What would summer be without cotton candy, bumper cars, and, um, a human braying contest? Welcome to upstate New York, where the county fair is king. 

From petting zoos to pirate contests, demo derbies to deep-friend Oreos, the county fair is a uniquely American experience. “It’s one of the last bastions of true rural America,” says Chris Quereau, a local film maker whose documentary County Fair showcases a ‘life in the day’ of the xxx-year-old Delaware County Fair, one of the largest in New York state. “To experience a county fair is to become immersed in another world; it’s an opportunity to see and appreciate the workings of our rural communities in a whole different way.”

The upstate area offers three main fairs at this time of year: the Schoharie County Fair, in Cobleskill; the Otsego County Fair, in Morris; and the Delaware County Fair, in Walton. In addition to carnival rides, food stands, live entertainment and agricultural shows, each fair includes annual favorites such as tractor pulls, a firefighter parade, rodeo shows, and crowd-pleasing events like the hay bale toss, ugliest cake contest, and “American Idol”-style singing contest.

Here are our top picks per day from the upcoming fairs. So pack your cowboy boots and straw hat – or sunblock and sandals -- and head on out, y’all!


Highlights of the Schoharie County Fair, Cobleskill, July 26 – August 2



Saturday, July 26

8:30 a.m.  Pony Show (Welsh, POA and Open)

5:00 p.m.  Jr. Dept. Horse Demonstrations

Sunday, July 27

11:00 a.m. Human Braying Contest

4:00 p.m.  All Animal Costume Class

5:00 p.m.  Most Beautiful Decorated Cake Winner Announced

Monday, July 28

11:00 a.m.  Harness Racing

7:00 p.m.  Square Dancing on Horseback

7:00 pm Demolition Derby

Tuesday, July 29

12:00 p.m.  Jr. Dept. Dairy Quiz

1:00 p.m. Draft Horse Show Hitch Classes

7:00 pm Painted Pony Ranch All American Rodeo

Wednesday, July 30

2:00 p.m.  Iron Spinner Contest

5:00 p.m.  Ugliest Cake Contest Winner Announced

7:00 pm Demolition Derby

Thursday, July 31

10:30 a.m.  Baby Contest, 6-8 mos., 9-12 mos.

7:00 p.m.  Kiddie Tractor Pull

7:00 pm POGO, BMX & Motorcycle Extreme Stunt Show

Friday, August 1

8:30 a.m.  Western Horse Show

10:30 a.m.  Baby Contest, 1-2 yrs, 2-3 yrs

7:00 pm Monster Truck Show

Saturday, August 2

12:00 p.m.  Jr. Dept. Dog Show

1:30 p.m.  Hay Bale Toss

7:00 pm Roll Over Derby & Championship Demo Derby


Highlights of the Otsego County Fair, Morris, July 29 - August 3


Tuesday, July 29 -- DOLLAR DAY, Admission only $1.00

10 am 4-H Goat Show

Noon NYS Sire Stakes Harness Racing

7:30 pm Fire Service & School Band Parade

Wednesday, July 30

9 am 4-H Gymkhana Horse Show

7:30 pm Cow Chip Bingo

7:30 pm K-F Rough Stock Rodeo

Thursday, July 31

9 am 4-H Western Horse Show

9:30 am 4-H & Open Dairy Show

7:30 pm Total Destruction Demolition Derby

Friday August 1, Children’s Day – 100 Bike Giveaway

9 am 4-H English Horse Show

3 pm 100 Bike Giveaway

7:30 pm Hot Farm Smokers

Saturday, August 2, Agriculture Day

8:30 am 3rd Annual 5K Benefit Run

5 pm Kiddie Pedal Power Tractor Pull

7 pm Gas and Diesel Truck Pull

Sunday, August 3

1 pm Dessert Contest in Floral Hall

1 pm Total Destruction Demolition Derby

6 pm Total Destruction Demolition Derby

Highlights of the Delaware County Fair, Walton, August 11 - 16


Monday 11 August

8:30 am Garden Tractor Pull

6:00 pm 4-H Gymkhana Horse Show

7:00 pm Demolition Derby

Tuesday 12 August

11:00 am One Hour of Free Midway Rides

6:00 pm Del. Cty. - Junior Idol Contest (up to age 16)

6:30 pm 4-H Parade/Firefighters Parade

Wednesday 13 August, Children’s Day

11 am Children’s Games & Contests, Baby Show

2:00 pm Drawing for Merchant Bicycles Giveaway

7:00 pm NYTPA (Modified Tractor and Truck Pull)


Thursday 14 August, Senior Citizens’ Day

6:00 pm Del. Cty. - Senior Idol Contest (17 & older)

6:00 pm 4-H Dog Obedience Show and 4-H Animal Dress-Up Contest

7:00 pm Street Legal 4x4 Pickups, Super Farm Tractors & Invitation Big Rig Truck Pulls

Friday 15 August

1:30 pm East Coast Extreme Quad Stunt Show

7:00 pm Goat Olympics

7:00 pm Demolition Derby



Saturday 16 August

8:30 am 5K Run/Walk - 10k Run

12:00 pm County Fair Ultimate Idol

7:00 pm Concert: Easton Corbin with special guest Danielle Bradbery

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