FREEHOLD, NJ ---  From blue ribbons to racing pigs, the Monmouth County Fair offers all the excitement of an old-fashioned county fair with a modern flair. This annual event, held Wednesday-Sunday, July 25-29 at East Freehold Showgrounds, Kozloski Road, Freehold, will be celebrating its 38th year of providing wholesome fun families can enjoy.

Organized and presented by the Monmouth County Park System in cooperation with Monmouth County 4-H, the Fair maintains the agricultural nature of a traditional county fair with its Home and Garden Competition, petting farm, and 4-H animal shows and exhibits.  Those looking for excitement should be sure to catch the Hell on Wheels BMX Stunt Show, Tommie Turvey Extreme Equestrian Show and the Raptor Project.  Returning favorites include Robinsons’ Racing Pigs, Bwana Jim’s Wildlife Show and dog demonstrations.

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At the heart of the Fair is the Home & Garden tent.  See the county’s finest baked goods, vegetables, flowers and arts and craft pieces as residents compete for the honor of calling theirs the best.  Inside the Home & Garden tent, fairgoers will also see ongoing beekeeping, gardening and craft demonstrations.  Those who don’t mind getting a little messy can compete in an on-site cake decorating contest or a pie-eating contest.

For many children, the Fair is their best opportunity to see farm animals up close.  And there are plenty to see!  The 4-H Association brings well-cared for rabbits, sheep, heifers and more for visitors to admire.  Other 4-H activities include a watermelon seed spitting contest, a clogging show and theatrical performances.

The Fair’s Living History Tent also focuses on the county’s agricultural past as it shows fair goers how crops such as corn go from the field to the table. Each day, volunteers and staff from the Park System’s Historic Longstreet Farm and Historic Walnford will focus on one of the steps in the process.  Starting Wednesday with field prep and ending on Sunday with harvesting, each day brings demonstrations and hands-on activities.

Entertainment is a big part of the Fair and this year’s performers promise to be memorable.  Wednesday night brings the Amish Outlaws to the main stage while local favorites Brian Kirk and the Jirks perform on Thursday. Thunder 106.3 presents rising country star Jaida Dreyer on Friday.  Bon Jovi-tribute band Slippery When Wet rocks audiences on Saturday night and 3D Ritmo de Vida’s eclectic sounds close the Fair on Sunday.  

The midway’s rides and games are always popular.  (Please note that rides are weather permitting.)  This year’s Fair offers three blocks of time where fairgoers may purchase ride wristbands for $18 per person: Wednesday, July 25 from 5-10pm; Thursday, July 26 from 5-10pm; and Sunday, July 29 from 11am-5pm.

Fair hours are 5-11pm on Wednesday, July 25, Thursday, July 26, and Friday, July 27; 11am-11pm on Saturday, July 28; and 11am-6pm on Sunday, July 29.  Admission is $7 per person; children 12 and under are free.  For more information about the Fair, visit www.monmouthcountyfair.com, or call (732) 842-4000.

The Monmouth County Fair is organized and presented by the Monmouth County Park System in cooperation with the Monmouth County 4-H Association. The Monmouth County Park System, created in 1960 by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, is Monmouth County’s Open Space, Parks and Recreation agency.