on the bustling fairground that has been turned into the Expo Square. Locally produced crafts, works of art, and culinary innovations are shown in the Creative Arts Building.

The Largest County Fairs in the United States

The Los Angeles County Fair

Annual Visitors: 1.3 million

A closeup of the ferris wheel at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona.

The Ferris wheel at the Los Angeles County Fair (pictured) is a major attraction of the event.

©John Charboneau/

This is one of the most popular entries on our list of the largest state and county fairs. Since its establishment in 1922, the Los Angeles County Fair has been a beloved Southern California tradition. The fair is held in Pomona and has developed into a remarkable occasion that welcomes more than a million guests annually.

At the Los Angeles County Fair, there is something for everyone. Visitors enjoy everything from exhilarating rides and activities on the Midway to live music performances by well-known musicians. Through cattle exhibitions, petting zoos, and displays of regional products, the fair also honors its agricultural past.

The Los Angeles County Fair has earned a reputation as an iconic occasion that exemplifies the rich diversity of Southern California’s culture, entertainment, and gastronomic pleasures. It is still a much-loved event that unites people of all ages for a fun-filled day of entertainment and communal celebration.

The Orange County Fair

Annual Visitors: ~1 million

Orange County_Fair_2008-2 Costa Mesa, CA

The Fair’s name from 1907 to 1910 was the Carnival of Products.

©Kafziel at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 – Original / License

This beloved county fair first began in 1890. The Orange County Fair is held in Costa Mesa, California, and has been delighting tourists as a popular summer institution.

The fair honors Orange County’s farming heritage and has a long history that is anchored in agriculture. Visitors get the chance to gain knowledge about local agriculture and animal husbandry by seeing livestock exhibitions, agricultural showcases, and educational displays. The fairgrounds also provide amusement rides, competitions, and live shows on several stages, including performances by well-known musicians.

The Orange County Fair’s food offerings are one of its main attractions. From traditional fair favorites like funnel cakes and deep-fried delicacies to distinctive culinary concoctions from other countries, food vendors give up a wide variety of sweets. The fair also holds a variety of competitions, highlighting the fairgoers’ culinary skills through events like pie-eating contests and baking competitions.

The fair includes arts and crafts displays, interactive exhibits, shopping options, and a carnival atmosphere that encourages a sense of community and enjoyment for all visitors in addition to entertainment and cuisine.

The San Diego County Fair

Annual Visitors: ~1 million

Del_Mar_Fair, also called the San Diego County Fair

This fair is most known to locals as the Del Mar Fair.

©SD Dirk, CC BY 2.0 – Original / License

Since it first began in 1880, the San Diego County Fair has enthralled guests at its yearly event in Del Mar, California. It draws over a million people annually and is one of the biggest county fairs on the West Coast.

The fair, which has a strong agricultural past, highlights farming customs throughout San Diego County. A look into the rich agricultural economy of the area is offered with livestock shows, agricultural displays, and competitions. The fairgrounds’ exhilarating Midway, games, and carnival rides cater to visitors of all ages.

The San Diego County Fair is well known for its extensive food selection. The delicious selection of sweets offered by food sellers includes deep-fried snacks, inventive cuisine pairings, and tastes from throughout the world. Visitors may enjoy locally made beverages at the fair’s artisan beer and wine gardens as well.

The Big Fresno Fair

Annual Visitors: ~600,000

Big Fresno Fair Night_Carnival

Hosted in Fresno, California, the Big Fresno Fair draws more than 600,000 guests annually.

©The Big Fresno Fair, CC BY-SA 4.0 – Original / License

The Big Fresno Fair was founded in 1884. This annual celebration is hosted in Fresno, California. It has captivated the people of the Central Valley ever since. It draws more than 600,000 guests annually and is one of the biggest county fairs in California.

Agriculture has played a significant role in the fair’s long history. With the help of livestock shows, agricultural displays, and contests, it highlights the area’s farming history. Visitors may see how stunning a variety of farm animals are and discover the value of agriculture in the Central Valley.

The fair has a lot to offer in addition to agriculture. The Midway offers exhilarating rides, entertaining games, and carnival entertainment, creating an exciting and enjoyable atmosphere. Numerous live events, including concerts by well-known musicians, are held at the Paul Paul Theater.

The Big Fresno Fair’s cuisine is one of its main draws, with a wide variety of delectable dishes being offered by a number of food exhibitors. There is something for every pallet, from traditional fair favorites like corn dogs and cotton candy to inventive gourmet concoctions.

The Big Fresno Fair offers visitors a well-rounded and fun experience that honors the Central Valley’s community, culture, and agriculture by including art exhibitions, artisan displays, agricultural education, and different interactive exhibits.

No matter where you find yourself in the United States, we bet finding the best fair to visit won’t be too difficult with so many options!

The annual visitor count for these state and county fairs is based on recent research. Each year, attendance for these events is subject to change.

Summary Of The 9 Largest State and County Fairs in the United States

RankState FairPopulationLocation
1State Fair of Texas2.25 MillionDallas, TX
2Minnesota State Fair2 MillionFalcon Heights, MN
3The Great New York State Fair1.2 MillionSyracuse, NY
4Iowa State Fair1 MillionDes Moines, IA
5Tulsa, State Fair1 MillionTulsa, OK
6Los Angeles County Fair1.3 MillionPomona, CA
7Orange County Fair1 MillionCosta Mesa, CA
8The San Diego County Fair1 MillionDel Mar, CA
9The Big Fresno Fair600,000Fresno, CA
Summary Table Of The 9 Largest State and County Fairs in the United States

How Many County Fairs Are in the U.S.?

The giant Ferris Wheel at the Texas State Fair.

The State Fair of Texas, located in Dallas, is the largest state fair in the country. The net proceeds from the fair are used to support a variety of institutions, from scholarships to community outreach programs.

©Phillip Holland/

County and state fairs are a vital part of the United States. Started in 1811 by Elkanah Watson, who was a banker and businessman, their original intention of fairs was as a place where people in the area could display their crafts and skills, and sell or trade items, like produce. Fairs were set up on routes of trade and while it appears that they were for fun and games, they were a great place for the people involved to learn the selling or commerce trade.

There are almost 3,300 county and state fairs in the United States. These generate not only jobs but also income for the areas that host them. The country has a combined revenue of around $2 billion generated annually and over 24,000 people employed. Many of these fairs reinvest the revenue back into the community.

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About the Author

Em Casalena is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on plants, gardening, and sustainability. Em has been writing and researching about plants for nearly a decade and is a proud Southwest Institute of Healing Arts graduate and certified Urban Farming instructor. Em is a resident of Arizona and enjoys learning about eco-conscious living, thrifting at local shops, and caring for their Siamese cat Vladimir.

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