Agricultural fairs as we know them started two hundred years ago. They were in the very beginning, and are today, about farmers coming together. The fair is an opportunity for our farmers to showcase the very best of their livestock, the best their fields and farms could produce. The farmers across the country work, plant, and plan for months in the hope of picking up one or more of those prized blue ribbons. Over 1,000 individual exhibitors prepare everything form cows, horses, pigs, chickens, sheep, and goats to jams, jellies, quilts and fine arts for the Dutchess County Fair. They provide us the essence of what an authentic county fair is all about. Giving our fair goers an appreciation for agriculture, and educating the as to where the food we eat comes from. There is no better place to showcase agriculture than at a county fair. Experience the wonders of agriculture and learn more about it by visiting with our farmers.
“Livestock Hill” – 12 acres of the fairgrounds, dedicated to showcasing the finest in local livestock.
- 12 barns house Dairy Cows, Beef Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Poultry, Rabbits and more
- 3 Show Arenas with full daily schedules of judging
- Milking demonstrations, Wool Workroom, and Sheep Shearing
Salute to Agriculture Tent – including the Dairy Birthing Center: allowing spectators to witness the live birth of a calf, and displays of award-winning Agricultural Crops and Produce.
AgVenture Kids Activity Tent – presents a mock farm, letting 3 to 10 year-olds see how food is grown and sold. The kids can dig up potatoes from a sandbox, shear a wooden (and woolen) sheep, pick apples from a plywood tree, and mild “Dutchess” the cow. They will take their crop to a warehouse where they will sell it for funny money. That money will buy them a half-pint of milk or bag of carrot sticks. Showing them that food doesn’t “just appear on grocery shelves.”
2 Horse Show Rings – featuring Equestrian events, an Antique tractor pull, and Farrier Competition.
The charm of the Dutchess County Fairgrounds is enhanced by some of the most beautiful gardens in the Hudson Valley. Annually, Fairgrounds gardeners enhance the character of the 144-acre fairgrounds with dozens of themed gardens. Waterfalls and ponds filled with koi and colorful water lilies add significantly to the Horticulture Center. When a respite is in order, relax in the quietude of the Memorial Garden.
Certainly, no visit to the fair would be complete without a walk through the Horticulture Building. Area landscapers gather to showcase their talents in breathtaking garden displays. But, don’t take our work for it – you be the judge! In addition to the professional adjudication, visitors to the Horticulture Building will be able to cast their own votes in a special People’s Choice Awards” competition.
The Dutchess County Fair affords an opportunity to showcase not only agriculture, but also all that is best about our past.
Century Museum Village—Turn-of-the-Century displays featuring “story tellers” in costume will take you back to a quieter, simpler time. Stroll past a printer’s shop complete with a working 1900 printing press, marvel at a living room filled with Victorian furniture, view a rural kitchen and watch as repairs are done in a Model-T-era auto shop.
Working Blacksmith Shop & Gas Powered Engine Show —Witness how work was done and things were made long before the robots were introduced to the workplace. This walk down “memory lane” is sure to bring special pleasure to our seniors and absolute amazement to the youngsters in your group.
Bentley One-Room Schoolhouse —An authentic one-room schoolhouse which had been moved to the fairgrounds, is filled with memorabilia that reflects educational practices and schoolhouse activities in an era long past. If you are fortunate enough, you may visit at a time when one of the teachers who actually taught in the school is your guide.
Pleasant Valley Historic Train Station — Relocated and restored, the Historic Pleasant Valley Train station allows the community the opportunity to view and learn about the industrial era; an integral part of the Hudson Valley’s historic story.
Judging Pavilion from Washington Hollow – The Victorian Judge’s Stand came from the old Dutchess County Fairgrounds Washington Hollow location on Route 44. In the early 1950’s, the Judge’s Stand was dismantled and transported to a seasonal property in Salt Point, NY. There it sat for over 60 years, until the property was sold in 2013. The new owners felt it was part of history and truly should belong once again to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. In need of restoration, the Victorian Judge’s Stand was once again dismantled, placed on a trailer, transported to the DCF location in Rhinebeck. It was then unloaded, rebuilt and restored piece by piece.
Working Sugar House and Cider Mill —Learn how maple syrup is made with sap gathered from the 100 maple trees that grace the fairgrounds. Let the children become a part of apple pressing at the New Cider Mill.
Dutchess Fair Marketplace
Our vendors in the Dutchess Fair Marketplace come to Rhinebeck from all over the world and offer a shopping experience like no other! The collection of our 300 vendors of Crafts, Foods, Shopping, and Services is the perfect place to find house and garden items, unique crafts, amazing packaged foods and spirits, vehicles, and a host of services. It sis the place to find just the thing for a Christmas gift, house present or a little something to brighten your day!
Arts and Crafts
The number of crafters displaying and selling their one of kind creations increases each year. Some of the finest artists and crafters from all over the country will assemble and make available their treasures at great prices.
The A, B, C’s of “Shop ‘Til You Drop” Buildings
A, B, and C are filled with row after row of concession booths. A sales force of over 300 individual vendors inside these buildings and dotted throughout the fairgrounds bring everything from fine jewelry to pots and pans for purchase. Not to worry, they will be happy to hold your purchases until you are ready to leave for home.
Building D — From Field to Table: A Celebration of the Foods We Eat
Building D is the place to sample and purchase specialty foods in great variety. While the usual fair food vendors throughout the fairgrounds provide all of those tasty treats that come with a visit to the county fair, a walk into Building D will afford the opportunity to take home any number of delectable delights. Stock up on country store candies, honey, real maple syrup, jams, jellies, fudge, and oh yes, don’t forget the gourmet chocolate covered apples on a stick!
List of Concession & Food Vendors
Building E — Blue Ribbon Brownies & more
Looking for Aunt Helen’s prize winning pickles? Did Cousin Sally remind you to be sure to see her first place watercolor? Building E is the place to find hundreds and hundreds of handmade quilts, hobbies, crafts and more. From the finest hand crocheting to needlepoint and crewel, you will find nothing but “labors of love” in Building E.
Northern Dutchess Rod & Gun Club Wildlife Exhibit
Dutchess County is home to some of nature’s most beautiful animals. In a very special corner of the fairgrounds protected by a canopy of leafy trees and evergreens, the wildlife exhibit provides a peaceful respite for animals and visitors, as well.
Dutchess County Fair Souvenirs
You can purchase all of your favorite fair souvenirs at the outside location near the Administrative Building. The souvenir stand will allow you to take home memories of your day at the fair and more.