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Schoharie County Sunshine Fair opens Tuesday

Schoharie County Sunshine Fair opens Tuesday

The fair runs through Sunday, Aug. 11, at the fairgrounds in Cobleskill
Schoharie County Sunshine Fair opens Tuesday
A sword swallower and tigers are among atractions at this year's fair.
Photographer: photos provided

Organizers of the Schoharie County Sunshine Fair are taking attendees back in time this year.  

Think knife throwers, tigers and harness racing. 

The World of Wonders show offers up the knife-throwers, along with a sword swallower and fire-eater. White tigers will perform as a part of the Nerger’s Tigers show and harness-racing kicks it all off. 

The fair runs from Tuesday through Sunday, Aug. 11 at the fairgrounds in Cobleskill. In its 143 years, the fair has changed in some ways, but organizers try to keep the traditional aspects of it alive. 

According to Dough Cater, one of the fair’s organizers, the Schoharie County Fair is the only one in the area that still features harness racing. Two and three-year-old New York-bred sires will be racing, starting at noon on Tuesday at the Grandstand. 

“We try to keep the traditional things. To be honest, besides the livestock show, the fruits and vegetables, harness racing was a major stable at the county fair when they first started. That’s something we’re very proud of,” Cater said. 

They’ve also kept the fair’s agricultural foundation, with a livestock auction hosted by 4-H, racing pigs, a donkey and mule show, a poultry and dairy show, and many others. 

“Heather Brooke Farms is coming here for the entire week with their Clydesdales. They’re putting on a great exhibit where people can have their pictures taken with the horses. They’re going to do demonstrations throughout the entire week,” Cater said. 

Cater has been involved with the fair for nearly 50 years, becoming a director in 1976, and serving as president since 2004. 

“I raced horses here when I was 17 years old and I had a license to drive standardbred racehorses. Just to give you an idea, I’ll be 77 this year,” Cater said, adding, “I love fairs and I love the circus life, the midway, everything about the county fair.”

And this year, there are numerous classic circus attractions. 

Beyond the World of Wonders nostalgia show, the Royal Hanneford Circus will perform, with a European style circus act, and there will be a circus museum, featuring a replica of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. 

It used to be exhibited at the Big E every year, however, two years ago, they moved it up to the Schoharie County Sunshine Fair. 

Circus posters and other memorabilia line the walls and 10,000 handmade circus figures, including animals and trapeze artists, are featured in it. 

“You push these buttons as you walk around the exhibit and the trapeze artists and [the rest] perform,” Cater said. 

Beyond the circus, there are also classic carnival rides from Dreamland Amusements, the cost of which is included in admission price. 

For those who are looking for more interactive rides, Skyfire Productions is bringing a Divorce Crash Course and will host a Run What Ya Brung Drag Race. The former is a timed obstacle course suited for demo derby cars. It will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. 

The Run What Ya Brung Race features a smorgasbord of vehicles, with ATVs, motorcycles, trucks, school buses and more racing side by side. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and the race begins at noon. 

To slow things down, attendees can head to Heritage Village, which features craft vendors, including a blacksmith, a decoy carver, broom-stick makers, soap makers, and chainsaw carvers. 

There will also be live music throughout the fair from Big Sky Country, Skeeter Creek and others. 

At 6 p.m. on Thursday, kids have a chance to win one of 70 free bicycles at the Brown's Ford Theater. There is no cost to enter into the drawing. 

While organizers hope that this year’s Schoharie County fair is true to its moniker: the Sunshine Fair, it’d be great if the heat and humidity could hold off, just a little. 

“Extremely hot weather is worse than rain. People can’t take the heat,” Cater said. 

Whatever the weather, Cater estimates that the fair will bring around 35,000 attendees, many of whom will want to stick around. 

“If you take in everything at the fair, you’ll be here all day,” Cater said. 



Schoharie County Sunshine Fair

WHEN: Tue. Aug. 6- Sun. Aug. 11
WHERE: Sunshine Dr., Cobleskill 
TICKETS: $15 for day passes on Tue. - Thu., $17 for day passes Fri. - Sun. 
MORE INFO: sunshinefair.org

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