Great Frederick Fair returns with rides, games and Joan Jett concert series

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Great Frederick Fair (Part 1)

The 160th annual Great Frederick Fair returns this week in Frederick, Maryland.

This year’s special theme is “Harvest Memories: A Community Growing Together.”



“Our event is nine days of nothing but community tradition, being together and celebrating … just to reconnect with all of our friends and family that maybe we don’t see until the fair comes around again,” General Manager Karen Nicklas told WTOP.

The grandstand will once again host a star-studded concert series, which kicks off with American contemporary Christian singer Chris Tomlin on Friday, followed by country music star Clay Walker on Saturday and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts rocking out on Sunday.

“People are like, ‘We saw her at Rabbit’s Foot,’ so she used to play around here,” Nicklas said, referring to a Frederick nightclub, popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Indeed, Jett was born in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania but grew up mostly in Rockville, Maryland before delivering classic rock hits from “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” to “Bad Reputation.”

After a Tractor Pull on Monday and Demolition Derby next Tuesday and Wednesday, the music returns next Thursday with “I Love the ’90s,” featuring Vanilla Ice, Coolio, Tone Loc, Rob Base, Montell Jordan and Young MC — all on the same day.

Next Friday brings Americana singer Brent Cobb before closing out Saturday, Sept. 24, with hilarious standup comedian Ron White, who is reportedly on his farewell tour.

“Tater Salad!” Nicklas said, using White’s nickname. “You might remember him from the ‘Blue Collar Comedy Tour’ with Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall.”

You’ll also be able to enjoy all the food and games at the front of the fairgrounds, as well as nearly 30 rides from a Ferris wheel to rollercoasters, kids’ rides, balloon popping — “all those fun carnival games,” Nicklas said.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Frederick Fair without showcase stables of livestock. “We have over 400 youth exhibitors and a lot of open-class exhibitors as well. We have nearly 16,000 competitive exhibits, including almost 4,000 animals on site throughout the week.”

Admission is $10 at the gate or $8 online. Kids ages 10 and under get in free.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Great Frederick Fair (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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