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.
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.
The Wayne Hotel, 139 Lancaster Ave., Wayne, Pa., 610-687-5000, waynehotel.com. Built in 1906 and renovated in 2011, this boutique hotel within walking distance of Devon. At its restaurant, Paramour, try the tuna sliders, and a caramel chocolate parfait with salted peanuts and marshmallow.
Ella's American Bistro, 214 Sugartown Road, Wayne, Pa. 610-964-3552, ellasamericanbistro.com. Classic American fare with French and Southern influences. Sample a gourmet burger with Muenster on a pretzel roll, or crab carbonara.
The Black Cat Cafe, 40 Berkeley Road, Devon, Pa. 610-688-1930, theblackcatcafe.org. Freshly made soups, salads, sandwiches, and vegetarian/vegan dishes. Baked goods include pecan pie, scones and cinnamon rolls. Meal proceeds benefit a nonprofit organization that rescues homeless cats.
Gardens The bucolic countryside near the Devon Horse Show is home to gardens and arts venues. Notables include Chanticleer Garden, the 35-acre former estate of the Rosengarten family (chanticleergarden.org), and Jenkins Arboretum and Garden (jenkinsarboretum.org), 46 acres showcasing native trees, shrubs, rhododendrons, azaleas, laurels, ferns and wildflowers.
Museums The Wharton Esherick Museum features 200 works by the sculptor ,who worked primarily in wood and was heralded as the "dean of American craftsmen." Open by appointment. Go to whartonesherickmusuem.org. Also nearby is Valley Forge National Historic Park.
Shopping King of Prussia Court and Plaza, 160 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia, Pa. 610-265-5727. King of Prussia gets bragging rights as the largest enclosed shopping mall on the East Coast. Another perk: no sales tax on clothing in Pennsylvania. Locally, Devon Hill Boutique, 20 Lancaster Ave. in Devon, 484-654-1245, shopbluehorse.com. The shop is inside a local BMW dealership and has jewelry, funky accessories, and fun gifts.
For more information on visiting the area, contact the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau at brandywinevalley.com, or the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. at visitphilly.com.