Bring on the funnel cakes and the cows, the biggest event of the year is only days away.
The Washington County Fair kicks off on Monday and continues through Aug. 25.
Held in Greenwich, the event has been held every summer for the last 123 years and is the third-largest county fair in the state.
The event features a bevy of agricultural exhibits, hundreds of displays, local entertainers, two rodeos, amusement rides and games, vendors and food.
“People look at the fair from different perspectives. Exhibitors with cattle may approach it differently than a family with young kids. Everyone has different expectations,” said Mark St. Jacques, general manager of the event.
But at its core, regardless of whether you’re a fifth-generation farmer or a recent transplant from Westchester County, the fair continues to be about agricultural.
Billed as an agricultural tradition for over a century, the event pays homage to the county’s agricultural past and present.
“So many people used to say ‘grandpa was a farmer,’ but we’re getting away from that. There’s not as many people farming and they don’t have that history,” St. Jacques said. “But here you can see the cows and see what it’s like to raise animals and what it takes. You can see the pride people have in raising these animals.”
Throughout the week, fairgoers will have the chance to see and learn about all sorts of livestock. More than a thousand different animals will call the fairgrounds home. There are nearly 600 cows, 200 sheep, 70 rabbits, 200 chickens, and 100 horses, not to mention pigs, ducks, peacocks, and even a few reindeer.
Many farmers will answer questions about their livestock and attendees can walk through the cow barns, meet horses, watch juried animal shows, gymkhanas, and even see cows being milked. They may even get the chance to milk a cow themselves.
Other agriculturally-inspired activities include a giant pumpkin contest, the Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association, farmer Olympics, a rooster-calling contest, and a number of 4-H presentations.
Chrys Nestle, 4-H educator for Washington County, said more than 300 4-H members participate in the fair each year.
Besides showing animals, they also display their artwork and volunteer in the organization’s food booth.
“The fair is an opportunity for youth to showcase what they’re doing,” Nestle said.
Although the fair was founded on agricultural, there is plenty of entertainment that has nothing to do with farming.
There are concerts every night, magic shows, aerial acrobatics, and pig races. There is also a full slate of motor sport events, ranging from garden tractor pulls to a demolition derby.
“All the entertainment is family friendly,” St. Jacques said.
And of course, most families will at some point make it to the midway where children or the young at heart, can enjoy games and amusement rides.
“We have rides for teens and have added even more kiddie rides,” St. Jacques said. There will be nearly 40 rides in all.
The cost to enjoy this year’s fair remains unchanged. Admission costs $10 for adults and is free for children 13 and younger. 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. 20, when kids (or adults) have full access to all the rides from noon to 11 p.m. for $20; Senior Citizen Day on Wednesday, Aug. 21, where admission for adults ages 62 and older costs only $5; Children’s Day on Thursday, Aug. 22, when all children, high school age and younger, can get into the fair for free and rides require one less ticket; and Family Fun Day on Sunday, Aug. 25, when children will have the opportunity to enjoy unlimited rides from noon until 9 p.m. 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 before Aug. 18. During the fair, a sheet of 20 tickets will cost $20.
The fair opens at 5 p.m. on Monday. Hours are noon to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information, including a full schedule of activities, check out the Washington County Fair guide inserted in this week’s edition.