On August 9, 2023

The Vermont State Fair observes its 177th year, bringing a vibrant agricultural background and a rich historical tradition


Tuesday-Saturday, Aug. 15-19—
RUTLAND—The Vermont State Fair, famous for its thrilling rides,  exciting tractor pulls, adrenaline-pumping demo derbies, horse racing,  games, vendor concessions, arts and crafts and more, is also remembered as a historical landmark of Vermont, especially with its roots in agriculture. 

The fair, managed by The Rutland County Agricultural Society, is one of the oldest state fairs in the United States. Established in 1846 as the Rutland State Fair, it started as a one-day event held in a field near Castleton. The fair quickly gained popularity, attracting visitors from all over Vermont and Western New York. In 1849, the Rutland Railroad even added extra cars to accommodate the growing number of attendees.

Over the years, the fair moved around Rutland County before finding its permanent home in 1856 at 175 So. Main St. in Rutland. Originally known as the Rutland County Park, the fair has been held at this location ever since. In 1972, it was officially renamed the “Vermont State Fair.”

The first president of the Rutland County Agricultural Society was Fredrick Button. Under his leadership, the fair gained traction and attracted participants from various agricultural backgrounds. The initial fair showcased livestock, produce, and local crafts. It served as a platform for farmers to exhibit their products, exchange ideas, and promote agricultural practices.

As the fair grew in popularity, it began to feature more attractions and entertainment. Before the fair settled in its permanent location, it set up on different plots of land around Rutland County. Notable locations included John Cain’s property (now Grove Street, north of Crescent) and the old Baxter Estate. These moves allowed the fair to reach a wider audience and fostered community engagement.

In 1856, when Rutland County Park became the permanent home of the fair, the park provided a central location for visitors and participants. The fairgrounds offered ample space for various exhibits, livestock shows, and entertainment venues. This stability allowed the fair to establish itself as a significant event in the region.

Throughout its long history, the Vermont State Fair has hosted numerous top-name entertainers. Renowned artists such as Loretta Lynn, Buck Owens, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Conway Twitty, Ronnie Milsap, Charlie Pride, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Charlie Daniels Band, Vince Gill, Scotty McCreery, and Jeff Dunham have all performed at the fair. These performances have brought joy and excitement to families and fairgoers, making the event even more memorable.

For those who are passionate about agriculture and want to be more involved in the fair, membership opportunities with the Rutland County Agricultural Society are available. Membership offers various benefits, including access to exclusive events, networking opportunities with fellow agricultural enthusiasts, and the chance to contribute to the development of the fair. To join, visit the fair’s website and follow the membership application process.

The Vermont State Fair also provides employment opportunities for individuals interested in working during the event. Whether you’re looking for a temporary position or a long-term commitment, there are various roles available. To apply, fill out the fair’s employment application and submit it via email, mail, or in-person at the fairgrounds.

For full Vermont State Fair  event listings, see the event schedule on page 17. For more information, visit: vermontstatefair.org.

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