With summertime comes the thick aroma of fried food in the air and the unforgettable sounds of carnival rides.
Those signals mean fair season in the Capital Region is fast approaching.
The 170th annual Saratoga County Fair begins on Tuesday in Ballston Spa.
“It’s just good wholesome family fun, with lots of crazy food,” said Saratoga County Fair Media Coordinator Susan Farnsworth, on why the public continues to return to their local fair after so many years.
“It becomes tradition,” she added.
New attractions include The Big Aerial Show, Randy the Mechanical Man and The Barnyard Cackle Show. Farnsworth said children are sure to enjoy the aerial acts performed 80 feet above ground, as well as Randy’s costume and the performance of seven singing barnyard chicken characters.
Ticket prices continue to be $10 on Friday, July 22 through Sunday, July 24 and includes parking, fair entry and all exhibits. Additional fees will be charged for games and rides. An unlimited ride wristband is available for $20.
The general admission price is reduced to $8 Tuesday through Thursday for special discount days by event sponsors, including The Gazette. Seniors over 65 will be admitted for $4 on Wednesday, July 20. Active-duty military members with identification and children shorter than 52 inches are admitted to the fair for free.
Towards the end of July, the Schoharie County Sunshine Fair in Cobleskill is going green.
Running Friday, July 29 through Saturday, Aug. 6, the Schoharie County fair has pledged to use soy-based products throughout the event to help the environment.
A $6,000 grant was received through The Green Ribbons Fair Project of the United Soybean and the New York Soybean Boards to help the fair pay for soy-based biodiesel fuel for carnival rides, paint, and dust suppressants for “waterless urinals.” It will also pay for “green” products to create signs and media outreach materials.
“Agriculture is so diversified today, we were looking to promote it in different avenues,” said Schoharie County fair President Doug Carter. “Our mission is to promote agriculture, inspire, teach and entertain. We’re helping to promote soybean growers this year.”
Day passes are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and children 12 and under are free. Unlimited rides wristbands can be purchased for $20.
The prices include all exhibits, even the new Garcia Brothers Circus, which will perform three shows daily. In addition to the show, one brother will perform an act on the big Ferris Wheel where he walks on top of the ride while passengers are on board and it is moving.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Carter. “We are constantly making changes to make our fair better.”
The Altamont Fair, which serves both Albany and Schenectady Counties, will begin August 16.
The all-inclusive fair price of $15 was a matter of contention when it began last year. Some families thought the price saved money for those with children who enjoyed the rides. Others felt the cost was too much since some children only ride one or two carnival attractions.
Entrance for children under 30 inches tall is free, but the $15 must be paid if they choose to go on the carnival rides. The price includes parking, rides and exhibits, but not food or games.
Fair organizer Jane Lyman said in a previous interview that the board felt the price change would be easier on family budgets.
The Fonda Fair is one of the last local fairs of the season.
The 168th annual event serves both Montgomery and Fulton Counties.
Former American Idol contestant and country star Kellie Pickler is headlining the fair’s events on September 3. Tickets are $25 and do not include entry into the fair.
General admission at the Fonda Fair is $10, children ages 6 to 11 are $2 and children under 6 are free. The price does not include rides or games. Ride wristbands can be purchased for different prices depending on the day and time.
Fonda Fair Manager Jeff Dufel said there are “exciting changes” in store for visitors.
New acts include a horse circus, a hypnotist and a ventriloquist.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said.