A fair to remember: 2015 Cuyahoga County Fair preview guide and vintage photos – cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Freshly baked blue-ribbon pies. A smash-’em, crash-’em demolition derby. Tribute bands paying homage. Gleaming, un-genetically modified vegetables. The fresh aroma of cheese-on-a-stick and corn dogs.

 Eager 4-H teens showing their prize livestock. Bags of hot pink cotton candy blowing in the wind. Screams of scared glee from the whirring rides. All in one place. For just one week. Yes, it’s the Cuyahoga County Fair.

 The 119th annual Cuyahoga County Fair runs Monday, Aug. 10, through Sunday, Aug. 16, at the fairgrounds in Berea.

 And though times have changed since area farmers rode in with their livestock and produce in 1893, one thing remains the same: The county fair is about a community coming together. Here’s what you and your family can expect to see in Berea next week.

By the numbers

  • 168,500 fair lovers attended the 2014 Cuyahoga County Fair. Organizers expect even more this year.
  • The South Midway of the fairgrounds was expanded this spring, providing 15,000 more square feet for rides and attractions.
  • 4-H members will be serving up ice cream flavors from Vanilla Bean to Vegan Salted Caramel Pecan. Last year during fair week, their efforts yielded a total of 5,760 scoops.
  • There will be 100 goats and 75 sheep, along with pigs and piglets.
  • In 2014, the fair had 7,533 exhibits entered from 843 people. Expect around the same number this year.
  • 2015 will feature 100 food vendors with traditional fair food and other culinary delights.
  • There will be more than 175 merchant booths.                                                       
  • There will be 150 beef and dairy cattle, with the largest weighing in at approximately 1,500 pounds.
  • Expect 30 entries for the Spam-eating competition, with the Cuyahoga County Fair boasting national grand prizewinners in the past.
  • Twenty to 30 competitors will vie for best of show in the pie competition.
  • The demolition derby is the most popular event at the fair, drawing the largest crowds. This year, you can actually lease cars to run in the demo derby – and leave your crashed mayhem behind when you pick up your winnings.
  • More than 3,000 workers – fair board directors, grounds crew, 4-H members, volunteers, concession workers, ride and midway operators – are needed to help put on the fair. During the year, there are just 21 fair employees.

Fair facts

This year’s musical headliners include KISS tribute act Mr. Speed – crowned “The Best KISS Tribute Band in the World” at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas in 2012. If you paint your face when you see them Friday, Aug. 14, as part of the Cuyahoga County Fair Concert Series in the grandstand, you’ll be admitted to the VIP Track Seating Area for free. 

Other performers include Pink Floyd tribute band Wish You Were Here on Saturday, Aug. 15, and country rockers Parmalee on Thursday, Aug. 13. (Click here to read pop music critic Chuck Yarborough’s Parmalee preview.)

Go to http://cuyfair.com/music-events/grandstand for concert admission and ticket info.

 2015 will feature a large variety of horse events, including:

 Tuesday: Halter classes for horses and sanctioned harness horseraces. (There are purses involved.)

Wednesday: Horse-pull viewing.

Thursday: Hitch class; bright and shiny wagons, a grandstand event.

 At the Olde Barn Pavilion, from 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, fairgoers will have a “Make Your Own Mask” opportunity. Guides will take you through a creative process as you are supplied materials, paint, glitter and jewels, yours to take at no charge. Twenty-five people will be taken per hour on first-come, first-served basis.

 There will be free county fair coloring books given to all children as they exit the fair each day (while supplies last).

 While there will be no poultry at this year’s county fair, due to recent outbreaks of bird flu (although there are no cases reported to date in Ohio), there will still be plenty of animals from bunnies to horses . . . even a 4-Horned (as in 4-H) sheep!