Schoharie County Sunshine Fair
Saturday, July 26 – Saturday, Aug. 2
Daily Adult Ticket (ages 13 and up): $12
Children 12 and under: Free
Sunshine Drive, Cobleskill, NY 12043
Saturday, July 26: Shootout Productions Truck Pull
Sunday, July 27: Sanctioned Tractor Pull
Monday, July 28: NY Sire Stakes Harness Racing and Demo Derby
Tuesday, July 29: Painted Pony Ranch All American Rodeo
Wednesday, July 30: Demo Derby
Thursday, July 31: BMX & Motorcycle Extreme Stunt Show
Friday, Aug. 1: Monster Truck Show
Saturday, Aug. 2: Roll Over Derby and Championship Demo Derby
Preparation for the Schoharie County Sunshine Fair was in full swing on Friday as owners of food stands, carnival rides and craft vendors set up shop for the eight-day event.
A big event in a small town, the fair has been drawing locals and out-of-towners to the grounds since 1876. Almost all of the buildings on premise date back to the turn of the nineteenth century, including the agriculture museum that holds artifacts and photographs of the fair’s history.
While games and kiddie rides were trucked in on U-Haul’s, farmers cleaned out stalls and laid down fresh beds of hay for the farm animals that were arriving by trailer. The Sunshine Fair has 15 buildings dedicated to agriculture, including barns and showrooms displaying local produce. Reflective of the large agricultural industry in Schoharie County, the Sunshine Fair has a large showing of locally raised animals.
Becky-Ann Sears and her son Cody Sears of Ira-Moos Farms in Middlefield swept the floor of the dairy barn where their Holstein cattle would be staying for the week. Becky-Ann said they’ve been making the trip from Otsego County to Cobleskill for 17 years.
“This is really a nice barn to keep cattle in,” said Becky-Ann. “It’s open on the sides so there’s good ventilation. We want our cows to be as comfortable as possible.”
The Ira-Moos cows will be brought in early This morning, and like all of the livestock entered in the fair, they’ll have to pass a health inspection before they’re allowed to stay. Cody explained that if a cow wins a blue ribbon, they can enter it in the State Fair for further judging.
“But besides showing, we come to the fair so we can interact with the public,” Becky-Ann said. “There’s a lot going on in the dairy world: de-horning, artificial insemination, and people are always curious about growth hormones. The best person to ask about what’s going on with the food you’re buying in a supermarket is a farmer. They’ll tell you the whole story.”
“The real story, not the one you hear and see on television,” Cody added.
“Of all the people I see in eight days here at the fair, I wouldn’t see a single one of them at my farm in twenty years.” Becky-Ann said. “Here, we can educate the public and help them make informed decisions about the milk and other things they’re buying.”
In a pavilion just a short walk away from the dairy barn, Sue Davis and Lisa McCann from Kelley Lawn and Garden in Cobleskill set up a large, decorative display of plants and flowers.
“There are a lot of farming families in this area, but it’s a very small percent of the population nationwide,” Davis said, as she arranged some potted plants. “I think it’s important to educate the next generation. People should know where their food comes from, and how much work goes into it.”
Across the room from Davis and McCann was another display of syrups, sheep’s wool, homemade yarn, and vegetables on display that had already been awarded show ribbons.
The Sunshine Fair will of course also have rides, games, and a large selection of foods, both savory and sweet, to choose from. Tuesday is the draft horse show, where over eight 6-horse hitches from Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and local farms will compete under the covered show ring.
New for big grandstand entertainment this year is a BMX and motorcycle extreme stunt show. Sunshine Fair President Doug Cater said that he knows people don’t want to come and see the same thing every year, so they makes a point to bring changes and new events to the grounds each year.
Another new feature is circus wagon carver Brook Evans, who is coming to Cobleskill with his Miniature Ringling Brothers Circus Exhibit. Cater said that Evans is an expert on all things circus related.
The Party Tent Theater will have live music through the whole week, and karaoke on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday.
“We take great pride in our history, our buildings, and our facilities.” Cater said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re two or eighty-two, we’ve got something for all ages at the Sunshine Fair.”