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Gillespie County Fair the granddaddy of them all

The Gillespie County Fair is the 'oldest, continuous county fair in Texas.' Photo by Sandy Schultz

Since 1881, the Gillespie County Fair has been the central celebration of rural life in the Hill Country. The “oldest, continuous county fair in Texas” occurs in late August every year at the Gillespie County Fair Grounds, 530 Fair Drive in Fredericksburg.

The four-day event is filled with everything and anything you’d expect from a classic county fair, including a carnival, livestock judging, exhibits, arts, crafts, a queen’s contest, music, antique tractor displays, a parade, and pari-mutuel horse racing — to name a few. The 130th Gillespie County Fair is Aug. 23-26, 2018.

The Friday morning parade beings sharply at 10 a.m. downtown. However, spectators begin arriving as early as 7 a.m. for prime seats. More than 100 entries, including floats, marching bands, and vehicles, make this one of the largest parades in the Hill Country.

After the parade, the pork barbecue plate is a can’t-miss tradition. A serving includes potato salad, beans, pickles, onions, bread, and cookies with tea or water.

Livestock judging at the show barn occurs Friday and Saturday during the day. A concert and dance are held at the outdoor pavilion Friday and Saturday nights. Entertainment for 2018 includes Jake Hooker on Friday and Steve Wariner and Cory Morrow on Saturday.

Perhaps the biggest draw of the fair is the horse racing at the fairgrounds’ five-eighth of a mile Class 3 track. Post times are 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with gates opening at 11 a.m.

A covered grandstand keeps crowds shaded from the summer heat, and numerous betting windows are available for the pari-mutuel horse betting. Free parking is abundant around the race track.

More details and schedules are available at gillespiefair.net or by calling (830) 997-2359.

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