Beginning in 1921, two nights of auto racing were held on the harness track in front of the grandstands. Scores of people would come out for heat races and all the excitement leading up to the feature race. The Harrington Fire Company sponsored the auto races for decades, and for a while, the races were even sanctioned as point-earning events by NASCAR, increasing the number of drivers and cars entering.
By the 1950s, the fair had grown even larger. In 1950, an onsite water tower was constructed to meet the growing demands of vendors and patrons. A new grandstand was constructed in 1955 to allow for larger crowds to witness such acts as the world-famous Rockettes, the Lone Ranger, and Johnny Cash.
The midway of rides and games grew dramatically as well. The James E. Strates shows provided carnival rides and games of chance. When the midway first opened in 1920, there were only three rides, but by the 1950s, the midway was home to more than 30 amusement
rides, from small rides for the kids to larger and more exciting rides for adults.
By the mid-1950s, the fair was booming. Each year’s crowds set new records for attendance. Larger and more permanent structures replaced older ones. Some had been constructed by German prisoners of war, as the fairgrounds had housed prisoners in 1945 and 1946. During these years, no fair events occurred due to security reasons.
Today the fairgrounds have grown to over 300 acres and attendance figures routinely exceed 250,000 people a year.