As back-to-school sale fliers start to flood mailboxes, the Altamont Fair begins, and with it comes one more delicious dose of summer.
The fair, which represents Schenectady, Albany and Greene counties, is in town today through Sunday. The six lazy August days it stretches across will be ones filled with cotton candy, fried dough, horse shows, carnival games, pig races, circus acts and lemonade. There will be bouquets of homegrown flowers and prize-winning vegetables to admire, along with artwork, 4-H projects, exotic-looking chickens and kind-eyed cows. There will also be midway rides to spin on,
museums to explore and countless opportunities to gain appreciation for the local agricultural community.
A $15 admission fee includes all rides, events, exhibits and parking. Admission is free for patrons under 36 inches tall.
Gates open at 10 a.m., exhibits open at 11 and the midway revs up the rides daily at noon.
Although the fair has seen many changes since it first set its roots down in Altamont in 1893, its mission has remained the same, according to Marie McMillen, the fair’s operations manager. The aim has always been to entertain and educate, with an emphasis on agriculture, she explained.
On the fair’s events roster are many old favorites and some new features as well, including the seven-act Circus Hollywood. “It’s very large, one of the best in the country we’re told,” said McMillen. Circus watchers will see motorcycles whip around inside a globe, an aerial act and a performance that includes the Royal Friesian Stallions.
The fair will also host all sorts of other shows, including Sylvia and the Magic Trunk, a comedy ventriloquist act; and the Frisbee-catching Disc-Connected K9’s.
Kids will have a chance to pet Twigs the Giraffe in the petting zoo, along with an assortment of other animals.
An Eco-Friendly Science Fair sponsored by County Waste will showcase some interesting ideas local students have about how to save energy, reuse and recycle.
New to the midway are two rides for thrill-seekers. Vertigo swings riders in rotations more than 100 feet in the air, and SPEED gives daredevils the experience of free-falling at more than 70 miles per hour while flipping forward and backward.
Patrons can purchase fresh produce along with the typical carnival fare at the fair’s new farmers market.
“Some people just come to the fair to eat,” noted Pat Canaday, a member of the fair’s board of directors. “I think people try to make fried dough at home and it’s just not the same.”
Special promotions will be offered throughout the week.
On Wednesday, admission is free until 4 p.m. for senior citizens age 65 and older. The free admission does not include rides.
Armed Services Day is Thursday. Admission is free until 4 p.m. for current and retired military members who show military ID. Free admission does not include rides. Also that day will be a Word War II radio broadcast re-enactment at 11 a.m., a flag ceremony by the Marine Color Guard at 1:30 p.m. and fireworks at 9 p.m.
Courtesy carts will be available for visitors needing transportation assistance on both Armed Services Day and Senior Day.
On Friday, the first 200 visitors will receive a giveaway courtesy of SEFCU.
A second fireworks show will light up the sky to close the fair Sunday night.