State Fair kicks off its centennial year on Thursday with Tastykakes in lieu of cake


The Delaware State Fair is marking its 100th anniversary by sticking to its agricultural roots.

The fair opens at noon on Thursday.

“I am thrilled and looking forward to the comeback of the Livestock Parade of Champions,” said Ron Draper, Delaware State Fair, board of directors’ president. “We did it several years ago and it was truly the heart of the fair. Our youth, put a lot of hard work into their livestock and this is their shining moment to show off their award-winning Grand and Reserve Champions.”

The fair will have Corteva as presenting sponsor this year. Corteva, which is based near Wilmington, is the combination of Dow and DuPont agricultural businesses.

The first day features $5 admission and will feature a pyrotechnics’ fireworks show in the fairground’s plaza saluting past vendors who have been with the Delaware State Fair since its infancy.

Fireworks displays are scheduled for eight nights throughout the 10-day event. Other centennial firsts include the Budweiser Clydesdales team and carriage and a 9,500 square foot Touch-A-Truck outdoor display.

The fair will face its usual challenges of heat, humidity and stormy weather.

Entertainment will continue to have a country and western flavor, one exception being well-known singer. Gladys Knight. Click here for hightlights.

Bill DiMondi, general manager for eleven years and twelve-year board president says tradition plays a big role in the fairgoers’ decision to return each year. The biggest draw for patrons throughout fair history is its dedication to showcasing the area’s agriculture, farmers, agri-business and livestock.

In lieu of cutting thousands of slices to hand out to guests as part of the 100-year celebration, the fair purchased 30,000 two-packs of Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets to distribute to all attendees.

For adults, a Fair Centennial Craft Beer developed by Big Oyster, is available in the Roost and concert beverage sale locations.

A screening of the Treasured Memories Fair video will be running in the Exhibit Hall during the 10-day event. The public can also purchase the Reflections of the Fair DVD at the front desk and buy a copy of the Treasured Traditions soft-bound book on Amazon. The memoir includes a collection of photos collected over the years through a coordinated effort with the Delaware Public Archives.

In recent years, the fair saw its biggest building boom with more than $10 million spent on the Exhibit Hall, Administration Offices, Schabinger Pavilion, Kent and Sussex Barns and Centre Ice Arena.

“The fair was fortunate to have been the beneficiary of owning 77 percent of Harrington Raceway and Casino and the dividends received allowed the Fair Board to do wonderful things throughout the fairgrounds,” said Fair General Manager Bill DiMondi.

The Delaware State Fair also works to keep up with the times and launched a newly designed website,, with access to a direct line up of centennial events, concerts, tickets, a fair calendar and a “Plan My Day” application for visitors to save events of interest to an itinerary for planning their day at the fair.

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