BALLSTON SPA — The Saratoga County Fair’s big weekend began Friday night.
By 6:30 p.m., a line of cars and trucks nearly filled the Prospect Street hill that leads to the fairgrounds. Favorable weather has helped fill the midway during the first four days of the 176th annual exposition.
And “favorable” means “no rain.”
“I was told the attendance has been brisk,” said Alicia Jacobs, the fair’s publicist. “I was here Thursday evening and just tonight (Friday night), as we see the cars coming in for the evening events, the evening really picks up.
“Thursday night, the demolition derby, it was packed,” Jacobs added. “With traffic coming in, the streets, it was the biggest attendance I’ve seen in the evening so far.”
Jacobs said she had not received any attendance figures.
“People have been coming out, it’s part of the summertime tradition in Saratoga,” Jacobs said. “It’s kind of like the track is.”
People at Saratoga Race Course — which opened its 40-day meet on Friday — tolerated warm conditions. So did fair folks; by 5 p.m., it was 85 degrees at the fairgrounds.
“It has been a little bit hot and humid,” Jacobs said. “I think the humidity broke more so Friday with a little wind, but I’ve seen people slow down, especially the seniors.”
Jacobs said no heat-related medical problems had been reported. And police and security officers said there had been no major crime problems; a few vehicles had been towed and officers checked out a property damage traffic accident earlier in the week.
Jacobs also said rides and food remain the fair’s main attractions.
Food seemed especially popular on Friday, as teens and adults bought fried dough, cheese sticks, smoked roast beef sandwiches, sausage and peppers, gyros, fresh-squeezed lemonade and ice cream.
They also found time to see animals up close. Bunches of children smiled and laughed inside a giant parakeet pen; farm animals, as usual, also were on display.
Exotic animals also made friends.
“There’s a baby kangaroo that’s six months old named Sugar Ray and there’s a giraffe, his name is Melvin, he’s nine months old,” Jacobs said. “The faces on people when they see and feed these exotic animals ...it’s not your normal petting zoo.”
The fair continues Saturday and concludes Sunday. Hours are 9 a.m. until midnight both days.