The Riverhead Country Fair will return to downtown Riverhead on Sunday, Oct. 9.

The fair, a local favorite and one of the largest in New York State, features craft vendors, food, carnival rides and midway games. Live entertainment and local craft spirits and beverages will be available throughout the day. 

File photo: Denise Civiletti

With more than 300 competition classes, the fair is an annual ritual for local farmers, crafters, artisans, bakers and vegetable decorators who hope to snag a prize in one of the fair’s many contest categories.

Contests have professional, amateur, and junior divisions.

The event typically draws thousands each year to downtown Riverhead — both to marvel at the entries in the contests on display and to enjoy the festivities, carnival rides, shopping, live entertainment and food.

After a cancelation in 2020 due to the pandemic, the fair relaunched in 2021, though attendance was hampered due to rain.

The Country Fair is a Riverhead staple that can trace its roots all the way back to the 1840s.

The fair as we know it was founded by Riverhead Townscape, an organization established during the American bicentennial year of 1976 to beautify downtown Riverhead. 

The founders of Townscape decided to reinstitute an annual fair in Riverhead, which had hosted the Suffolk County fair from the 1840s until some time during the Great Depression, according to the late longtime organizer Jim Lull.

Originally hosted by the Riverhead Agricultural Society, the fair had been held on property that came to be known as the fair grounds, just north of Pulaski Street.

It was held every year until the Great Depression, when it was held “only erratically” until a group of residents decided in 1976 to resurrect the event.

Read more about the fair’s history on the Country Fair’s website.

To enter one of the fair’s many competitions, participants must mail an entry form by Saturday, Oct. 1.

Entries themselves will be accepted on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 9 from 6 to 8 a.m.

The fair will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 9.

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