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Orleans 4-H Fair is a week away

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Robert Batt, president of the Fair Board, and Kerri McKenna, a community educator for the Cornell Cooperative Extension, have been busy gearing up for next week’s 4-H Fair in Knowlesville.

KNOWLESVILLE – The animals are soon to arrive, a group of nearly 550 creatures that include cows and pigs, llamas and rabbits, goats and horses.

After seeing the numbers drop at recent fairs, next week’s event in Knowlesville shows a sizable uptick in animals. The number of cows and beef cattle are up from 20 last year to 65 next week.

And the number of 4-H animal exhibitors also is on an upswing with nearly 200 kids showing animals.

“Most fairs are seeing their numbers go down,” said Kerri McKenna, the community educator for the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County. “Our leaders have been out recruiting new members.”

The fair officially starts on Monday, July 22, and runs until the 27th. The week-long event typically draws about 30,000 people. It’s considered one of the most successful youth fairs in the state, a small-county celebration that bans alcohol and limits exhibitors to children.

“We have a community that supports youth, agriculture and the community in general,” said McKenna, a former 4-H’er. “This is the biggest event of the year where everyone is involved.”

The fair includes a new Midway provider, Midway Rides of Utica, which is bringing a 90-foot-high Ferris wheel to Knowlesville, the biggest to ever come to the Orleans fair.

The Fair Board is spending $16,000 for entertainment, with bands, the Midway, a Motorcyle Thrill Ride and other entertainers. The board is not hiking the cost to enter the fair. That remains at $5 per carload, which Fair Board President Robert Batt said is the least expensive in the state.

“We’re definitely the cheapest,” he said. “We want to keep it low so families can come and have money to spend.”

He is pleased to have many new food vendors for the week. The Fair Board also is trying to make better use of the parking lot by the Education Center for the fair. On Wednesday the 24th the lot will be used for a craft show and community yard sale.

There will be a motorcycle cruise-in on Thursday with a Classic Car Show on Friday. On Saturday, the last day of the fair, first responders will bring fire trucks, ambulances and a helicopter. Children and community members are encouraged to come meet firefighters, medics and other first responders.

For more information, check the 4-H Fair Website by clicking here.