County fair to feature new as well as familiar

O ne of the summer’s most eagerly anticipated events is fast approaching.

The Washington County Fair returns to the fairgrounds in Greenwich, Aug. 20 through the 26th.

“The fair stands on tradition and community,” said Ida Williams, who works at the fair offices.

The event, which has been held every summer for the last 122 years, is the third-largest county fair in the state and will feature a bevy of agricultural exhibits, hundreds of displays, local entertainers, a rodeo, amusement rides and games, vendors and food.

Williams said many of the attractions that made the event popular will return and organizers have worked hard to add new attractions.

“We’re always trying to add new things,” she said.

One of those newest attractions is the Masters of the Chainsaw carving performances. Three times a day, Brian Ruth, a professional chainsaw artist, will transform a four-foot log into a piece of art. At the end of the week, the carvings will be sold during an auction with proceeds benefiting the fair.

Other new attractions include the Blue Hen Bakers, who will demonstrate 18th century baking, and the NASCAR Experience, which will allow fairgoers to climb inside a simulator and see how it feels to speed around an asphalt track at 180 mph.

The fair officially opens at 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 20, and the demolition derby, a fan favorite, begins an hour later.

Williams said the motor sports tend to be very popular and there are truck or tractor pulls every night except Tuesday, when the arena is set aside for the rodeo.

There are concerts every night of the fair, and magic shows, aerial acrobatics and pig races, offered throughout the week. And of course, most families will at some point make it to the midway where children can enjoy carnival games and amusement rides.

There will be nearly 40 rides this year with plenty of options for thrill seekers as well as younger children.

But the fair was founded on agriculture and that remains the focus today.

Fairgoers will have the chance to see and learn about all sorts of animals. They can see cows milked, juried animal shows, and gymkhanas.

 

‘Friendly’ fair

“The fair is so friendly. If you have a question, just ask. The farmers love to talk about what they do. They work all year and for many, this is their vacation,” Williams said.

One thing that is new, but people may not notice is an effort called Fair Camp. Williams said Renae St. Jacques is leading a program that will expose a group of 8- to 12-year-old children to the fair, and by extension, to agriculture for the first time.

“You and I can’t imagine it, but there are children who have never seen a cow, never seen an ear of corn before,” Williams said. “This is another opportunity for us to let people know about the fair.”

The cost to enjoy this year’s fair remains unchanged. Admission costs $10 for adults and is free for children 14 and under. A week-long pass will cost $30. Parking is free and there is handicapped parking near the gates and courtesy rides will be offered to those who need them.

Special promotions include Carnival Day on Tuesday, Aug. 21, when kids (or adults) have full access to all the rides for $20; Senior Citizen Day on Wednesday, Aug. 22, where admission for adults ages 62 and older costs only $5; Children’s Day on Thursday, Aug. 23, which features free admission for anyone 18 and under and a bike give-a-way; and Family Fun Day on Sunday, Aug. 26, where children will have the opportunity to enjoy unlimited rides for $20.

Ride tickets are also available at a 60 percent discount if purchased before the fair. A sheet of 20 tickets (typically it requires three to five tickets per ride) will cost $8.

To purchase tickets, or for more information on this year’s event, call the fair office at 692-2464, or visit www.washingtoncountyfair.com.

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