The Evolution of the Great Frederick Fair


Nate Neubauer

The Great Frederick Fair has brought notoriety to the agriculture, food, and family friendly atmosphere of the Frederick community. In 1822, a two-day cattle show was held at the base of the Monocacy River. Now, 200 years later, the Great Frederick Fair is a nine day extravaganza with music, livestock and rides. The impact the Great Frederick Fair has had on growing our once small town into the City of Frederick is monumental. Let’s take a deep dive in what makes Frederick’s Greatest Show so spectacular.


Since the fair’s conception, livestock has been an important part of the fair. Frederick residents have been showing their livestock at the fair since the beginning. Competitions and prizes have been given to the owners of the animals who are the best kept and bred. You can find many animals at the fair, including pigs, cows, horses, ducks and chickens. The livestock at the fair have always been a fan favorite, especially to little kids. Many livestock owners have “guess the weight” competitions that allow little kids to guess the weight of their pigs or cattle for small prizes such as candy and stickers. Livestock at the Great Frederick Fair has been an essential part of the fair for hundreds of years.


To add to the experience, the Great Frederick Fair has brought in high profile artists to perform at the fair. Artists such as Vanilla Ice, Joan Jett, Cole Swindell, Jon Pardi, Lonestar, Creedence Clearwater, and the Temptations have all performed at the Great Frederick Fair within the last five years. The music at the fair draws in audiences from all around the state and Mid-Atlantic region to watch artists perform new and old songs. In recent years, the Great Frederick Fair has increased the size of their stage and viewing area so that more people can attend the concerts. The new music area can fit about 3,000 people and the stage can fit any band comfortably. Cole Swindell said, “The fans were great and my experience in Frederick was incredible.” Swindell gave the Frederick faithful a phenomenal show to conclude the 2017 Great Frederick Fair. The Great Frederick Fair combines music and a fair atmosphere to add to the already incredible experience that kicks off every fall here in Frederick.


Just like any other fair, the rides at the Great Frederick Fair draw in many of the thrill enthusiasts in the surrounding area. This year, the fair has brought back some classic rides, such as the Tea Cups, Mini Himalaya, The Beast and The Tilt-A-Whirl. There are also many other fan favorites back for another year at the fair. The Starship 3000, a constant producer of long lines and eager anticipation, is back for a 20th consecutive year and will continue to be the ride that many seek out immediately after entering the E Patrick Street gates. The rides of the Great Frederick Fair are an essential piece to the fair experience and a reason for the success of the fair.


Mr. Hanson

The Great Frederick Fair has been an attraction for our city that has brought us fame, notoriety and fun. The longevity of success and profitability for this fair can bring a sense of pride for all residents of our community. The Great Frederick Fair is a spectacle that has brought in fair-goers from all over the state and region. Mr. Hanson, a teacher at Tuscarora, gave an outsider’s perspective for why the fair has stayed so successful, “From someone who has never been to the fair before, something that is apparent is that the Great Frederick Fair shows the subcultures of our community blending together and celebrating the roots of our ever growing city.” The first Great Frederick Fair was 200 years ago. A small livestock fair in a small town in the middle of Maryland has now turned into one of the most attended fairs in the state in one of the largest cities in our state. The Great Frederick Fair is Frederick’s greatest spectacle because of the blend of music, rides, livestock and the celebration of our city’s roots.