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August 5, 2013

Demolition derbies end Fair with bang

MORRIS — Engines roared, cows bellowed, auctioneers called and midway rides whooshed around Sunday during the last day of the Otsego County Fair.

“It’s a lot of people. There are a lot of things to do,” said Kari Lesko, 17, of Endwell. “I like it. It was fun.”

Hundreds of visitors of all ages crowded walkways between vendors, rides and exhibits near the grand stand and midway, while fewer fair-goers checked out animals in barns on the other side of the grounds. Attendance sparked by two demolition derbies Sunday required fair organizers to add extra parking spaces in a ring after some horse showing concluded.

“It’s a zoo out there,” Judy Harris, fair manager, said with a smile. “Demolition derbies always are a consistent success.”

This year’s fair attendance will be about equal to last year’s of about 37,000 people, according to Harris, manager for about 15 years following experience running fair horse shows and being an exhibitor.

Rain on Friday meant a tractor pull had to be canceled, she said. During other rain episodes, fair-goers took shelter inside exhibit halls, which was a good thing, she said, and there was some rain Sunday.

“Demolition derby guys like to play in the mud,” Harris said.

On Sunday afternoon, intense sunshine was cooled by a brisk wind that also carried the odor of gasoline and the aroma of friend dough and other foods. 

Vendors sold jewelry, T-shirts, leather vests and other apparel, and the food marketplace offered hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, candied apples, freshly squeezed lemonade and more.

The Otsego County Fair opened Tuesday.

The midway comes “as a package,” Harris said, and fair organizers weren’t aware that a midway dart game displayed photographs of President Obama as targets until at least eight callers complained or inquired about them. The Huffington Post and other media reported on the photographs, which were taken down Friday.

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