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Monday, August 23, 2010

Chautauqua County Fair gets nod as one of top ten in the nation

The Chautauqua County Fair is one of Top 10 "great places for blue-ribbon county fairs" according to

"New York and New England farmers started fairs as a way to share agricultural knowledge. (Chautauqua County's), which runs in late July, is a classic, with flags, banners and a sense of tradition," say Drake Hokanson and Carol Kratz, authors of Purebred and Homegrown: America's County Fairs.
For two centuries, farmers and fun seekers have celebrated county fairs with games, food and livestock shows, Kratz notes while recommending "a visit to the homey livestock barns" the Chautauqua County Fair offers.
"It is certainly an honor to be recognized for the hard work all our fair volunteers put forth to present a good agricultural show and an entertaining event to the public," said current volunteer fair board member and Association President Lon Robinson.
The Chautauqua County Agricultural and Fair Association is a private, non-profit corporation that owns and operates the county fairgrounds.
"The fairgrounds are about 50 miles southwest of Buffalo," the story notes and the authors suggest visitors get a meal from "Santillo's Italian sausage stand with its fresh-grilled onions and green peppers."
This year's fair ran July 26 August 1 and had a 3 percent increase in attendance revenue with no increases in ticket or parking prices over the past several years.
"The weather was perfect and fairgoers really enjoyed everything the fair offers," Robinson said.
Other fairs named in the list of the top ten are held in Tillamook, Oregon; Spencer, Iowa; Viroqua, Wisconsin; Adams, Massachusetts; Elberton, Georgia; Buffalo, Wyoming; Merced, California; Delta Junction, Alaska; and Connersville, Indiana.
Hokanson said that fair boards and exhibitors annually "strut their stuff to show what they've been working on for the past year"
"It's where neighbors meet neighbors," Kratz says. "They come together that week and have a lot of catching up to do."
"Farm machinery isn't part of most fairs anymore," noted Kratz, but there is still a big display of both large farm and smaller yard and garden equipment each year at the Chautauqua County Fair.
Noted Robinson, "Local vendors who participate in the fair know they are getting exposure to 60,000 people in just 7 days. That's a pretty compelling reason to be there."
County fairs reflect "the local culture" say the book's authors and Chautauqua County's is now nationally known as one of the best at doing that.

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