Expo ’67 came to Altamont on Aug. 14, 1967.
Music, food, amusement park rides, animals and artwork were all in the mix. The Altamont Fair wasn’t as famous as the international exposition in Montreal, but Capital Region residents were happy enough with their local six-day summer party.
The Altamont gathering was older than the new event up north. Fairs in Albany County date to 1819, according to the Altamont Fair’s website. The first gathering at the current location, off Route 146, was held in September 1893.
In 1967, admission was $1.25 for adults. Kids were 50 cents each.
Farmers and kids in 4-H programs in Schenectady, Albany and Greene counties brought horses, cows, sheep, hens, roosters, ducks, rabbits and other critters. The Schenectady County Grange Square Dancers showed off their moves. Al Martin’s Review, old vaudeville presented in five acts, was on stage twice a day.
A “world of yesteryear” was also featured. Grandma’s kitchen from the past, Thomas Edison phonographs and early radios were on display. “Christmas in August” was the theme of the flower show.
“On the ‘don’t miss it’ list this year at the fair is No. 3028, one of the last steam locomotives built in Schenectady’s old Alco plant,” wrote Jane Rowe, a reporter covering the fair for the Schenectady Gazette. “The big, black engine, with wheels bigger than a tall man, is housed on the fairgrounds on tracks leading to the D&H Railroad.”
Music and dance
People who preferred the arts watched performances by the Schenectady Junior Ballet and Performing Arts Company, with 14-year-old Scotia dancer Patricia Bojanowski in featured roles.
On Thursday, Aug. 17, Paul Lavalle was the star of the show. Lavalle conducted the Band of America at Radio City Music Hall and had been guest conductor for the ABC Symphony, CBS Symphony, NBC Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He was in Altamont to direct an all-star band of high-school musicians from Schenectady, Albany and Greene counties.
Rock ’n’ roll took over the next day — a “battle of the bands” began at 8:30 p.m., part of a dance party.
This year’s Altamont Fair begins Tuesday and runs through Sunday.
Categories: Life and Arts