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Clarion County Fair



What we know as the Clarion County Fair wasn't always what it started out as.  In an effort to improve relations between the area's merchants and farmers, community members organized a "gala one-day event".

About 5,000 people turned out for the first picnic in 1938, which featured such events as a balloon-blowing contest, a potato race, a greased pig contest and a tug-of-war.  The event was so successful that the organizers decided to keep it going.

The Farmers and Merchants Picnic was first inspired by the Harvest Home days when the park was known only as "Alcola."   The park was then owned by the Frank R. Johnson family, and in the 1930s, the Johnson interests sold the grounds to the Walter W. Craig Post of the American Legion in New Bethlehem.

During the Legion's operation, the grandstand was erected, and the auditorium and pavilion were converted into the skating rink and dance floor.  The pool was later added, and many of the original buildings are still in use.  The old dance hall and club, which at one time housed the park's merry-go-round, is now used as an arts and crafts display center.  The large grandstand is still an important part of the Fair, and structures housing the refreshment stands are still in use.  In fact, the original cattle sheds are filled to capacity each year during Fair Week.

Throughout the years, the Farmers and Merchants Picnic included not only events at the American Legion Park, but in downtown New Bethlehem as well. Four days were spent at the park and three days in town.  Teen dances were held at the New Bethlehem Fire Hall, bargain days at Newbie stores offered customers great deals, and a "giant" firemen's parade was held along Broad Street.

By 1953 the Fair had expanded to three days from two and lasted Wednesday until Friday.  Wednesday was dedicated to registration of animals and agricultural events, and Thursday featured many of the picnic's main events.

It wasn't until 1967 that the Fair was expanded to its current seven-day length, and in 1969, it was renamed the "Clarion County Fair."  About the same time, the park again changed names - this time to the Redbank Valley Municipal Park.  A strong sense of community spirit and involvement have always been sources of pride for the Clarion County Fair.  And through the years, the involvement of its many sponsors, committees, volunteers, and fairgoers, the sense of community is as strong as it was seven decades ago.


Cassidy Rae

Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018
It's always clean and friendly. There's plenty of space and fun activities to do there. The only problem is how rough the roads are. It's got lots of pot holes.

Deborah Smith

Thursday, July 19, 2018
We camp here yearly and we love it here.Clarion county fair is her it's great!

Roberta Wingard

Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017
I went for the Annual Classic Car Cruise and Fireman's Jubilee. The park is very nice for such a small community. There were pavilions to picnic at including grills. Nice paved trails made is easy for wheel chairs to go anywhere in the park. There is also camping available for RVs and tents. A big playground for kids. They have a swimming pool but because of the lack of state funds my husband and I were told they haven't been able to open it. While we were there they had live music, craft vendors , games, the firemen were putting on a battle of the barrel contest. There was a rock climbing wall and other activities too. We were told the following week the park would be hosting the Clarion County Fair and in August a Rodeo in their outdoor arena. The rodeo sounds fun ! Weather permitting we might go. Oh, although the day was pretty hot when we went there was plenty of shade trees and park benches available that we were pretty comfortable.

A Bright

Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2017
A great park. They offer camping, skating, hiking, and a nice playground that is a wonderful mix of newer equipment and things that tend to make adults a bit nostalgic. The skate rink is normally open Friday and Saturday evenings in the cooler months, and you can rent or bring your own skates. The park also hosts the week long Clarion County Fair every year boasting carnival rides, food trucks, demo derbies, tractor pulls and other live entertainment generally suitable for all ages.


Saturday, July 28, 2018
Great place to spend time with family

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