Orleans County 4-H Fair attendance topped 26,000

Provided photo: This photo shows some of the fair royalty who were crowned on Saturday. Front row:  Kate Bennett of Brockport, Princess Alternate; Evelyn Paratore of Corfu, Princess; Kendall Kidney of Medina, Duchess Alternate; Grant Kuipers of Byron, Prince. Back row: Joanie Gabalski of Byron, Queen Alternate; Celes Paratore of Corfu, Duchess; Gary Donofrio of Bergen, Duke; Braydon Aydelotte of Albion, Prince Alternate; Zachary Neal of Albion, King Alternate; James Scheid of Churchville, King. Not pictured: Grace Gregoire of Murray, Queen; Luke Gregoire of Murray, Duke Alternate.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2022 at 1:07 pm

KNOWLESVILLE – The six-day run of the Orleans County 4-H Fair topped 26,000 people last week.

That is slightly below the attendance in 2021 but still made for a busy week at the fairgrounds. The attendance for the six days last week is estimated at 26,176. Last year it was estimated at 27,700.

The numbers are provided by Robert Batt, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orleans County.

Batt considers 25,000 a benchmark for a very successful fair. The weather was cooperative last week, except for rainstorms on Thursday morning and late afternoon. The temperatures weren’t too oppressively hot, either.

Photos by Tom Rivers: Sylvia Bruning of Barre competes in the dairy showmanship competition last week.

Orleans, which has its fair the fourth week in July, also finds itself in competition with Genesee County, which has moved its fair from the third week in July to the fourth week.

Genesee reported an attendance of 75,000 for its fair, which is way up from a dozen years ago when there were only 13,000, according to The Batavian.

Orleans has steady crowds all week, including on Thursday when there was some rain. Friday was the busiest day when the parking lots were at capacity and some people parked along Wood Road.

Zack Welker, one of the ring men during Saturday’s 4-H Animal Meat Auction, exclaims when he sees a bid for Grant Kuipers’ pig. The auction’s sales topped $28,000, which was up about $8,000 from last year’s auction.

There were 43 exhibits in the Trolley Building that were picked to go to the State Fair. This is the first time the 4-H program will have exhibits at the State Fair since 2019.

“I thought it was a great week for our 4-H youth,” said Kristina Gabalski, the 4-H program coordinator. “They come together and support each other and help each other learn new things. Many challenged themselves and went outside their comfort zones by exhibiting in new areas and trying something new like the Iron Chef competition or helping in one of the food stands.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to learn, grow, develop leadership and teamwork skills, and give back to their community,” Gabalski said. “Their experiences at fair will help them be successful as they move on to college and careers.”

Colleen Pages works with a group of four camels in the ring as part of Hog Diggity Dog & More, which included dogs doing acrobatics and a 750-pound pig that can sing to Old MacDonald Had A Farm.