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  Photo: Canadian County Free Fair 
Visitors to the Canadian County Free Fair in El Reno are in for a thrill when they climb aboard an exciting midway ride.

Once an annual social ritual centered on agriculture and education, county fairs in Oklahoma have become iconic celebrations packed with mouthwatering foods and endless entertainment. Return to small-town simplicity with the rush of a thrilling carnival ride, the sweet aroma of hot kettle corn and the sound of a crowd coming together to sing a classic country tune.

OK County Free Fair – Oklahoma City

The OK County Free Fair in Oklahoma City is all about showing off the proudest wares of the locals. Photography, garden produce, woodworking, baking, flower arrangement and livestock are just a few of the competitions hosted at this fair and locals come out in droves to enter. Step into exhibit halls to view the one-of-a-kind entries before heading outside to enjoy the open air attractions.

Festival food can be found in abundance at this fair, which provides the perfect opportunity for indulging in your favorite fried and served-on-a-stick snacks. Nibble homemade custard pies and peanut brittles then wash it all down with fresh squeezed lemonade or icy root beer.

Stroll the midway and discover excitement at every turn. Try your hand at the ring toss, climb aboard a ride packed with twists and turns or sit a spell to have your face painted. Don’t leave until you experience the ice cream freeze-off, where folks from throughout the county present their best homemade ice creams and swap favorite recipes.

Canadian County Free Fair – El Reno

An El Reno tradition since 1914, the Canadian County Free Fair is sure to take you back in time. Experience the authentic agricultural heritage of the region with entertaining and educational events like farmhand Olympics, crop judging and swine and horse shows.

After soaking up some farm and ranch history, experience the allure of 100-year-old fair activities like greased pig contests, wheelbarrow races, carnival rides, tractor pulls and trap shoots. Grab a turkey leg and a front row seat to one of the fair’s highlights, the pet show, to be wowed by the useful and quirky talents of local pets. Between swigs of ice cold root beer, you’ll be enchanted with the sounds of horseshoe pitching, live country music and squeals of carousel riders at this one-of-a-kind fair.

McClain County Free Fair – Purcell

Get a glimpse of farm life with the rabbit, goat, sheep, swine and cattle shows at the McClain County Free Fair in Purcell. This fair presents an abundance of agricultural celebrations as well as an assortment of old-fashioned activities. For more than eight decades, the McClain County Free Fair has been getting bigger and better every year with tractor pulls for children and adults, livestock shows, pageants and more.

While the abundance of agricultural events takes center stage at this fair, another highlight is the salsa competition. Home cooks from throughout the region convene at this fair to show off their salsa making skills and the high-stakes judging is not to be missed. Bid for the winning salsas, as well as a variety of competition pies and cakes, and take home some award-winning treats. Be sure to stop by the best dressed pet contest where cats and dogs in wacky outfits generate amusement for the entire family.

Cleveland County Free Fair – Norman 

Watch Norman come alive every September with the celebration of local agriculture at the Cleveland County Free Fair. Packed with entertainment and excitement, this fair has been boasting something to please fair fans of every age and interest for more than 100 years. Find mouthwatering festival foods, impressive live entertainment and nonstop old-fashioned fun.

Grab a seat on the sidelines of the baby crawling contest, where you’ll see precious toddlers lured across the finish line by parents calling to them with toys and snacks. Stay entertained throughout the three-day event with an antique tractor show, youth goat roping and a celebrity cow milking contest.

Kids relish the chance to feel the fuzzy faces of farm animals at the petting zoo then climb aboard a pony for a short jaunt before hitting the midway. One of the best ways to see all the action is from the top of the Ferris wheel. Experience thrill after thrill on the carnival rides before taking a moment to savor a turkey leg or funnel cake and hum along to some live local music.

Stroll the midway and discover excitement at every turn. Try your hand at the ring toss, climb aboard a ride packed with twists and turns or sit a spell to have your face painted.

Payne County Fair – Stillwater

Old-fashioned entertainment is what sets the Payne County Fair apart from the rest. Get fired up for the fair as it kicks off with a lively parade through Stillwater. Indulge in a homemade brisket sandwich and giant slice of cheesecake before making the rounds to see all the over-the-top competitions that go far beyond the traditional livestock shows.

Talent competitions show off a variety of singing and dancing skills while gunny sack races and an egg toss pose a unique challenge to competitors. Even if you don’t participate, these riotous contests guarantee plenty of laughs from onlookers. Stick around for the Fairest of the Fair pageant, where you’ll have a chance to see the newest local royal crowned.

Rogers County Free Fair – Claremore 

You’ll know when the Rogers County Free Fair kicks off when Claremore’s skies fill with celebratory fireworks. The fireworks show marks the beginning of the event that cherishes old-fashioned fair traditions with livestock shows, classic games, homestyle foods and plenty of carnival rides.

Mingle with the locals at the annual steak dinner, where you’ll be treated to a juicy rib eye, a baked potato and generous helping of barbecue beans before you hit the midway for rides and exhibits. Stop by the gravy making contest for a hefty dose of nostalgia, where you’ll discover some friendly cooking competition among the new contestants and the most seasoned competitors.

Watch area youth compete in dog, rabbit, chicken and cattle shows before you head outside to dance under the stars to live music. Hop on a carnival ride and you’ll be swinging through the air where the scent of fresh popcorn lingers above the midway.

More Fair Fun

Fair season won’t last forever, so take every opportunity to let loose on a carnival ride, indulge in a deep fried treat and make lasting memories at any Oklahoma county fair. Savor the best regional flavors with the annual chili cook-off at McAlester’s Pittsburg County Free Fair or the dutch oven cook-off at the Woods County Free Fair in Alva. Find top animal attractions at the Comanche County Fair in Lawton where you can get up close and personal with pygmy goats, llamas and donkeys at the petting zoo or head to Hobart’s Kiowa County Free Fair to watch the humorously slow turtle race.