The Story of the Westmoreland Fair Association
The Westmoreland Fair celebrates 61 years in 2015; in 1954 a group of local farmers and businessmen with an interest and passion for agriculture in Westmoreland County established and incorporated the Westmoreland Agricultural Fair and Recreation Association. In the very beginning of the Westmoreland Agricultural Fair and Recreation Association, the Fair organized by the Association was held at Idlewild Park, located in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. At that time the Fair lasted only three days and was attended primarily by 4-H exhibitors, their families and by people who just happened to be attending the amusement park.
By 1957 there was a need to grow and the Fair’s charter members purchased a 170 acre farm near the village of Mutual. That first year, organizers built a veritable tent city to accommodate all the exhibits and animals.
Over the years the Fair’s Board of Directors focused efforts on adding permanent buildings to house a growing fair. Today, there are 20 buildings including barns, pavilions, and small arena – complete with stage. In 1990 the fair constructed a new Grandstand Arena complete with roof and with seats for 5,600 and room to expand audiences to more than 8,000. Since 1990 there have been 3 businesses that have held the naming sponsorship of the grandstand arena with Peoples Gas becoming the naming sponsor in 2010.
Westmoreland Fairgrounds is the site of other attractions throughout the year including: the Westmoreland County Home Show, Rib Festival, the Labor Day Pennsylvania Arts & Crafts Colonial Festival, and the magical Overly’s Country Christmas Light Display from November through January. In the past the fairgrounds has bee the host venue for 4 – Rolling Rock Town Fair Concerts, auctions, livestock shows, car shows, demolition derbies, rodeos, the Westmoreland Rib & Wing Festival as well as antique shows, gun shows, horse shows, Motocross racing.
The Association is NOT affiliated with Westmoreland County and does NOT receive any money to operate the fair or any other events held on the grounds throughout the year. The volunteer board of 21 director’s work tirelessly throughout the year to see that the grounds are rented to various organizations to hold events to raise money to help in the maintenance and operations of the grounds and the fair.