Greene County, Pa., slogans point to fun family events all summer

Kathleen Ganster

The Jacktown Fair features queens and princesses, just like many county fairs.

“You can’t die happy till you’ve been to the Jacktown Fair.”

“It is the only event that is a success if it rains.”

Different generations mark Green County’s agricultural heritage during the Jacktown Fair.
Different generations mark Green County’s agricultural heritage during the Jacktown Fair.

These are the fun slogans that highlight two of the most popular events in Greene County, Pa. — the Jacktown Fair and Rain Day.

But, even before the Jacktown Fair, July 14–18, and Rain Day, July 29, happen, there are other events in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Greene County that provide fun and entertainment for visitors.

Riverfest, June 12–13, promotes the towns along the Monongahela River and includes festivities such as fireworks, food, and entertainment.

“We will have a lot of boaters who ‘attend’ the festivities from their boats. They enjoy the music and fireworks from their boats, or dock to come on shore to eat and participate in activities,” said Elizabeth Menhart, who promotes the county.

The Summer Open house in Waynesburg helps to welcome summer and bring folks to the shopping district. The local shops and stores offer special sales and hours on June 19.

Flashlight drag racing

The Flashlight Drags nights have rapidly grown in popularity, according to Menhart, and are held at the Greene County Airport once a month from May through September. Each event features a car show, car cruise, vendors, food, and entertainment.

Cars and trucks drag race down the 1/8-mile airport runway. The race starts with a flashlight signal, harking back to the early days of rebel drag racing.

“It’s one of the few places that you can legally drag race. It has consistently grown as more and more people come not only to race, but as spectators. The crowd loves it,” Menhart said.

Longest running fair

The Jacktown Fair is purported to be the longest continuously running county fair in the country. This year marks the 150th anniversary of this event, which was first held in October 1866 as the Jacksonville Fair. Its rich history includes one of the first “night fairs,” where a fair was held at night with artificial lighting.

According to Shelly Brown, of Direct Results, the famous saying about the fair started in 1931 as “Visit Jacktown and die happy.”

The Jacktown Fair features queens and princesses, just like many county fairs.
The Jacktown Fair features queens and princesses, just like many county fairs.

The 131st Greene County Fair, Aug. 9–15, hosts a week of agricultural displays and contests, entertainment, carnival rides, and activities, and like any county fair, lots of good food.

The 141st Rain Day will be held on July 29. “It started when a local person noticed that every year when the festival was held, it would rain, so people started betting on it. It became known as ‘Rain Day,’ and people still bet,” said Menhart.

“Even the mayor makes an official bet each year,” she added.

Rain Day includes a Miss Rain Day pageant, entertainment throughout the day, special sales, and children’s activities.

The 62nd King Coal Show, Aug. 22–29 in Carmichaels, pays homage to the rich coal heritage of Greene County. With the theme “Coal Built America,” visitors can participate in a 5K or a golf outing, watch the Coal Queen Pageant, and watch teams compete in the Pennsylvania State Mine Rescue First Aid Contest.

The Covered Bridge Festival wraps up the summer season Sept. 19–20.

“This is a signature event that we do in conjunction with Washington County,” Menhart said.

There are 10 covered bridges on the self-guided tour and each bridge has its own set of activities and events.

“They are independent of each other so there is no duplication. You could easily do all 10 bridges during the weekend,” she said.

For more information:

Greene Co. Tourism: greenecountytourism.org

The Jacktown Fair offers a variety of entertainment, including this giant slide.
The Jacktown Fair offers a variety of entertainment, including this giant slide.

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