Things to Do

4 Fantastic County Fairs Around DC to Check Out This August

Photograph courtesy of Montgomery County Agricultural Fair.

August is packed with county fairs all over Washington. Here are four of our favorites and what you need to know about each.

Howard County Fair

August 5–12, Howard County Fairgrounds

Attendance: 90,000 to 100,000.

The details: Founded in 1946 to promote local agriculture, it features all-ages classes on baking, flower arranging, woodworking, and more.

Food: Typical fair fare served by community groups, including funnel cake made by the fire department and fried Oreos served by a high-school booster group.

Kid stuff: A petting zoo, horse shows, music performances.

Oddest activity: “Howard County Fair Has Talent,” emceed by radio deejay Michael J. Ages ten and up $5; ages 62 and up $2; under age ten free.

Montgomery County Agricultural Fair

August 11–19, Montgomery County Fairgrounds

Attendance: 220,000.

The details: A big fair (above) with 5,000-plus animals—donkeys, goats, horses, pigs, poultry, rabbits, sheep—on 62 acres.

Food: Deep-fried mac and cheese, Krispy Kreme burgers, maple-bacon cinnamon rolls.

Kid stuff: A farm-oriented family variety show, a station for writing letters to troops.

Oddest activity: A dock-jumping competition for dogs. $10 online and $12 at the gate for a day pass; $34 for three days; $79 for a season pass; ages 11 and under free (as are seniors Tuesday till 5).

Prince William County Fair

August 11–19, Prince William County Fairgrounds

Attendance: 90,000 to 100,000.

The details: Virginia’s largest county fair, started in 1949 by World War II veterans. Expect a lot of stars and stripes.

Food: Chesapeake Bay poutine and BBQ egg rolls, as featured on the Cooking Channel’s Carnival Eats.

Kid stuff: A Power Wheels demolition derby.

Oddest activity: “Jurassic Kingdom,” a stage show about dinosaurs.$6 to $10.

Arlington County Fair

August 16–20, Thomas Jefferson Community Center

Attendance: 74,000.

The details: A 41-year-old “urban fair” whose theme this year is “Let’s Play!,” celebrating childlike joy and fun. Competitive exhibits include flower arranging and photography.

Food: Traditional fare plus food trucks with doughnut holes, vegetarian curry tamales, a peanut-butter-banana-and Nutella grilled sandwich, and more.

Kid stuff: Face-painting, bounce houses.

Oddest activity: A jam-and-jelly competition in which goods are judged on taste, color, consistency, and the jar’s seal.


This article appears in the August 2017 issue of Washingtonian.