‘Ask Evan’: What’s the history of the York Fair?

This week's 'Ask Evan' question deals with the annual York Fair.  Maddie J asks, "How long has the York Fair been around? I heard it's actually the oldest one in the country. Is that true?"

Yes, it's true. The York Fair has been a long time tradition in York County . According to the York County Agricultural Society, who runs the annual fair, it is indeed America's first fair, dating back to 1765.  In fact, America's first fair was held eleven years before the nation was founded.

A charter to hold that fair was granted to the people of York by Thomas Penn, son of William Penn. Back then the York Fair existed as a two-day agricultural market on the town commons, now known as Penn Park.

Fast forward to 1853 -- when a group of prominent York County agricultural leaders formed the York County Agricultural Society for the purpose of making the fair a three-day event and finding it a new home-- which at the time was on seven acres of purchased land on the east side of York.

Following the Civil War, the agricultural society, in 1888 decided the fair had once again outgrown its grounds and fair leaders purchased land and moved the event to the 73-acre site that was eventually expanded to become the current York Fair/York Expo Center property.

Over the years the event grew in length, most recently expanded to a 10-day fair in 1997-- to include two full weekends.

Remember if you have questions you'd like to ask send me an email at AskEvan@FOX43.com  Put 'Ask Evan' in the subject line or reach out to me on my Facebook page-- Evan Forrester FOX43  Whatever the topic I'll do my best to track down answers you are looking for.