WESTPORT — The 164th Essex County Fair promises to provide a wide range of entertainment, with such daily acts as Jeff Boyer, the Mad Scientist, the Wild Animal Experience Petting Zoo and Hot Dog Pig Races.
The fair kicks off today and runs through Sunday.
Bertha Rand, fair secretary and manager of the Floral Hall, was enthused as she prepared a display case for the new fair store.
“We will be selling T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, water bottles and postcards, all with Essex County Fair designs and pictures,” she said.
The store will also have exhibitors’ work available for purchase.
A popular attraction last year was the Haulin’ Junk Rollover Show.” Competitors use a special ramp to launch their vehicles into rollovers, aiming for as many full circuits as possible.
“The one with the most points wins,” Rand said. “We’re the absolute only fair in northern New York or Vermont that does this. I am glad we can do it again.”
Haulin’ Junk sponsors that event.
As well, she said, “there are some new food vendors that will serve food wraps and fried bananas. We will also have an Adirondack quilt raffle, and WOKO (radio) will be broadcasting from the fairgrounds.
“Things have been going well,” she added, “but we’re still looking for more contestants for our Fair Idol Contest.”
ADMISSION INCLUDES RIDES
Fair President Bradley French was all over the fairgrounds earlier this week, checking the progress of the new cow barn, looking over the horse-show ring and assisting in the placement of the rides.
“The new carnival seems to have some nice rides,” he said as he watched them roll into place. “It takes a lot of work, and we have a lot of volunteer labor, which we appreciate.
“We are dedicating this year’s fair to the Westport emergency and fire squads.”
The carnival and rides this year are supplied by Amyland Amusement from Rutland, Vt.
“This fair is a good deal for $10 (admission), because it includes all of the rides,” French said. “When I was a kid, we came to the fair every year and had to decide what rides we could afford.
“But now it is all included.”
French said there will be quite a few horses this year, and he was particularly pleased with the new cow barn, which will just about be full.
“This fair (preparation) has gone pretty well so far, and I’m settling in. This is my eighth year.
“When I first walked into it (as fair president), I was scared to death.”
Former fair president Ernie LaPine was a big help to French when he took over the post.
“There have been a lot of improvements the past few years,” French continued, “such as the Sugar House, a new bacon burger, the Egglefield Ford building and the cow barn.”
As well, the Floral Hall, where farm exhibits call home, saw major renovation.
Weather makes a difference when it comes to the fair, French said.
“I hope it’s not too hot and humid,” he said. “They will come to the fair in the rain, but not when it’s hot and humid.
Also busy with fair preparation was Pavol Stajanca, 25, of Slovakia, who was hosing down the Jim’s Ice Cream stand.
Stajanca is in the United States for a six-week working vacation that, by traveling with the concession, lets him see the country. He said it was somewhat more difficult to get a working visa for a traveling job than if he were to work only in one location.
“We started in Tampa and I have gone through 13 states so far,” he said. “I think that it is pretty good, as it doesn’t cost me to travel.
“There are so many things to see. Yesterday, we went to Lake Placid and then up Whiteface. It was a beautiful view.”
And there will be plenty to eat, including free samples of local food served up by Adirondack Harvest on the front porch of the main building. Local farm products to be offered include sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, honey-buttered bread, maple-barbecue glazed meatballs, milk and cheese.
Daily shows and events include the Baby Animal Barn, Merriloons, the Clown, 4-H demonstrations/presentations, JD Winslow Equestrian Entertainment (two shows daily), Serendipity Spinners demonstrations in the Floral Hall, Sawdog, the Chainsaw Carver and Cornell Cooperative Extension programs including toddler games.
Here is today’s schedule:
Haulin’ Junk Day; Firefighters and EMS Day; Senior Citizen’s Day (those older than 60 receive a $2 off food coupon with $10 regular admission.
9 a.m.: Essex County Fair Draft Horse and All Breed Driving Show.
Noon: Midway opens; 4-H Dairy Cattle Show, followed by the Beef Cattle Show; harness racing, with Upstate New Yorkers performing between races.
3:30 p.m. Sheep and Goat Show.
5 p.m. 4-H Horse Show (trail and dressage classes).
5:30 p.m. Bicycle giveaway in the new cattle show ring.
5:45 p.m. Opening Ceremonies in that ring.
6 p.m. Cow Milking Contest, also in the cattle ring, with Westport Town Supervisor Dan Connell defending his title on top of the milk stool. Other town supervisors are invited to participate.
6 p.m. Dog Agility Demo in the Conservation Area.
6 p.m. Haulin’ Junk Roll-Over Contest. ($3 grandstand charge).
7 p.m. 4-H Dog Show (during dog agility demo break).
To see the entire schedule (note the garden-tractor pull starts at 10 a.m. on Sunday, not at noon) and to register for events, call 962-8650 or go to essexcountyfair.org.
Email Alvin Reiner at: email@example.com.