Hersheypark’s Carrousel Fair

The Carrousel Fair was an event at Hersheypark that can trace its roots to the 1978 season. The event was last held in 1999. It started out as a promotional pay-as-you-ride event advertised as “October Days.” It was an extension of the summer season and the park operated during AACA’s Eastern Region Fall Swap Meet at Hersheypark.

Pennsylvania Dutch Days and the sooperdooperFair

From 1949 to 1979, there was an annual event at Hersheypark called Pennsylvania Dutch Days. By 1979, attendance for the event declined as people lost interest in it. The Pennsylvania Dutch Days organization ended the event in the fall of 1979.

In 1980, Hersheypark established the sooperdooperFair, to replace the now defunct Dutch Days. This was called sooperdooperFair ’80. This event was not a success, and park management believed the Fair was competing against the park rather than complementing it. The park pulled the plug on the sooperdooperFair concept after 1980.

This led to the creation of the Carrousel Fair, converting the October pay-as-you-go operation into a themed event. The first year the Carrousel Fair name was used was in 1981.

Published in the Lancaster New Era, October 1, 1981, page 45.

Carrousel Fair

The Carrousel Fair occurred every year between 1981 and 1989. Promotions for the event don’t exist in 1990 or 1991. However, advertisements for season passes for the 1990 season indicate that season passes were not valid for the Carrousel Fair – that would imply that they were at least planning to have the Carrousel Fair in 1990.

Hometown Days

In 1992, the Carrousel Fair was replaced by a new event called Hometown Days. This event was on the same dates as the Carrousel Fair would have been. The Hometown Days event only occurred in 1992.

Carrousel Fair revival

The Carrousel Fair appears to have been revived in 1995 as Carrousel Fair Days. The event continued each early October through the 1999 season.

Creatures of the Night becomes Hersheypark In The Dark

Meanwhile, Hersheypark had a late October event called Creatures of the Night, which started as a ZooAmerica event in 1979. This event grew into the Minetown theme region of Hersheypark in the early 1990s. In 1998, Hersheypark reorganized the park event into Hersheypark In The Dark (Creatures of the Night continues to be a ZooAmerica event as of 2019).

Though Hersheypark In The Dark and the Carrousel Fair occurred for two seasons together, the growth and expansion of Hersheypark In The Dark rendered the Carrousel Fair unnecessary. Eliminating the event after 1999 allowed the park to have more time to prepare for Hersheypark In The Dark.

It’s been over 20 years since the last Carrousel Fair occurred. It is unlikely that the event will be revived.

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