SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — The rides, the carnival food, and the attractions are all back this year for the Salem Fair!

According to the Salem Civic Center website, the Salem Fair is the largest fair in the state and has been recognized as one of the top 100 fairs and expositions in the country. Nearly 350,000 people attend the fair each year, officials say.

The fair has a rich history, dating back to 1988 as an agricultural fair in Salem. It is known for being free to the public.

WFXR News spoke with Carey Harveycutter — the fair manager and Director of Tourism for Salem — who started the fair as a way to help generate funds for the Civic Center. Harveycutter went on to say that, during opening night, it was free for the public, along with the rides because they didn’t have the funding. Those attending saw rides, concerts, and commercial exhibits.

As the years went on, the crowds grew and organizers couldn’t allow guests to ride for free. The fair was active for more than 30 consecutive years, but in 2020, organizers ended their streak and had to pull the plug due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Salem Director of Civic Facilities, Wendy Delano said the decision was a difficult one, “but one that was made in the best interest of our entire community.”

However, Harveycutter told WFXR News that there will be more sanitation through the complex, employees will be vaccinated, and the rides will all be sprayed down this year.

There is also a new feature that guests will see: paper tickets and paper wristbands will be traded in for all-digital versions.

This year, organizers are geared up for the return of the Salem Fair with a line up of attractions and rides for kids of all ages:

  • Incredible Hypnotist: Richard Barker
  • Danny Grant Cowboy Circus
  • Woody’s Barnyard Racers
  • Merry Heart Funtime Show
  • Rockin’ A Ranch Petting Zoo
  • Dairy Farm on Wheels
  • Aquatic Acrobatic Show
  • Kidz Science Safari
  • Hilby: The German Juggling Boy
Salem Fair Map from

The Salem Fair runs from Wednesday, June 30 through Sunday, July 11 at the Salem Civic Center Complex. Below is a list of dates and times when the fair will be open.

Wednesday, June 30 through Friday, July 24 to 11 p.m.
Saturday, July 3 and Sunday, July 4Noon to 11 p.m.
Monday, July 5 through Friday, July 94 to 11 p.m.
Saturday, July 10 and Sunday, July 11Noon to 11 p.m.

For more information on ticket prices for rides check out the Salem Fair, click here.

Below is a full guide of all the action this year:

Are you heading to the Salem Fair? We’d love to see all the fun you are having. Send us your Salem Fair pictures either by messaging us on the WFXR News Facebook page or email