The Reading Fair

The Reading Fair had it’s first fair in 1854 at Penn’s Commons, in what is now City Park. It wasn’t until 1915 that the Fair was held at it’s most remembered location in Muhlenberg Township. They built a Horse Race Track and grandstands which were opened to the public in 1916.

The fair was hugely successful, and remained successful due to its availability of transportation being near both Reading and the Pennsylvania Railroad lines. People came in from all corners of the state to watch races and a variety of other amusements.

Eventually with the changing times, the racing transitioned from horse into motor vehicle racing. It became so popular that the Fairgrounds eventually held an entire season of racing, starting in March and only closing in late fall.  

In 1978, the last fair was held on the Muhlenberg site. The grounds were sold to developers that ended up constructing the Fairgrounds Square Mall. The last full season of racing was also held at the fairgrounds in 1978, though 1979 held a few racing events due to delay in the construction of the mall.

The Fairgrounds Square Mall was completed in 1980, and still held a smaller version of the fair on it’s grounds until 1994. Since 1999, the Fair has been moved to Bern Township, on Hilltop Road. This year’s fair takes place August 6th through 12th.

The Reading Fair
The Reading Fair
The Reading Fair
The Reading Fair
The Reading Fair
The Reading Fair
The Reading Fair

Born and raised in Berks, I am fascinated by the style, design & culture of the mid-late 20th century. I started this website to research and build a collection of the places, things and stories I have heard about my entire life. Read more here.

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Lori Weeks
Lori Weeks
4 years ago

Fair week at the races was the best. Sooo miss the fairgrounds and races. Why oh why was it torn away for another mall. 🙁

Michael Kreiser
Michael Kreiser
4 years ago

aah yes those were the days,we used to get a day off of school to go to the fair

Tom Yoder
Tom Yoder
4 years ago

That’s right…!!! Some districts had “Reading Fair Day” – No School

Micki Gilbert Merritt
Micki Gilbert Merritt
4 years ago

Loved visiting the Reading Fairgrounds as a child. Moved to NJ in 1958 but one of fondest memories I’d the ReadingFair.

Kevin Guido
4 years ago

PJ’s will be bringing something new to the reading fair this year deep fried cheese steaks see y’all there

trackback

[…] 61/Kutztown Road looked like just north of the city. A few of the notable  structures are the Reading Fairgrounds, Bellevue Diner, and Gethsemane Cemetery. The Warren Street Bypass was also noticeably not extended […]

John Miller
John Miller
3 years ago

I have a question I remember going to a concert in ’70 or ’71 it was a 3 day festival Ike and Tina Turner, Dr. John and his Medicine Show among others do you have any information about this

trackback

[…] The Fairgrounds Square Mall was built on the site of the old Reading Fairgrounds […]

Allan Petrie
Allan Petrie
1 year ago

John, I believe it was called Concert 10,, i googled it recently

Allan Petrie
Allan Petrie
1 year ago

My mother had a Candy Stand at the Fairgrounds Market 1965-69, Fay.

BERKS NOSTALGIA