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Great Allentown Fair observing landmark 160th year

The 2012 Great Allentown Fair, Aug. 28 - Sept. 3, celebrates its 160th year.

So, where were you in 1852?

That's when the Allentown Fair began.

There've been many changes at the Fair over the years, er, decades, or, rather, centuries.

The Allentown Fair carries on at its 46-acre Fairgrounds location, 17th and Liberty and Chew streets, Allentown.

The first day, Aug. 28, offers "Preview Night," with free admission.

In addition to the ticketed Fairgrounds Grandstand shows, there are free shows during the Fair's seven-day run, including "Elephant Encounter," "Robinson's Pig Paddling Porkers," "Wild About Monkeys," "Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show" and "The Civil War Road Show," marking the 150th anniversary of the Union soldier Fairgrounds encampment.

At the east end, there's a full schedule of concerts at the Music and Variety Show Tent. There are also bands performing at the MainGate nightclub.

On the west side, at Farmerama Theatre, there's WZZO's annual "Backyard Battle of the Bands" and the "Lehigh Valley Senior Spelling Bee."

In the Agri-Plex, there's the "Farm to Table" cooking series at the Culinary Demonstration Stage.

There are numerous culinary and other contests and displays in the Agri-Plex.

In Agri-Land, in addition to the livestock judging and other contests, there's "Lil' Farm Hands Activity Center," "4-H Barnyard Petting Zoo" and "Old-Time Plow Boys."

Ticketed rides are provided by Powers Great American Midways. There are many food and beverage concession stands throughout the Fair.

The Fair is run by the Lehigh County Agricultural Society, which year-round operates the property, including the Agri-Plex and Allentown Farmers' Market.

Soon, though, it's time for the Allentown Fair, that Lehigh Valley tradition that heralds the end of summer.

Fair stories page B3.