Washington County Fairgrounds
The Washington County Fairgrounds is the site of the Washington County Fair in August and other events through the year. It’s a multi-use facility, with a grandstand, food court and a host of buildings and other structures.
In August, an estimated 50,000 people attend the Washington County Fair. With more than 2,600 agricultural exhibits, barns full of nearly 2,000 animals, youth and craft exhibits, a food area, midway, rides for children and a petting zoo, it is the premiere event held at the fairgrounds.
Immediately before, during and after the annual fair, the fairgrounds aren’t available for other uses. Other times, the fairgrounds hosts community and regional events.
The Washington County Home Show takes over the fairgrounds in January. People find ideas for home improvement, decorating and landscaping over three days. Jewelry, crystals, minerals and fossils are imported from around the world. Along with exhibits, seminars and demonstrations are scheduled.
In the spring, the Pittsburgh Gem Show sells sterling silver jewelry, rocks, gems, minerals and fossils at the fairgrounds.
The spring starts a season of gun shows. Washington County’s largest gun show is scheduled three times a year. Hundreds of new and used handguns, rifles, shotguns and ammo are available. The gun show follows federal, state and local firearm ordinances and laws.
3 Rivers Marine Aquarium Society scheduled a Frag Fest in April, 2021. The event will include multiple coral and dry good sellers. Frags are pieces of coral that are displayed in an aquarium. Setting up coral for a tank is a niche hobby for enthusiasts.
Kid Mania, a consignment event, is scheduled for Late April with large items – furniture, bassinets, strollers, high chairs, swings, bouncy seats, larger toys and the like in Hall #2 – and clothing, accessories, bedding, toys and a host of other items for sale in Hall #1. Items are restocked through the event.
Seven times a year, the Washington And Greene County Antique Tractor Association brings tractor pulls to the fairgrounds on Saturday afternoon.
July sees the National Duncan Glass Society Annual Show & Sale. $7 provides admission for both days. $12 covers Early Bird admission for both days starting at 9:00 AM. The National Duncan Glass Society operates the Duncan & Miller Glass Museum in Washington, PA.
The All-Clad Metalcrafters Seconds Sale is a twice-yearly event at the Washington County Fairgrounds. High quality pots and pans that were dinged, scratched or have other defects are reserved for the seconds sale. Thousands of people line up to buy the cookware at deep discounts.
The Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts Christmas Festival arrives at the Washington County Fairgrounds in October – just in time for the holidays. More than 230 exhibitors display seasonal floral arrangements, jewelry, fabric décor, candles, unique gift items and other crafts over two weekends. Nearly twenty food vendors are on hand.
Paranzino Brothers Auctioneers offers preview days and item pickup at the fairgrounds for their online auctions. The auctions feature products from hundreds of distributors and manufacturers.
The Washington County Fairgrounds has many structures necessary to running an agricultural fair. Here are ones that are used through the year as well.
The Grandstands has an outdoor stage and seating for large gatherings. It faces a ½-mile dirt racetrack that has an arena in the infield. The Grandstands is used heavily during the fair itself as well as during the rest of the year. It provides parking, electric, water and restrooms.
Their enclosed show arena has seating for small to medium-sized events. It also offers promoters electric, water and restrooms.
The Food Court is 3,600 square feet of space located between Halls #2 and #4. It is covered.
With 17,500 square feet, Building #1 holds about 1,500 people. It is completely enclosed and heated, allowing year-round use. It has a cement floor. Electric, water and restrooms are available.
Exhibit Hall #2 can hold 360 people seated about 36 round tables with 10 people each. It is enclosed, heated and air conditioned. The floors are tile. It has a drop ceiling. Stages are available. Exhibit Hall #2 offers electric, water and restrooms.
The 4-H Building is recognizable by the silver dome that covers it. The building offers 4,600 square feet of floor space – less when a stage is used. Heating and electric are provided. Restrooms are nearby.
Exhibit Hall #4 can comfortably hold 300 people at 30 round tables, although 400 people can be squeezed into 50 rectangular tables. The floor are tiled. The hall has a drop ceiling. A stage is available. The hall is enclosed, heated and air conditioned. Electrical and water are available. Restrooms are handy.
With 3,200 square feet, Building #5 is the smallest building at the fairgrounds. It is enclosed. The floor is cement. Electric is available.
The Washington County Fairgrounds has a trolley station that connects to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.
While the roots of the Washington County Fair go back to the days when Washington was a frontier town, the fairgrounds themselves were purchased in the 1910s following the oil boom in Washington County. The Washington Fair Association brought the fair back to the area.
The first airplane stunt exhibition in Washington County was held in 1917 at the fairgrounds by pioneer aviator DeLloyd Thompson.
In the years since, the fairgrounds have been expanded with new structures, existing ones have been remodeled and other improvements have been made.
During the coronavirus pandemic of 2020/2021, many events were canceled, including the Washington County Fair of 2020 (although the Junior Livestock Market Competition still went on).
The state Health Department held a temporary COVID-19 testing clinic at the fairgrounds.
The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank shifted to a drive-up food distribution model during the pandemic. 800 families could register in advance each month to pick up 50 pounds of food each at the fairgrounds.
The Washington County Fairgrounds is located a couple miles north of Washington, PA in Chartiers Township, making it convenient to a variety of events held in Washington.
This article was published in