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Capital Region Scrapbook: Altamont attractions (with photo gallery)

Capital Region Scrapbook: Altamont attractions (with photo gallery)

Young stars of local 4-H clubs were among the principal performers at the 1946 Tri-County Fair at Al
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Lois Gillie was proud of her peaches and pears.

Elizabeth Elder and Agnes McKinlay showed off their clothing creation.

And the Rask kids — Niels, Norman and Karen — put their favorite calves in the limelight.

Young stars of local 4-H clubs were among the principal performers at the 1946 Tri-County Fair at Altamont. The present day version of the long-running summer party — the Altamont Fair — begins Tuesday and runs through Sunday at the fair grounds off Route 146.

The 1946 gathering didn’t have the “Mama Mia!” meatball contest or scarecrow contest — attractions for the 2009 edition — but offered bunches of other diversions. Horse races, car races and rodeos satisfied some; midway rides like the “Dive Bomber” and Ferris wheel kept children occupied. Plenty of animals were on the grounds.

The biggest porcine name was Miss Kiwanis, a shoat of generous proportion raised by Jimmy Van Vorst of Glenville. The pig had been given to Jimmy by Mark Hill, then president of the Schenectady Kiwanis. Hill also gave the young man some instructions; when Miss Kiwanis had her first litter, one of the little pigs would be presented to Schenectady Kiwanis. The club would then give the small animal to another 4-H boy, and the process would begin again.

“There will always be a Miss Kiwanis,” wrote a reporter for the Schenectady Gazette.

Young people were eager to show off their skills raising animals. The Rask kids belonged to the Pioneer 4-H in Duanesburg and won blue ribbons from Judge Harry A. Willmen, extension professor of animal husbandry at Cornell University’s state college of agriculture. Another Cornell specialist, F.E. Andrews, gave proud poultry specimens similar salutes in blue.

Gillie, who lived on Lisha Kill Road and was a member of the Liberty 4-H, brought canned fruits and left with prizes. Seamstresses Elder and McKinlay had worked on their women’s ensemble as members of the Right-O 4-H in Pattersonville.

This week, midway rides, music and demolition derby will be back at the fair for Schenectady, Albany and Greene counties. Miss Kiwanis will not return — the tradition has been retired.

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