July 7, 2008
Cortland County Junior Fair starts Tuesday
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Megan Wildman, 15, of Solon, prepares her animal in the dairy barn for the Holstein Show this morning at the annual Cortland County Junior Fair. The fair runs through Saturday.
CORTLANDVILLE — New elements of the Cortland County Junior Fair this year include a historical exhibit in honor of the county’s bicentennial, an agriculture promotion tent and representatives from the New York State Trappers Association.
This is the 55th year of the Junior Fair, which takes place at the Cortland County Fairgrounds on Carroll Street Extension. It runs from Tuesday to Saturday, and includes animal showing contests, midway rides, barnyard Olympics, art displays and baked goods contests.
More than 100 local young people are helping put on the event, many of them from at least a half dozen local 4-H clubs. Truxton resident Stephanie Hartnett, 17, will be working in the food booth and showing off four goats and one horse.
“I just enjoy showing off my animals,” Hartnett said. “It makes you feel good if you do a good job because of all the work you put into it.”
Martha Bush, treasurer of the fair board, said she anticipates between 5,000 and 8,000 people will attend the fair during the week. People can visit cortlandfair.org to get a schedule of the week’s events.
“I just wish that people would get out and come,” Bush said. “It’s a great place to bring your family. There’s no alcohol, we have the Sheriff’s Department there and we don’t have any trouble.”
In honor of Cortland County’s 200th birthday, there will be historical displays containing old fair books, newspaper articles about the fair and pictures of the fair.
The objects will likely date back to the beginning of the junior fair, Bush said, not to early years when Cortland County had a regular fair.
The county’s first fair took place in 1838, according to H.P. Smith’s “History of Cortland County.”
Jo Ellen Roehrig, 4-H Youth Development program educator for Cortland County Cornell Cooperative Extension, said the fair used to be a huge event and it even was the location for the state fair one year.
But according to Bush, it had financial troubles, and had to be scaled down to just a children’s fair. Property where P&C and the Armory are now located was sold off, reducing the size of the fairgrounds.
Another new element of this year’s fair is an agriculture promotion tent, where each day Wednesday through Saturday a different area of the state’s agriculture industry will be featured.
On Wednesday people can learn about beekeeping and honey, on Thursday biofuels, on Friday alpacas and on Saturday maple syrup. The state gave the fair a stipend to pay for the tent and tables inside, Bush said.
Also new this year is a display Saturday by the New York State Trapper’s Association. The display will include living birds of prey, including hawks. Additional new features include displays relating to healthy living as a part of the state’s effort to address childhood obesity and a coupon special for rides on Children’s Day Wednesday.
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