Dylan McGarvey of Voorheesville says his garden vegetables have prospered this summer.
“The weather has been great for the tomatoes because of the humidity,” said McGarvey, 15, who entered produce Saturday afternoon at the Altamont Fair.
Tom Della Rocco hopes the fair will prosper this week–without any humidity. As a member of the fair’s board of directors, Della Rocco has been preparing for the annual exhibition’s Tuesday opening. Frisbee-catching dogs, motorcycle thrill shows, baked goods, farm animals, circus acts and midway rides are all part of the plan.
The fair, which represents Schenectady, Albany and Greene Counties, will run through Sunday. Della Rocco said visitors will notice the fair’s new administration building and an improved agriculture awareness tent.
“We’ve got a much more complete schedule of events, we have a variety of speakers who are going to address all different sorts of topics related to agriculture and animal science,” he said of the tent.
People who drive Route 146 know state highway crews have been repairing culverts over the summer; there have been traffic delays. Della Rocco said there will no construction this week
“It’s going to be postponed for the period during the fair,” he said. “We have promises from the state DOT (Department of Transportation), because that would obviously cause big tie-ups. They’re going to stop construction while the fair is on.”
Adults and teenagers were on the fair grounds over the weekend, checking in exhibits, installing displays and prepping booths. McGarvey, a sophomore at Bethlehem Central School and a member of Voorheesville’s Crazy Horse 4-H Club, also entered a red wooden cardinal bird feeder that he built and painted. He will enter the cow competition and is looking forward to the coming week.
“There’s a definite sense of excitement, the fair is coming up,” McGarvey said. “Emotions are running high.”
Delmar’s Annie Furman also checked in pieces for 4-H competition–among them a white pine bird house for kestrels and a horse brush bag made out of a recycled T-shirt.
“I like getting to talk to people about what I’ve been doing in 4-H,” said Furman, 15, a junior at Bethlehem High School and a member of Caps n’ Chaps 4-H in Delmar. “It’s a great
public speaking experience. You come up to a judge, someone you’ve never met before, and explain to them about your project.”
Christine Springer, 22, of Altamont, was active in 4-H during her high school years. At 22, she has just graduated from the State University of New York at Oneonta and is volunteer manager of the 4-H milk shake booth. Saturday was orientation for the 70 young people who will be mixing chocolate shakes and root beer floats this week.
“We told them how to make the milkshakes, the milkshake recipe, how to run the booth and how to keep it clean,” Springer said.
In other places, food vendors parked their trailers. A red and white circus tent, topped with six American flags that fluttered in the breeze, is ready for Circus Hollywood.
In the grange building, volunteers put up exhibitions on community service, birding and hiking. The Glenridge Grange’s display is designed to warn people about the dangers of giant hogweed.
Fay Heckeler of Glenville said hogweed has been found in the western part of New York and is moving east. “It can cause severe skin and eye irritation and painful blisters,” Heckeler said. “The most serious is possible scarring and possible blindness.”
Ann Guyer and her daughter Claire, 14, both of Voorheesville, were busy in the agriculture and science building. “It’s been here forever,” Ann said of the fair, “To be part of a New York tradition in the Capital Region is really great.”
Della Rocco is all for tradition. But he believes people who visit the fair also like the chance to glimpse life on the farm.
“I think it’s very important for many suburban and urbanites to have a place where they can actually go and see farm animals,” he said. “When exit polls are done, one of the primary things that people mention is they bring their families to see ... farm animals up close and personal.”
Della Rocco isn’t worried about unfavorable weather.
“We’re looking at a forecast on an hourly basis,” he said. “It’s promising at this point. It looks about as good as you could hope for.”
The Altamont Fair will run Tuesday through Sunday. Pre-sale tickets are $15, good any day and available online at www.altamontfair.com. Tickets at the gate are $15 Tuesday through Thursday and $17 Friday through Sunday.