|Elkhart County 4-H Fair|
Elkhart County 4-H Fair Carnival
|Begins||July 20, 2018|
|Ends||July 28, 2018|
|Previous event||July 21-29, 2017|
The Elkhart County 4-H Fair is conducted annually in Goshen, Indiana and is one of the largest county fairs in the country. In 2017, 202,560 guests visited the Fair during the 9 day event. The Elkhart County 4-H Fair is known for its free grandstand entertainment and concerts. Over 4000 Elkhart county youth are involved in 4-H, displaying 8000 projects at the Fair annually.
The Elkhart County 4-H Fair started in 1851 on Goshen, Indiana's courthouse square. Its goal was to give local farmers a place to learn about new farming techniques and a chance to compete for excellence in farming. During the American Civil War, the fair had to take a small break. Soon after, the fair looked for new ways to get urban dwellers interested in the fair resulting in more profit. In the early 1870s attendance skyrocketed when baseball games, sideshow performers, and horse races became the popular attractions at the fair. Twenty years later the County Fair featured a festival ride and merry-go-round, which became the fair's midway.
The Elkhart County Fairgrounds hosts over 150 events during year when the Fair is not being held. The fairgrounds consists of 384 acres (1.55 km2) with 70 buildings and over 300 permanent RV sites in addition to 600 temporary RV sites. One of the most popular non-fair events are RV travel rallies. In 2017, 12 RV travel rallies were hosted at the fairgrounds. In 2011, the fair board completed the purchase of an additional 253 acres (1.02 km2) to the east of the existing fairgrounds. Planners are considering the use of the land for additional parking, camping, or exhibit space.
The Elkhart County 4-H fair has been widely regarded as one of the best county fairs in the nation. When the fair is not in season, the fairgrounds stays busy with other events including the RV Rallies, Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale and is a year-round public campground.
Elkhart County 4-H Fair Attendance: 2009: 258,832; 2010: 255,315; 2011: 235,495; 2012: 244,883; 2013: 280,175; 2014: 269,064; 2015: 255,253; 2016: 183,000; 2017: 202,560
There are approximately 600 volunteers for the Elkhart County 4-H Fair. The entire fair board is volunteer and sometimes fair board and other volunteers take a weeks vacation to volunteer their time.