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What are Fairgrounds?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 March 2014
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Fairgrounds are a large area which is set aside for fairs and other major public events. Typically, fairgrounds include exhibition halls, an arena and/or track, and open space for setting up booths and other entertainments. They may only be used a few times a year, but when they are, fairgrounds can hold thousands of people, along with a myriad of entertainments. Especially large fairgrounds can sprawl across several acres, turning into small cities of their own during major events.

It is common to find fairgrounds near a state or regional capital, usually on the fringes, rather than in a central location. Events at fairgrounds may celebrate seasonal occurrences, such as the harvest, or they may focus on celebrations of the state or area. State fairs are very common in the United States, along with county fairs. Such fairs usually attract attendees from all over the region, and they often have an agricultural focus, with competitions for products like wines, cheeses, and produce, along with farm animal judging and sales.

The exhibition halls at fairgrounds may hold things like flower and produce displays, farm animals, and crafts such as quilts and knitting. Outdoor arenas may be used for further displays of animals, ranging from lambs to draft horses. Often, fairgrounds include an arena or track for competitions like rodeos, horse races, and animal agility trials. Larger open spaces can be used to set up vendor stalls, amusement rides, and picnic tables for enjoying foods which may be sold on the fairgrounds.

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Fairgrounds may also be used for events like livestock auctions, since they provide accommodations for the animals and space for people to look at them before bidding. In some cases, fairgrounds may also include facilities for concerts, Renaissance fairs, and other events, ensuring that they see year-round use, making them economically profitable. State fairgrounds especially tend to see year-round use, since they are usually convenient to access and very well equipped.

It is also possible for private parties to rent fairgrounds for the purpose of parties, weddings, and other events. Such rentals can get expensive, but it is sometimes possible to rent only certain sections; for example, a single hall for holding a dance in. Many fairgrounds have websites, or are listed in the phone book so that people who are interested in facility rental can get more information.

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