Bolton Fair returns for 139th edition filled with tradition, entertainment

The 2022 Bolton Fair is Aug. 12 to 14 at the fairgrounds on Route 117 in Lancaster.

LANCASTER – The Bolton Fair cannot be stopped. Paused, maybe, but not stopped.

World wars and pandemics may have interrupted the 148-year history of the traditional fair, but this year it grows beyond its return last year as it readies for the 139th Bolton Fair.

From Aug. 12 to 14, the fair will show off everything from agricultural displays to midway rides, with fields full of activities, entertainment and food for fairgoers.

Fair President Rose Darden has been overseeing the fair, initially involved 31 years ago.

“I started in the exhibit hall at Emerson School,” Darden said. “My first job was to make sure people didn’t touch the exhibits.”

Today, she and an army of volunteers ensure those exhibits are ready for fairgoers.

Since 1874, volunteers have been at the heart of the preparation, a year-round effort that intensifies as fair time approaches.

Starting in Bolton, it more recently (in the timeline of its history) moved to its own property at the Lancaster Fairgrounds on Route 117.

“We’re taking advantage of that space,” Darden said, with popular attractions such as demolition derbies.

At its heart, the Bolton Fair remains an agricultural festival.

One might wonder what could be added to the full lineup (available at But every year seems to bring a few new attractions, or the return of old favorites.

Livestock, tractor pulls, agricultural displays all harken back to the original fair roots.

But a century – make that almost a century and a half – has brought additions.

Reflecting on her own involvement, Darden said simply, “it’s been wonderful.

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