Another chapter in the Cayuga County Fair's 200-year-plus history will be written this weekend when the event returns to Emerson Park.
Taking place Saturday and Sunday, the fair will bring food, live entertainment and more to the grounds of the Ward W. O'Hara Agricultural & Country Living Museum and Dr. Joseph F. Karpinski Sr. Educational Center at the Owasco park. The fair had taken place in Weedsport since 1981.
Robin Bartholomew, secretary and treasurer of fair organizer the Cayuga County Agricultural Society, said Wednesday that the society is excited about the new venue and feels comfortable presenting the fair there. The grounds allow the fair to include vendors and displays, which it hasn't featured in several years, Bartholomew said. Due to rising rental and insurance prices, however, the fair still won't be able to present amusement rides; it hasn't in several years, she said.
Another new event at this year's fair will be a petting zoo. Bartholomew said it'll feature rabbits, miniature horses, chickens, ducks, a llama and more.
"Sheep and goat shows are nice, but when they're showing kids can't really get close to them," she said. "I think this is going to be a good addition."
Several shows will also take place at the two-day fair, featuring not only goats and sheep, but also Ithaca juggler Nate the Great, Trumansburg musical duo Leo and Remnant, Elvis tribute artists Jim Aldrich and Curtis Wayne, the Crane Academy of Irish Dance, Auburn square dancers the Fun Bunch and more.
The public is also invited to participate in the fair's baby pageant and talent show; the latter is a qualifier for the New York State Fair. Bartholomew said registration will be accepted at the fair.
The agricultural society has few expectations for fair attendance, Bartholomew said, but hopes the weather is nice enough not to keep people away. In the event of inclement weather, she invites people to tour the Ward W. O'Hara museum's old agricultural machinery, one-room schoolhouse and more.
Emerson Park and museum staff have made the fair's transition there smooth, Bartholomew added. But it might not be the last transition for the foreseeable future: Talks are still taking place between the agricultural society and Cornell Cooperative Extension to merge the fair with the Remember the Big 6 Picnic and 4-H Youth Country Fair, which takes place there July 27-29.
The picnic, which became a part of the fair in the 1930s, split from it in 2011. The merger, which could take place as soon as 2018, would not only see the fair consolidate its lineage but also strengthen its claim to a $90K state grant announced earlier this year to support infrastructure improvements to its county fairs.
"I think it's a good trial run for us down there," Bartholomew said. "I hope all of it comes together and people come out and support it and have a good time."
2017 Cayuga County Fair schedule of events
Saturday July 8
All day: Safe child screening by the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office, petting zoo, an agricultural awareness station, children's activities and food
9 to 10 a.m.: Drop-off for Lego and Human Ecology items
10 a.m.: Fair opens, meat goat show
11 a.m.: Judging of Lego and human ecology exhibits
Noon: Sheep show
1 p.m.: Draft horse pull
2 p.m.: K-9 demonstration
2:30 p.m.: Ice cream social and juggler Nate the Great
3:30 p.m.: Music by Leo and Remnant
5 p.m.: Fair closes
Sunday, July 9
All day: Petting zoo, an agricultural awareness station, children's activities and food
10 a.m.: Fair opens, dairy goat show
11 a.m.: The Fun Bunch square dancing
Noon: Jim Aldrich and Curtis Wayne, Elvis tribute artists
1 p.m.: Baby show
2 p.m.: Talent show
3 p.m.: Crane Academy of Irish Dance
4 p.m.: Fair closes, exhibits released