’Tis the season for cotton candy, fried dough, Ferris wheels, whack-a-mole, petting zoos and, of course, goldfish with two-day life spans.
Fair season is set to kick off on Tuesday with the Saratoga County Fair, which will run through Sunday, July 19.
“We have lots of new stuff going on at the fair this year,” said Dick Rowland, general manager of the Saratoga County Fair. “We have new discounts and promotions to help make going to the fair less economically painful for everyone, and we have new events and vendors.”
Rowland said that last year, 65,000 people visited the fair, but that was low because of bad weather.
“This year, the weather looks clear and we’re expecting a more normal-sized crowd of 80,000 throughout the week,” he said.
Rowland and his crew spent more than a year planning this year’s fair, which employs about 125 workers and 100 to 200 volunteers.
“We’re excited because we brought back the sand castle this year and we have a new caboose exhibit. We’re also having a talent show called ‘Saratoga County’s Got Talent’ on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” he said.
Rowland also encourages people to stop by for an illusionist who is new to the fair this year. “He will totally mess with your head, that’s all I’m saying,” he said.
The fair standbys will also be back: Farm animals, pig races, puppet shows, chain saw carvers, cooking demonstrations and, of course, fair food.
The grandstand will also feature its usual array of entertainment. Tuesday night is the JM Productions Demolition Derby; Wednesday features Go Kart Racing from the Adirondack Karting Association; Thursday and Friday have the Double M Rodeo. On Saturday, July 19, a 4x4 truck pull will be held. Sunday will features the ATV pull and JM Productions Demolition Derby.
A full listing of events can be found on the fair’s Web site, www.saratogacountyfair.org.
This year, the Saratoga County Fair, located off of Prospect Street, is going big when it comes to feeding their crowd. In addition to having a record number of vendors, the fair will be unleashing a new way to serve ice cream, Rowland said.
“We will have fresh, homemade ice cream made right on the premises in the largest portable ice cream stand on the market. It’s over two stories high, and it’s making its debut right here in Saratoga County,” Rowland said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, and everyone should come out for a good time.”
The fair operates from 9 a.m. to midnight daily. The midway and the beer garden are open from noon to midnight daily, and the concession buildings serve food from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
General admission is $7 Tuesday through Thursday and $10 Friday though Sunday. Children under 50 inches tall are free, active military with proper I.D. receive half-off admission and on Wednesday, admission for senior citizens is $4.
People also can purchase a $25 ticket good for admission all week long with free parking in fair lots A through E.
In addition, families of children with autism and similar developmental disabilities will be admitted to the fair for half-price on Tuesday, officials announced Friday.
“This is just a small beginning, and hopefully next year we can do something even bigger,” said state Sen. Roy J. McDonald, R-Saratoga, who has become a disabilities advocate after having two grandchildren diagnosed with autism.
McDonald said corporate sponsors are underwriting the discount, which he hopes will also be extended to the Schaghticoke Fair later this summer in Rensselaer County.
Rowland said he’s also going to talk to midway ride operators about offering slowed-down rides suitable for people with disabilities.