Montgomery County Fair celebrates 170 years: What to know, how to go

The Montgomery County Fair will celebrate its 170th fair featuring everything from funnel cakes to 4-H projects when it opens Sunday for a week of events.

This year’s fair week runs from Sunday to July 16. All the classic events are returning: demolition derbies, truck and tractor pulls and the rodeo. Changes are coming too, as the fair is adding a circus, its first baby contest and talent show.

The fair has continued to grow over the years. In 2021, 26,000 people attended. Lori Page, executive director of the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, is hoping 30,000 will show up this year.

“We’re really hoping for great weather and we’re really hoping for people to just come out and learn about agriculture,” Page said. “That’s what we do. That’s what we’re all about, to educate the public about agriculture and how the food gets from the farm to their tables.”

Betty Wingerter is an Ohio State University Extension educator who carries out the same mission through coordinating all the 4-H and FFA exhibits and activities at the fair. 4-H has grown along with the fair, as 300 members are competing this year with 270 of those showing animals.

“Our number of participants has increased. We have a lot of new members in the program, and of course, most of those things are tied into COVID,” Wingerter said.

“I’m excited because we have so many new families, and so I’m trying to make sure that they all have a positive experience.”

Ava Simon is one of the 300 participants at the county fair who has had a positive experience. Simon, a Brookville resident, started in 4-H about 8 years ago and has competed at the Montgomery County Fair since then. She is showing market chickens, market goats and dairy goats this year.

“Everybody in my family does it, it just seemed like it would be a fun experience,” Simon said of her reason for joining 4-H.

She also serves as a camp counselor at 4-H camp, and hopes to be on Junior Fair Board next year.

“This year, I’m hoping to place well in my chicken class and my dairy goats showmanship,” Simon said.

Wingerter has been working with 4-H members like Simon for years as an educator.

“I’ve been doing it because it’s my passion,” Wingerter said. “It’s what I love — working with young people and adults who want to work with me on growing our future.”

Page suggests buying tickets ahead for convenience. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased on the Montgomery County Fair website or at the gate. Children under 6 get in free with a paid adult.

Parking is free, and all track events are included with the ticket price. All-day ride wristbands are $25. The rides are open on Sunday from noon-4 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. and Monday through Saturday from 1-4 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.

Veterans, senior citizens and first responders can get half-price tickets with a valid ID on Tuesday. New this year, Thursday is “Take a bite out of hunger day,” and fairgoers get $2 off their ticket with the donation of a non-perishable food item. All items will be donated to local food banks.

The Montgomery County Fair continues to develop and look toward the future, with plans for updating the campgrounds in 2023. It will add sewer hookups, restrooms and a shower house with the help of state funding.

Page attributes this progress to the year-round work of the Montgomery County Fairgrounds staff. In the offseason, the fairgrounds has a Main Event Center and Exhibit Hall, climate-controlled and available to rent for events large and small.

“I consider us all a team, and we work together to try to get the job done and to make our customers happy — that goes for rental venues and also for the fair,” Page said.


What: Montgomery County Fair

When: Noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 10 through 16

Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 645 Infirmary Road, Dayton

Details: The 170th installment of the Montgomery County Fair returns for a week of carnival food, rides, games, livestock programs, live performances and more.

Cost: $10, children younger than 6 admitted free with a paid adult

More info: 937-224-1619 or

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