Fair opens with flag-raising by veterans
Opening day ceremony held by expanded pavilion with new stage
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent
KNOWLESVILLE – The 2018 Orleans County 4-H Fair got off to an official start Monday night with a flag raising ceremony at the new flagpole located on the south end of the Buzz Hill Education Building.
The new location is one of several changes at the fair this year, according to Robert Batt, director of Cornell Cooperative Extension, who welcomed fairgoers from the new pavilion and Talis Equity stage.
The traditional flag raising featured members of all branches of the military from veterans’ groups throughout Orleans County.
Bugler Russell Young of Medina played Taps as Mark Traxler and Tony Vicknair raised the American flag.
From there the ceremony moved to the new Talis Equity stage, where Batt introduced fair manager Martin Zwifka, king and queen Aeddon Cayea and Riley Seielstad, Senator Rob Ortt, Legislator Bill Eick, Albion Mayor Eileen Banker and a representative of Governor Cuomo’s office.
Batt said the new stage was just one of the many changes in store for the fair.
Zwifka said it had been hectic, but they pulled it all together.
“We want to make this the best fair we can,” he said. “If you notice things are spaced out more – there’s a reason for that. There are many changes to come.”
Ortt said he spoke for himself and Assembly Stephen Hawley, who was stuck at Atlanta airport, when he praised the fair.
“This is the only fair I know of which starts with a ceremony honoring the veterans who made it possible for us to be here,” Ortt said.
The state senator also praised the farmers and agriculture, which is the number one job in New York state.
“You can’t grow anything on Wall Street,” he said.
Eick called the Orleans County fair a “fair for kids.”
“A lot of the kids here today are fourth generation 4-H’ers,” he said. “Fifty-five years ago I started showing cattle here in the Lartz Building. We’re here on this new stage which has just been built. That’s how far we’ve come.”
Seielstad shared the fact 18 years ago she celebrated her first day at the fair in her stroller.
“The fair has given me fantastic experiences and a world of opportunity,” she said. “Orleans County is home to a very talented group of children.”
Cayea said he grew up showing animals at the fair, and now he gets to work here as a fair assistant. He said he has a greater appreciation for the efforts from many volunteers and staff to make the event possible.