Last year for Ephrata’s 100th fair, organizers planned a parade that was bigger than ever.
However with severe thunderstorms in the forecast, they made the toughest decision: cancel the parade.
This year, organizers invited back most of the special guests for that anniversary parade. From the Philadelphia Eagles Pep Band to a group of bagpipers, this year’s parade will have more than 20 bands, says Randy Leinbach, who organizes the fair with his wife, Betsy. The 101st fair starts Tuesday, Sept. 24 and continues through Saturday.
There are agricultural exhibits uptown plus rides and food on the midway downtown.
The fair is a homecoming for all ages.
“When the fair comes around, you know you’re going to see your friends again,” says Stephanie Smith, secretary of the fair board.
Here is your guide to the 2019 Ephrata Fair:
Did you know? The Ephrata Fair is Pennsylvania’s largest street fair and Lancaster County’s oldest fair.
Where: Downtown Ephrata, including Main and State streets, is where most of the entertainment, rides, games and nonagricultural exhibits are displayed. Tent city, the main space for animals, tractors and agricultural exhibits and events, is at Grater Memorial Park, also called Ephrata Park, off of Cocalico Street.
Details: Agricultural fair with judged exhibits, rides, entertainment, contests, livestock shows and food. The parade is Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. The toy pig drop (replacing the pig chase) is Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Ephrata Fair: Remember when?
Hours: Midway is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Exhibits and rides open at 4 p.m.
New this year: The popular pork chop dinner will no longer be organized by Ephrata Area Young Farmers Association but the tradition continues, Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 5 p.m. Last year’s parade was supposed to be bigger than ever for the fair’s 100th anniversary but it was canceled because of rain. Many of the bands will return for this year’s parade, Wednesday at 7 p.m. The cow-milking contest returns to the fair Tuesday, Sept. 24, 6:30 p.m.
Ephrata Fair Schedule
Tuesday, Sept. 24
11:30 a.m. -3 p.m. Bake sale (outside fair office)
11 a.m.-10 p.m. Midway is open.
2:30 p.m. Dairy beef judging (Tent City)
4-8 p.m. Exhibits are open.
4-9 p.m. Petting zoo (Tent City)
5 p.m. Bar-B-Q pork chop dinner (Tent City)
5 p.m.-10 p.m. Rides are open.
5 p.m. Swine judging (Tent City)
5-7 p.m. Sneakers the Clown (Tent City)
6 p.m. Antique tractor games (Tent City)
6:30 p.m. Cow milking contest (Tent City, upper ball diamond)
7:30 p.m. When pigs fly toy pig drop (Tent City Lower Ball Diamond)
For the full fair schedule, visit https://www.ephratafair.org/schedules.
Entertainment: The SwingTime Dolls perform Thursday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Stephanie Grace Band (country) performs Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Food not to miss: Toasted cheeseburgers from the Akron Lions Club and milkshakes at Tent City from the Ephrata Church of the Brethren.
Money-saving tip: Senior day is Wednesday, Sept. 25 and will have free flu shots, free entertainment, free coffee and cookies at the fair office and bingo. Kiddies’ Day is Thursday, Sept. 26, from noon to 6 p.m. Rides for kids in preschool through elementary school are reduced by one ticket. Plus, there will be games, balloon art from Sneakers the clown and a candy scramble.
Once Ephrata Fair’s over, West Lampeter Fair is next (Sept. 25-27).