Fairs kick off in Chenango, Schoharie counties

Sarah Eames | The Daily Star Anthony Trotta and Christopher Holden, 9, of Coleman Brothers Shows, assemble the Monkey Maze at the Chenango County Fairgrounds in Norwich on Monday.

Gates open Tuesday for both the Chenango and Schoharie county fairs.

The 172nd annual Chenango County Fair will be held at the fairgrounds on East Main Street in Norwich, and the Schoharie County Sunshine Fair will open for its 143rd year at the fairgrounds in Cobleskill.

The Chenango fair is sponsored by the Chenango County Agricultural Society, which was formed as a nonprofit in 1847, according to Mary Weidman, organization president.

Chobani will sponsor free admission Tuesday; kids 12 and under will be admitted free Wednesday and Saturday, and seniors will be admitted free Thursday until 5 p.m.

Festivities will kick off Tuesday at noon with harness racing sponsored by the New York State Horse Breeders Association.

“Harness racing is a historical part of county fairs,” Weidman said. “It’s how they started.”

The firemen’s and 4-H parade, sponsored by NBT Bank, will start at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“We have a large 4-H contingent around here,” Weidman said. “Goats, sheep and pigs are really popular to showcase.”

The fair will also feature livestock exhibitions by the national FFA chapter, formerly known as Future Farmers of America.

Headlining events at the grandstand include a tractor pull by the Empire State Pullers at 7 p.m Thursday, a Friday concert by Christian rock group The Sidewalk Prophets at 7 p.m., the Broken B Rodeo at 7 p.m. Saturday and demolition derbies at 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday.

The fair’s newest venture is Chenango County Agriculture and Outdoors, a program sponsored by High Bridge Wind Farm, according to Weidman.

“It gives a chance to showcase all the smaller vendors who couldn’t be here every day of the fair,” she said.

Each day will feature a different aspect of the county’s agricultural and natural resources, Weidman said, including maple and honey, forestry, hunting and fishing.

Dozens of local and industry vendors, including Kutik’s Honey in Oxford, Cook’s Maple in Sherburne, Norwich Meadows Farms and Three Tree Mushroom Farm in Greene, will offer demonstrations, activities and product samples.

For more information, visit chenangocountyfair.homestead.com.

According to organizers, the Schoharie fair will feature new exhibits and old-time favorites, including the World of Wonders, a big top circus tent show combining elements of a nostalgic slideshow and wild west revue, featuring acts like sword swallowers, fire eaters, knife throwers, magicians, human blockheads, escape artists and contortionists; and Royal Hanneford Circus, a family tradition dating back to the 17th century featuring aerial, ground and animal acts.

Daily exhibitions include a model railroad exhibit, antique tractor display, Heather Brooke Hill Clydesdales, Brian Ruth, master of chainsaw sculpture; heritage village and the Sunshine Fair’s “Greatest Show on Earth” miniature circus.

Prizes will be awarded at several contests throughout the week for categories including ugliest cake, decorated hat, decorated basket, beautiful child, pie, karaoke, a kiddie-style tractor pull and a hay bale toss.

This year’s motorized grandstand events will include a truck pull hosted by Shootout Productions at 3 p.m. Saturday, and two shows from Sky Fire Productions: the Divorce Course at  7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Run What Ya Brung at noon Saturday.

The Divorce Course is a timed, elimination-style obstacle course for derby-ready vehicles, and Run What Ya Brung is a drag race open to any class of vehicle, including motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, mud racers, golf carts, snowmobiles and even school buses, according to organizers.

To enter, contact 413-522-3185.

Other highlights include the New York Sire Stakes harness race Tuesday at noon in the grandstands, an all-animals costume parade 2 p.m. Saturday in the show barn and barrel racing from the National Barrel Horse Association on Sunday at noon.

Seniors 62 and older will be admitted free Wednesday until 4 p.m., and all veterans and active-duty military will be admitted free with identification Saturday.

Pay-one-price admission will be available for $15 Tuesday through Thursday and $17 Friday through Sunday. Fare will include parking and admission to all grandstand shows and fairground attractions from 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday and noon to 10 p.m. the rest of the week.

For more information, visit sunshinefair.org.

Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at seames@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.