Boutiques set up in cottages will offer a selection of goods: men's and women's sportswear, leather chaps and saddles, custom-made boots, blankets, alpaca coats, gold, silver and turquoise jewelry, paintings, antiques, toys and games, needlework, pottery and home decor, as well as souvenirs and collectibles.

Food choices range from standard fair fare — hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and soft drinks — to the Garden Cafe, which will offer a selection of gourmet foods, including fine wines, every afternoon and evening.

The amount of food served annually gives new meaning to the old adage about someone eating "like a horse."

Last year, about 1,400 pounds of Devon fudge was sold, along with more than 12,000 hamburgers, 9,000 hot dogs and 37,056 scoops of ice cream. Pulling off the horse show and fair wouldn't be possible without a slew of volunteers, organizers say.

"Thousands of volunteers work year-round," said Killian, who adds that more than 2,500 work at the fair alone. "The volunteers are what make this great."

Among the dedicated volunteers is Debbie Martin, one of this year's country fair co-chairpersons. She has given her time to Devon for 36 years — after being asked by a friend back in 1976 to help grill hot dogs. Both of Martin's parents began volunteering shortly thereafter. Today, her husband, son and daughter all volunteer.

It's that spirit and sense of community that have made the Devon horse show and fair such a special experience all these years.

"Thanks to so many good people," says King, "I'm convinced the show will be here forever."



If you go



The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair



The events run from May 24 through June 3. General admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under and seniors 65 and over. Reserved grandstand tickets range from $12 to $55, depending on the performance. For tickets and other information, call 610-688-2554 or go to devonhorseshow.org.

Devon, Pa., is about 102 miles from Baltimore, a little more than two hours by car. The town is also served by Amtrak, and the grounds for the horse show are directly across the street from the train station. For ticket information, go to amtrak.com

The Main Line is less than 20 minutes from Philadelphia, which is easily accessed by taking the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority's Paoli/Thorndale Line from Devon.



Lodging



Desmond Hotel and Conference Center, One Liberty Blvd., Malvern, Pa., 610-296-9800, desmondgv.com. The sprawling hotel has 194 guest rooms, many with four-poster canopy beds. Besides a fitness center, amenities include three restaurants, including the equestrian-themed Hunt Room and Fox and Hounds, an English pub.