King Puck, a wild mountain goat, will be crowned on August 10 and the festival will run through until Friday, August 12.
A bumper crowd gathered in the town as Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan officially launched the 2011 fair.
He said: “Puck Fair is rightly acknowledged as Ireland’s oldest festival and it has gained a reputation for being one of Ireland’s enjoyable summer events. This year, as ever, all the elements for a fantastic festival are in place.
“Events such as this are not only important for strengthening the bonds of local community but [also] for their contribution to the tourism industry nationally.”
This year will be a vital cog in the run up to the 2013 Puck Fair which will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the granting of the charter for the Fair by James 1.
Channelling the spirit of a recent visitor to Irish shores, the chairman of the Puck Fair committee, Declan Mangan said: “To run this festival costs lots of money and a lot of effort, but each year the Killorglin volunteers come together and say, ‘can we do it? Of course we can.’ Is féidir linn.”
The three-day festival includes street performers, a one-woman interactive comedy show, fire spectacles, the Custard Pie Puppet Theatre and brass bands.
All the traditional elements of the fair will also be on show from the coronation parade and crowning King Puck through to fireworks at midnight on the final night of the festival.
Traders from across Ireland will descend on Killorglin to bargain and sell at Ireland’s oldest horse fair.