When I think of a county fair, I think of carnival. The bright colored lights of a Midway that leads to fascinating rides that often tower the skyline. This year’s Tioga County Fair had that, and so much more.
Coming off a year of complications surrounding a former ride company, and a low turnout due to weather and mainly the price, it took all of the energy the fair board could muster to push through enough changes that would ultimately bring back the fair.
On Tuesday evening, and just prior to the “Dash for Cash” competition, which had over 40 horses participating this year, one of the fair board members just stood and looked at the Midway, and the rides along the skyline, and commented, “Oh, it’s good to see the fair back.”
Those words resounded with guests lining up on Tuesday, and just before the rides opened, to grab onto a $10 gate fee that included rides, grandstand fees, and so much more.
And speaking of derby action, there were three nights of it this year. And with the grandstand fee included in the admission, it didn’t take long for them to fill up each night, even on Wednesday night when occasional downpours muddied the track. Ultimately, it increased the action.
The beer tent also returned this year, as well as live entertainment that took place daily.
As for 4-H, they have been busy since last year – working on their exhibits and feeding and raising their livestock for show.
The 4-H Food and Dairy Bar, manned by 4-H members and volunteers, was a staple for guests, as well as for the volunteers and fair board members that worked each day.
One of the best aspects of this year’s event was the amount of effort the entire community put into “bringing the fair back.”
And of course, bringing in Gillette Shows for the carnival paid off as well in the end.
As New York State’s second oldest fair on record, dating back approximately 150 years, it’s roots were strong enough to weather the storm, and emerge to an event that many remember from day’s gone by.
“We just wanted to bring the fair back,” said Jonathan Marks, noting that they took a risk by lowering the price, but they had to.
“We needed to make the fair affordable for everyone, to make it a fair for all to enjoy.”
The Owego Pennysaver provided daily coverage, to include live videos, at this year’s Tioga County Fair. To view photos, links, and video footage from the fair, you can Follow us on Facebook.
To learn more about the fair, to include volunteering, visit www.tiogacofair.com.