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July 27, 2013

Schoharie, Otsego ready to kick off county fairs

By Mark Boshnack Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Summer fun is coming to the area in the next week with the start of two county fairs. The Schoharie County Sunshine Fair runs Saturday through Aug. 3. The Otsego County Fair runs July 30 to Aug. 4.

A big attraction at the Schoharie fair in Cobleskill is the July 31 parade, which will feature television stars the Fabulous Beekman Boys as grand marshals. That event starts at 6:30 p.m.

Fair president Doug Cater previously said that more attractions have been brought in this year to keep the fair exciting. This includes an an outdoor circus act with lions and tigers, a large petting zoo with camel and pony rides, pig racing and a Frisbee dog show.

Agriculture remains an important part and there will be many related events, including cattle and horse shows, he said.

Otsego County Fair manager Judy Harris said the tents are going up and there is activity everywhere at the fairgrounds in Morris. Last year the attendance was about 37,000, and she was hopeful that if the the weather will cooperates that total could be met again. Prices are unchanged from last year, as the fair board does its job to keep things reasonable, she said.

The opening day parade — which starts at 7:30 p.m. and includes fire departments and school bands — is always a big draw, Harris said.

New this year the county Cooperative Extension will be a part of the event with “agriculture on parade,” 4-H resource educator Patti Zellmer said. Every district will be represented by their agricultural products. There are nearly 600 agriculture-related businesses in the county. Besides milk, this includes such items as honey, maple syrup, organic vegetables and cheese.

4-H members will be accompanying county representatives in the wagons. The 4-H livestock barns are full. The fair is the showcase for the group’s members, she said. It’s an opportunity to bring their livestock or projects and be evaluated.

Among those participating are the four children, ages 9 to 15, of Mary Kay Kennedy of Mount Vision. They got involved when two were awarded animals through a 4-H program last year. This year, two others wanted to be involved. Kennedy said she and her husband don’t have a traditional farm but provide space for the children to raise their 4-H animals, which include pigs, cows, sheep and chicken.

“It gives them a sense of responsibility and gives them a better understanding where their food comes from,” he said.

Other activities at 4-H Martin Hall include Tuesday to Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. robotics activities for children 5 to 12. There is a 4-H talent show at the building Saturday at 7 p.m. There is also a 4-H snack bar and store in the building, along with members projects.

The Tired Iron of Butternut Valley will have a 4-mile antique tractor ride Sunday beginning at 3 p.m. at the fairground. The event will benefit the American Cancer Society and residents are invited to come prior to the parade to sponsor a driver. The group will also raffle off a load of firewood also to benefit the cancer society.

Fair entry clerk Peg Dutcher said the barns open to those not in 4-H are full as well, with totals about the same as last year. Maintaining good participation from the agricultural community is important to the fair board, she said. There are more than 350 exhibitors who will not only be showing animals but such things as fruit and vegetables, antique machinery and wine.