Ah! Summer! A time to enjoy being outdoors. Festivals take advantage of the season to entice visitors with unique experiences and local food.

State fairs are iconic events across the country. They’re a great stop on a road trip, especially if there are kids in the car. (It’s a good time to show the little ones that food doesn’t come from the grocery store.) Besides: there are always carnival rides and concerts with big-name headliners.

July 12 through 28, 2019, are the dates for the California State Fair, held in Sacramento, California. Commercial olive oil is one of the competitions. Others take in canning and baking, livestock, and agricultural mechanics. Concerts feature Mariachi Vargas, 38 Special, and Tony! Toni! Toné!

Ohio’s version takes place in Columbus, Ohio, July 24 through August 4, 2019. Concerts planned include Hank Williams Jr., REO Speedwagon, and KIDZ BOP. Focus is on the agricultural production of the Buckeye State, with competitions planned for livestock, horticulture, plus home-brewed beer, mead and cider (and more).

The Indiana State Fair, August 2 through 18, 2019, salutes Heroes in the Heartland, including Hoosier Farmers, First Responders, Educators, and members of the Armed Forces. Grandstand entertainment spotlights high school bands and cheerleaders, harness racing, and a demolition derby. Livestock judging covers everything from beef cattle to pigeons. One of the new taste treats on offer this year? Bacon poutine.

New foods also will be available at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair August 22 through September 2, 2019.  Look for Blueberry Key Lime Pie, Carnitas Taco Cone, and a No Baloney Coney. Grandstand headliners include Hootie & The Blowfish, Logic, and “Weird Al” Yankovic. Agriculture competitions showcase “Bee & Honey” farm crops and flowers as well as livestock.

The State Fair of Texas – said to be the largest state fair in America – takes place September 27 through October 20, 2019, in Dallas, Texas. Mainstage performers include Billy Ray Cyrus, Daughtry, and Tye Tribbett. Animals and plants? Of course. Don’t miss the Livestock Birthing Barn or the State Fair Wine Garden

There’s a sea lion show at the State Fair of Louisiana, October 24 through November 10, 2019, not to mention a four-acre zoo, rodeo finals, live music, a tamale cook-off, and carnival rides. The Louisiana State Fairgrounds are in Shreveport, Louisiana

For those who like their summer events a bit more sedate, consider butterflies.

A whole host of the beautifully winged insects are fluttering around through October 14, 2019, at Butterflies LIVE! in the Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden, Richmond, Virginia.

There’s a Festival of Butterflies July 27 through August 11, 2019, in Powell Gardens – Kansas City’s Botanical Garden in Kingsville, Missouri.

A Monarch Festival takes place September 14, 2019, both inside and outdoors at the Oak View Center, Oak Lawn, Illinois. Family-friendly activities will include live butterfly tagging, a bug zoo, caterpillar aquarium, butterfly arts and crafts for kids, and an interactive puppet theater.

Help to tag monarch butterflies passing through Kansas during the Butterfly Festival September 21, 2019, at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center in Great Bend. Participants can also learn how to make milkweed seed bombs – and have the chance to hurl them into the prairie using a giant slingshot.

In the mood for something quirky? What about zucchini races. Yes: the ubiquitous vegetables acquire wheels and other accoutrements to enhance their speed down the track in downtown Cole Camp, Missouri. The 13thannual matchups take place from 5 to 8 p.m. July 20, 2019.

Summer’s also a good time to stop by a Farmers Market. One that’s open year ‘round is the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles, California. An especially tasty time to stop there is between 5 and 9 p.m. July 23, 2019, for the 11thannual Taste of Farmers Market. In addition to food, there’ll be lots of live entertainment.

By Susan McKee. Looking for more summer travel ideas? Check out Road Trips for Foodies and Road Trips for Gardeners.

Index of Links to Listed Summer 2019 Fairs and Shows: