The 138th Schoharie County Sunshine Fair opened Saturday with food and exhibits, contests and games and, of course, rides for families to enjoy.
“We’ve been coming here since I was born,” said Levi Szentmiklosy, 6, of Cobleskill, as he ate a hot dog while sitting with his grandmother, Carol Szentmiklosy of Sharon Springs.
Levi lives with his mother and her parents on a farm, and they are showing six of their cows at the fair on Friday.
The J-Dawn Dairy Homestead of Mohawk, Herkimer County, will have five cows in the competition. The farm was started by Jeffrey and Dawn Weeks, but Jeffrey Weeks died from brain cancer in May, leaving the couple’s children, Jeffrey II, 17, and Carrie, 14, and Dawn Weeks’ mother, Nancy Jaycox, to help with the cows.
Both Jeffrey II and Carrie said they are ready to continue on with the family farm. “It’s just what I know all my life,” Jeffrey II said. “It’s in the blood,” Jaycox agreed.
Carrie sprayed the cows to help them fend off flies.
“It’s kind of like sunscreen, but just for bugs, so they don’t get bit,” Jeffrey II explained.
The fair was a mash-up of different worlds. There were the cows for people to view and ask questions about, as well as rabbits, chickens and a host of other farm animals. There were also camels and ponies to ride.
One of the biggest draws at the fair seemed to be a show that involved a trainer working with a lion and a tiger to get them to jump through a hoop and on and off tables. But there also was the midway, with its rides and games, and the funnel cakes, fries and other fair fare. It was hot, and with soft drinks in their hands, people roamed from vendor to vendor, checking out what else to consume, what else to enjoy.
But at its core, the fair is about celebrating the natural beauty of Schoharie County and upstate New York.
It was Matthew Gregory’s first time as superintendent of the Hall of Agriculture, which showcases canned foods, vegetables and flowers that local farmers and county residents bring in for judging. The hall has been part of the fair from the beginning.
“This building is about celebrating the rich agricultural history of Schoharie County,” Gregory said as he walked through and showed displays some farmers had placed for visitors to see.
It’s a way to celebrate and inspire others to grow their own food or get ideas on what to grow next.
Meanwhile, Jon Vincent, founder and president of From the Forest Inc. in Barneveld, carved out sculptures of a bear, an eagle and finally a chicken, as people sat around him. Vincent said he taught himself how to carve sculptures from hunks of wood, first touching a chain saw in August of 2008.
When he’s carving, Vincent said he’s in the zone. He’s aware of his surroundings as chunks of wood fly as the chain saw digs deep, but he remains focused.
“I love it,” he said. “I don’t have a boss, [I’m] self-employed. I get to be creative.”
Not every sculpture comes out perfect, he explained, but he keeps improving.
The fair continues today from 9 a.m. to midnight, with events including barrel racing, a tractor pull, karaoke auditions and a performance by the Zac Brown Tribute Band.