Fair preparations underway; 100s volunteer to pull event off

B y Derek Liebig

Preparations are underway for the county’s largest event of the year.

A small army of volunteers and several paid staffers have been working earnestly in preparation for the Washington County Fair, which kicks off on Monday, Aug. 19.

“We’re trying frantically to get ready,” said Mark St. Jacques, fair general manager.

The annual event, which drew a record 120,000 people last year (nearly twice the population of the Washington County), is a bit of a logistical nightmare.

Next weekend, in a span of two or three days, more than a thousand animals will move into the fairgrounds’ many barns and pens, temporary tents and stages will be erected, a caravan of RV’s and pop-up trailers will arrive as exhibitors look to set up temporary living quarters, nearly 40 rides and a bevy of carnival games will take their place in the midway, and thousands of exhibitions—from quilts and model tractors to vegetables and fruit preserves—will begin to trickle in.

“A lot happens in a very short period of time,” said Harry Booth, a Easton resident and president of the Washington County Fair Board of Directors. “One day the fair grounds are barren and a few days later the place is abuzz with hundreds of people. It’s magic!”

Although much of the work will occur in the span of the next ten days, preparations for this year’s fair began years ago.

“The entertainment committee looks at the next three years of entertainment,” St. Jacques said. “We’ve already begun planning next year’s fair. It’s a continual process throughout the year.”

The fair operates with more than 20 different committees, each of which oversees and implements a different aspect of the event.

Some of those committees, such as safety and buildings and grounds, are constantly evaluating conditions and implementing improvements all year.

And as the fair week draws near, hundreds of volunteers lend a hand to pull the event off.

A half-dozen or so spent most of July entering data and registering the livestock that will be at the fair. Others will spend the next week erecting sheep pens, cleaning buildings and setting up the many exhibits.

“It’s an amazing operation,” Booth said. “It requires lots of people and coordination. Every aspect, from the fairgrounds to the entertainment to keeping people safe, is part of a great process. Everyone just kind of knows how it works.

“We could not exist if was not for the hundreds of volunteers.”

If the volunteers are the heart and the soul of the fair, then St. Jacques and his fellow staffers are the glue that holds everything together.

Last week staffers spent several days preparing for the Washington County Antique Fair and Flea Market. Beginning Monday, they spent several days taking stuff down and began working in earnest on the fair.

“Our fair personnel do a lot. They really go all out,” Booth said. “I can’t give them enough credit.”

This year’s fair will be held Monday, Aug. 19 through Sunday, Aug. 25, and will feature livestock displays and shows, a bevy of entertainment, nearly 40 amusement rides, two rodeos, a demolition derby, tractors pulls and much more. Admission will cost $10 (kids under 14 are free) and parking is free.

 

 

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Read more in this week's Times in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags:

Village schedules July fireworks

granville fireworks

By Matthew Saari The Granville Village Board has scheduled the village’s annual July 4 fireworks display and Summer Concert series, […]

Village sets leaf, brush pick-up dates

leafs

The Village of Granville is planning a number of leaf and brush pick-ups this spring. Department of Public Works crews […]

Rutland Rec provides workers’ kids camp

Rutland Recreation and Parks Department logo

By Jared Stamm The Rutland Recreation Department has partnered with Rutland Regional Medical Center, Visiting Nurses Association and the Greater […]

Village’s public hearing continuing

Whitehall Municipal Center.

By PJ Ferguson The public hearing regarding the village’s comprehensive revitalization plan will remain open until Tuesday, April 14, as […]

Local slate company retools, makes PPE

slate

Millennium Slate LLC is reopening and retooling its plant to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for the Covid-19 pandemic. On […]

Telescope offers production services, state remains mum

telescope

By Matthew Saari With COVID-19 cases continuing to mount, New York State is ignoring businesses fully capable of producing personal […]

Farmers dumping milk because of pandemic

dairy dump

By Matthew Saari It may be time to start crying over spilled milk. Dairy farmers locally and across the country […]

Obituary: Maxine R. St. Claire

St.Claire, Max1 photo 2

    Whitehall- Maxine R. St. Claire, a devout catholic, loving wife, Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother, passed through the […]

Obituary: Kenneth Robert Johnson

Johnson obit photo

After a brave battle with COPD, Kenneth “Ken”, “Kenny” Robert Johnson, passed away at his home on Friday, March 20, […]

Gov. Cuomo, Main Street needs a hand from Albany

nypalogo

Covid-19 has completely changed the way we all live. But along with worrying about keeping themselves and their families healthy, […]

County faces financial ‘uncertainties’

The Washington County Board of Supervisors

By PJ Ferguson Washington County officials are clouded by financial uncertainties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic with County Administrator Chris […]

School slated to resume soon, officials await state guidance

Whitehall High School

By PJ Ferguson As the news develops around the COVID-19 pandemic, the Whitehall Central School District faces some changes and […]