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Monday, July 21, 2008

Chautauqua County Fair Opens Today

As soon as the Ferris wheel is up a week or so in advance, children wait impatiently for the day that the wheel starts to turn. That day is today.

The Chautauqua County Fair will hold its opening ceremonies at 10:30 a.m., welcoming the public to another fun-filled year.

''Most people don't realize how much work is going on before we actually open the doors,'' Fair Director Lawrence Brown said. ''We don't just flip on a switch that morning and the Fair starts running.''

Brown also serves as the Chairman of Agriculture for the fair board and is responsible for checking in and on all the livestock that is on display at the fair.

For the third straight year, the number of farm animals entered has set a new record.

''This year we have over 1,000 live farm animal entries - this is the first time we've broken that plateau,'' Brown said, ''The high level of participation in the Fair by our county's family farmers is testament to our area's vibrant agricultural economy and to the fair as a showcase for their efforts.''

With so many entrants, some of the shows had to be held on Sunday before the Fair even officially opened.

Brown's job begins well before even Sunday, however.

''Animals begin arriving two or three days beforehand and they have to come in with a signed health examination from their personal veterinarian and be looked over by a state examiner,'' Brown explained. ''It is an important process to ensure the safety of the animals. Since they come from different parts of the county and have never before been in contact, we have to make sure they are healthy.''

Not only are the animals inspected, but each food stand is inspected by the Department of Health and each ride is inspected by the Department of Labor to provide the safest environment possible for family fun.


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