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THE TEN BEST DAYS OF SUMMER - The annual Champlain Valley Fair is the highlight of the 2024 summer season. Don’t miss it!

06/05/2024 01:51PM ● By WENDIE PECHARSKY
Remember when you were a child and summer seemed infinite, punctuated by a few cherished events like the Champlain Valley Fair? This year, we’re celebrating the 102nd anniversary of this beloved tradition, slated to run from August 23 to September 1 on the grounds of the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction.

Brad Hunt, marketing director for Champlain Valley Exposition, anticipates that 120,000 fairgoers will flock to the 130-acre facility during the 10 days. They’ll be there to immerse themselves in a world of thrilling rides, creative crafts, delectable food, captivating entertainment, and pure fun.

The rapper and actor Ludacris headlined the 2023 Champlain Valley Fair Grandstand



 On Kids Day, young fairgoers enjoy discounts on admission

 No Champlain Valley Fair would be complete without food vendors selling funnel cakes, nachos, fried Oreos, ICEEs, pizza, and more. 

“Even going back to when I was a kid,” Brad says, “the fair is how you measure your summer. I can remember my mother and father would tell stories about them going on rides here when they were kids. It’s a generational thing.”


Admission is $15 for adults and $7 for kids 5–12, but on opening day (Aug. 23), adults pay $8, and kids 5–12 pay $3 all day. Ride bracelets, which normally sell for $40, are only $25 on opening day after 3pm. Kids under 4 and Read & Win participants are awarded one free admission during the Fair.

However, Brad says there are lots of other ways to save on admission throughout the 10 days. For instance, adults arriving after 5pm Monday through Friday pay only $10 for admission.

 In and around the Fair's Blue Ribbon Pavilion, there are more than a dozen cooking, livestock, crafting, and agricultural competitions and demonstrations. 

What’s more, on Food Bank Day (Thursday, Aug. 29), from 10am to 2pm, adult admission is free with the donation of two nonperishable food items. That same day, ride bracelets are only $30 with the donation of two additional nonperishable food items.

Parking is $5 on most days, but on Carload Special Day (Wednesday, Aug. 28), $89 per car (legal load limit) with a coupon from Maplefields buys you (and everyone in your car) parking, admission, and a ride bracelet. Other days when you can get discounted admission include Monday, Aug. 26, which is Kids Day ($5 for kids 5–12) and Military Appreciation Day (free admission for retired/ active-duty members), and Senior Day (Tuesday, Aug. 27), when adults 55+ (with ID) pay just $10. College students with ID get in free all day on College Night (Thursday, Aug. 29).

Even better, if you pre-purchase tickets online at up to and including Aug. 13, adult admission is $12 and $6 for children 5–12. Pre-purchased ride bracelets are $35. A pre-purchased 10-day pass (not including parking) will cost you $65; a three-day pass (not including parking) costs $30.

You can also buy individual ride tickets for 50 cents each, or you can purchase 120 tickets for $50 (a $10 savings). Rides require multiple tickets.


Over the last 102 years, the Champlain Valley Fair, Vermont’s largest annual event, has grown and changed, offering an increasing number of rides and attractions, but some things have remained the same. You’ll still find more than a dozen cooking, livestock, crafting, and agricultural competitions and demonstrations in (or around) the Blue Ribbon Pavilion, where culinary events focus on locally sourced and created food. Throughout the grounds, there will be free entertainment like glassblowers, the acrobatic troupe The Flying Cortes, and the incredible rescue dogs in the Ready Go Dog Show.

 A member of the The Flying Cortes troupe is launched from a cannon during one of the troupe’s free performances on or near the fairway. 

Of course, no fair would be complete without “Fair Food.” There’s the ever-popular Maple Sugar House, where the maple milkshakes are to die for, and then the Dairy Barn, where ice cream is the top seller and where you can witness a milking demonstration.

 The Bear Foot monster truck performs during the Night of Fire and Destruction at the Fair's Grandstand; 

 An aerialist part of the The Flying Cortes, prepares for liftoff; 


Fan favorites, the fast and furious McKenzie racing pigs are back. 

Returning food favorites include gourmet hamburgers, sausages, fried dough, deep-fried Oreos, the famous deep-fried taco, corn on the cob, gourmet mac n’ cheese, and bloomin’ onions.

Brad says, “Folks interested in getting a bloomin’ onion, it’s the one time of year they indulge and do it right. They don’t order it at a restaurant; they come to the Fair. And when you talk about what makes the Fair, [it’s about] ingesting everything with your eyes, your ears, and your nose. It’s the sights, sounds, and smells of the Fair that really make it what it is. Food just tastes better at the Fair than it does anywhere else.”


The sound of music will fill the air as the 2024 Bud Light Concert Series kicks off Friday through Sunday with such fan favorites as Flo Rida, the Gin Blossoms, Cole Swindell, Roots n’ Boots, and Pentatonix.

Monster trucks will storm the arena for a Night of Fire and Destruction! on Sunday, Aug. 25, and on Wednesday, Aug. 28, Figure 8 Racing will thrill the crowd as cars collide on a figure-8 track and drivers compete for a coveted trophy. Finally, on Thursday, Aug. 29, the annual Demolition Derby will return, providing drivers and fairgoers with the adrenaline rush they crave as cars crash, smash, and spin until they’re little more than heaps of busted metal.

Tickets to all these events are available now at


Learn about all the exhibits, concerts, free entertainment, rides, and complete food menu on the Champlain Valley Fair’s official app. Available for both Android and Apple devices, the app will be fully loaded with information on this year’s Fair by July 15. You can even pre-purchase admission tickets and tickets to all events, including concerts and motorsports shows, on the app.


Champlain Valley Fair

Essex Junction, VT 

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