The big-name entertainers that come to the York Fair each year might get the most attention, but fair officials said they've realized it's the free stuff that draws crowds.

And that will be even more evident at First Friday Fun, a Sept. 9 event to kick off the fair with more than $15,000 in giveaways.

"We're trying to refocus the fair. We can't let the focus of the fair be big-name entertainers," said president Gene Schenck.

Those grandstand shows can be too pricey for some families, he said. To appeal to everyone, he wanted to reward those who visit with everything from free TVs to Kindle e-readers to a sightseeing airplane ride over York County.

The giveaways will be held throughout that Friday, awarded using games such as the birthday wheel, pig races and more.

Food and livestock are the top draws at the fair, Schenck said, so it makes sense to emphasize those areas with prizes.

"There's so much of that (free) stuff, and it's so high quality. We think we can build the fair around that," he said.

Even with $15,000 or more in prizes, Schenck said it can still be cheaper for the fair than the potential loss on paying a star to come in for a show that doesn't end up drawing a crowd.

The First Friday Fun coincides with a free admission for two coupon in the Community Courier newspaper.

- Reach Andrew Shaw at 505-5431 or