More than 50 people surrounded the tiny race course near the arena on opening day of the Fonda Fair Tuesday, anxiously waiting for the start of a new attraction this year — racing pigs.
Children cheered and giggled as “swinemaster” Shaun Wendt introduced star racers with names like Hillary Rod-Ham and Dale Earn-Hog Jr.
Races take place four times daily at the Animal Enterprises Inc. course, Wendt said.
Between races, youngsters and adults took turns petting and feeding a variety of animals in the petting zoo.
Operated by the Wendt family of Kentucky, the petting zoo features two 8-month-old llamas, several pygmy goats, a 6-month-old dromedary camel and two African spur-thighed tortoises.
Sunny weather made for an ideal opening day, Fair Manager Jake Sammons said.
The event drew dozens of exhibitors including youth who filled eight horse barns with horses and ponies.
“Everybody wants to be part of the fun, it’s a tradition for a long time,” Sammons said of Montgomery County’s 167-year-old agricultural fair.
Several classes of horse-riding competitions were going on in the arena as youths vied for a ribbon by showing off their horse-riding skills.
The grounds are dotted with tents filled with vendors selling jewelry and lamps, leather goods and trinkets.
Concessionaires around the midway provide a variety of foods including fried dough, pizza, candy apples, ice cream and all you can eat pancakes all day long.
People were throwing darts at balloons hoping to win a cardboard-framed picture, while others were putting quarters in the “car wash” game, hoping to get some of the cash hanging precariously yet stubbornly on the edge of the chute.
Tickets for rides cost $1.25 for one, $11 for 10 and $21 for 22. It takes four tickets to ride the Ferris wheel, two tickets for the dizzy dragons ride and three tickets for the Tornado.
Wristbands for rides are available starting at 11 a.m. For $13, rides are unlimited up to 5 p.m. Starting at 5 p.m., the wristbands are $15 and provide unlimited rides 5 p.m. through closing.
A modified tractor and truck pull is scheduled for 7 p.m. this evening following a slate of events including an 11 a.m. out-of-field tractor pull, a talent contest, and a driving horse show.
Admission to the fair is $8 Tuesday through Thursday and Monday and $10 Friday through Sunday. Admission is $2 for children ages 6 to 11 and free for kids under 6. Parking is $2.
The Fonda Fair, on the fairgrounds at 21 S. Bridge St., just south of state Thruway Exit 28, runs through Monday.