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CAYUGA COUNTY

Parks Commission OKs Cayuga County Fair's move to Emerson Park

Cayuga County Fair

Cody Botsford, 3, of Scipio Center, earned the Shepherd of the Future blue ribbon with his registered natural color (kind) sheep, Boots, at the 2016 Cayuga County Fair in Weedsport.

OWASCO — The Cayuga County Fair may be held at Emerson Park this year, provided the county Legislature approves the change.

The county parks commission gave its nod of approval for the move from the Weedsport Speedway fairgrounds after the Cayuga County Agricultural Society presented its plans to members Wednesday night. The fair board will draft a memorandum of understanding that will likely be presented to the Legislature in March.

The move could make the county fair eligible for nearly $90,000 in state funding from the Agricultural Fairgrounds Infrastructure Improvement Program. But Gary Duckett, superintendent of parks and trails and buildings and grounds, said the grant appears to be for infrastructure, and that would have to be approved by the Legislature since it would involve the park.

He said the fair would have a better chance of securing the funding, too, should it have a multi-year commitment from legislators to host at Emerson Park.

At the same time, the parks commission discussed a possible merger between the county fair and the Remember the Big 6 Picnic and 4-H Youth County Fair, something it hopes will come to fruition in 2018. But in order to go forward with the state grant application now, the plan is for the county fair board to draft a multi-year MOU for legislators to sign that will not apply to the possible Big 6 merger.

Robin Bartholomew, the society's secretary and treasurer, presented the fair's vision for this July 8 and 9, which includes most of the attractions situated on the lawn between the parks department building and the Ward O'Hara Agricultural and Country Living Museum, with visitors parking in the Emerson Park lot across the street.

She presented a list of 19 events that could be held at the fair, and while some of them are certain, others she said, the fair will have to narrow down. Some definite events include a goat show, sheep show, an ice cream social, an agricultural awareness interactive display, food and various family entertainment. 

Bartholomew hopes the fair can arrange a draft horse pull, too, though the parks commissioners were still brainstorming where that would be and how large a space would be needed. 

Some events that the fair is still deciding upon include a plant swap, petting zoo, pony rides, alpaca display and cattle show. 

A draft resolution stipulating an agreement between the county Legislature chairman and the county fair board is expected to be presented at the March Public Works Committee meeting and then again before the full Legislature.

Staff writer Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (315) 282-2237 or gwendolyn.craig@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.

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