Fun for Young and Young at Heart at the Champlain Valley Fair 

August 18, 2016  
Filed under Things to do


Photo by Steve Mease

Photo by Christopher Ashby

Photo by Christopher Ashby

The annual Champlain Valley Fair will be held Aug. 26 through Sept. 4 at the Champlain Valley Exposition on Pearl Street in Essex Junction. The Fair opens on Aug. 26 at 3 p.m. with half price admission and ride bracelets all day. It is ten days of family fun for all ages and interests, an annual tradition that earned the Fair a spot among Vermont’s ten best events.

The “Ten Best Days of Summer” also describes the Fair’s Coca-Cola Grandstand entertainment, both the Bud Light Music series and the other shows coming to the grandstand. Concerts include gate admission the day of the show. All are held at 7 p.m. and include: 

Aug. 26: Chris Young with special guest Cassadee Pope

Aug. 27: ZZ Top with Gregg Allman

Sept. 2: Comedian Jim Gaffigan (see story page 11)

Sept. 3: Rascal Flatts with special guest Kelsee Ballarini

Sept. 4: I Love the 90s – Salt-N- Pepa, Tone Loc, Color Me Badd, Young MC and Vanilla Ice

Motorsports fans will be happy that the Burnett Scrap Metal Championship Figure 8 race is back Aug. 31 at 7 p.m., and the Demolition Derby, Sept. 1 at 6:30 p.m. This year, special guest Joe McGinnes will be performing before the show and between the preliminary bouts and the finals. The Monster Truck Night of Fire and Destruction will be Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. These daredevils will take your breath away as they soar through the air doing acrobatic tricks. Admission to the Fair is not included with motor sports advance tickets.

Kids Day is Aug. 29, featuring a partnership with the Wuderlee Circus Extravaganza. This circus features performers from several other circuses including Circus Smirkus and Cirque de Soleil. It is a free show with a voluntary donation to the Fair’s Read and Win program at the gate.

Legendary Journey tribute band Resurrection, the most sought after Journey tribute band in America, will perform Aug 30.

 “We’ve worked extra hard this year to make sure the Fair is affordable, whether it’s a day visiting the exhibits and animals or an evening at one of our big events in the Coca-Cola Grandstand,” said Executive Director Tim Shea.

Senior Day at the Fair is Aug. 30  —  those 55 and older save $3 off admission with ID. “It’s a great day for grandparents to bring their family to the fair and celebrate the last day before school starts,” Shea said.

In addition, food vendors will offer $3 specials midweek, helping to make the Fair even more affordable.

 “The Strates Shows Midway returns with all of their spectacular rides, as well as an updated kiddie area. They are again offering pay-one-price ride bracelets every day. The ride bracelet can be used to ride all of the rides, all day long. “The bracelets are a great way for families to be able to spend the whole day on rides while staying within a limited budget,” Shea said.

Another way to save is advance discount admission and pay-on-price ride tickets available at all Price Chopper grocery stores in Vermont. Tickets are available through Aug. 25 and Fair guests can save up to 25 percent by purchasing them in advance.

Photo by Steve Mease

Photo by Steve Mease

Other admission specials

Aug. 29 – Kids’ Day. Admission for kids age 5-12 get in for $4. Read and Win participants get in free with their ribbons from area libraries.

Aug. 3 – Carload Special Day. Everyone in the car is admitted to the Fair and receives free parking and a ride bracelet for the day with a coupon from any local Maplefields. $70 per carload (legal load limit – everyone must have a seat belt),

Sept. 1 – Food Bank Day. free admission from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for each guest who brings two cans of food for the Vermont Food Bank. And guests who brings an additional two cans of food are entitled to purchase a discounted ride bracelet for only $20 all day.

September 1 – Military Appreciation Day. Free admission for past and present members of our military with a valid Military ID.

Photo by Steve Mease

Photo by Steve Mease

Visitors also have numerous opportunities to learn how Vermont’s agricultural economy is adapting to new markets and needs from people raising emus, llamas, rabbits, specialty poultry breeds and sheep. The schedule of competitions is available online at

Educational aspects are stressed during best of breed judging competitions and 4-H contests. You can try your hand at milking a cow; see pulling horses and oxen in action in the ring; learn which came first – the chicken or the egg – at Old MacDonald’s Farm; and see first-hand how genetics is used in growing giant pumpkins, vegetables and unusual flowers.

Free entertainment is one of the biggest values associated with a visit to the Fair. “Every day, dozens of shows are on stage or strolling through the grounds” Shea said.

Favorites Hypnotist Steve Bayner, a giant sand sculpture, strolling Dixieland musicians and other shows will surprise and delight. New displays this year include a photographic exhibit from the Vermont Historical Society featuring some of the first organic farmers from Vermont.

Shopping is another form of entertainment for many people, and this year there will be more than 200 exhibitors offering deals on everything from hot tubs to tractors to t-shirts.

Tickets for the fair, its concerts, motor sports, etc. may be purchased through the Flynntix Regional Box Office or online at

For a complete daily schedule, information on concerts and free entertainment or to sign up for a free e-newsletter, visit


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