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Veterans, elected officials help kick off week at fair

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Robert Batt, director of Orleans County Cooperative Extension, welcomes the crowd to the 2019 Orleans County 4-H Fair during opening ceremonies Monday night. On stage, from left, are Marty Zwifka, fair board chairman; Lynne Johnson, chairwoman of the Orleans County Legislature; State Sen. Rob Ortt; John Gabalski, 2018 fair prince; and Hector Gonzalez from New York State Agriculture and Markets.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 22 July 2019 at 11:11 pm

KNOWLESVILLE – The 2019 Orleans County 4-H Fair officially got underway with a flag-raising ceremony on Monday evening. Veterans from throughout Orleans County participated in the ceremony, as been the custom for many years.

The crowd then moved to the Orleans Hub stage, where opening remarks were shared by Hector Gonzalez with New York State Agriculture and Markets; Robert Batt, director of Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension; and Fair Board chairman Marty Zwifka.

“Things are changing at the fair,” Zwifka said. “There is new stuff for the kids, and when you see them out and about, tell them how good they are doing.”

Veterans from throughout Orleans County salute as the flag is raised signifying the start of the 2019 Orleans County 4-H Fair on Monday evening.

State Sen. Rob Ortt said the opening ceremonies at the Orleans County 4-H Fair are the best he has ever seen, praising the many veterans who annually take part in the flag raising.

He went on to say the fair celebrates farms, farmers and farm workers, and the recent bill signed by the governor is a death blow to our farmers.

“Steve and I have traveled all over to talk to farmers, and this bill is going to add significant costs to our farmers,” he said. “We have lost 90 percent of our family farms and because of this bill we are going to lose even more.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley, who comes from a farming family, said he echoed Ortt’s words.

“The farm death bill was signed in Manhattan, and that says it all,” he said. “This is not Florida, it’s not California. We don’t have 12 months a year to harvest our crops. With our weather, we sometimes have to work 16 to 18 hours a day. We sometimes have to work seven days a week. Shame on our governor.”

John Gabalski, 2018 Fair King, adds his remarks to the opening ceremony Monday night on the Orleans Hub stage.

Orleans County Legislature chairman Lynne Johnson added her remarks, thanking everyone who worked to make the fair successful.

“4-H isn’t just about blue ribbons,” she said. “It’s about working hard, working together and having fun.”

The 2018 Fair King John Gabalski said the fair is not just enjoying the rides and food.

“It’s here to remind you what Orleans County 4-H’ers do all year long,” he said.

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