Ulster County Fair 2017

Ulster County Fair 2017 by George Ruger 

The 130th Ulster County Fair returned to the New Paltz Fairgrounds Tuesday August 1st.  As in previous years, Tuesday night was carload night.  Visitors were able to pay $40 total for the passengers in a vehicle to attend the Fair. (Restrictions apply*)  Wednesday was Camp Day and hundreds of kids and staff from local summer camps were seen walking around.  They stood out with their brightly colored camp shirts and camp logos.  Thursday was Senior Citizen Day and seniors were able to enter the Fair for free from opening until 4pm.  

For attendees looking to fuel up on Fair food, all the traditional options were available.  From pizza to gyros, pulled pork sandwiches, and ice cream stands there was something for just about everyone. The 4H staffed their milkshake booth in the Agriculture tent.  For those looking for adult beverages, the beer tent was once again located next to the entertainment area.  Pazdar Winery www.pazdarwinery.com was also on-site in the big tent selling wine bottles.  This was their first time as a vendor at the Fair.

Speaking of entertainment, the Fair tries to bring in an assortment of activities.  The concert series featured The Oak Ridge Boys on Wednesday, Restless Heart on Thursday, the Martin Family Circus on Friday, Savannah Jack on Saturday, and BJ Thomas on Sunday.  There were fireworks at dusk on Wednesday and a tractor pull on Thursday and Friday.   

A big focus of the Ulster County Fair is in agriculture.  There were horticulture displays set up and judged.  Flowers, fruits, and vegetables were awarded first, second, and third place ribbons in their respective categories.  People that raise rabbits, chickens, and ducks brought their animals to be judged as well.  Horses and other livestock were on display in the stalls toward the back of the grounds.  

A part of the Fair experience for many is checking out the different vendors to find unique things for the kids and bargains for the rest of us.  From traditional t-shirt and hat vendors to LuLaRoe, there were many clothing and accessory items available.  Several jewelry vendors set up and were selling rings, necklaces, bracelets, and other bling.  Silver Journey  https://www.facebook.com/Silver-Journey-1526753670869416/ has a storefront in Kingston and they were selling sterling silver earrings, rings, and necklaces.  They specialize in opal jewelry.  The Rusted Bunny  https://www.facebook.com/therustedbunny sells vintage decor and local art.  (See headlining photo.) Liz Meyer also has a storefront in Modena.   

Some activities aimed at kids included face painting by The Typsy Turtle Henna Body Art http://www.tipsyturtlehenna.com/  A vendor had a booth catering almost exclusively to fidget spinners.  Jerry stocked a basic device costing only a few dollars to more elaborate designs and logos such as BMW costing sizeably more.  He stated that he had a spinner for several different price points.  Kids had many rides to choose from, including several Merry Go Rounds for the younger kids and more roller coaster type rides for the older riders. There was also a Ferris Wheel, a common ride staple for any Carnival or Fair.           

Prizes could also be won.  People were walking around with large stuffed animals, posters, and even goldfish by doing a task such as getting a ping-pong ball into a cup or popping a balloon with a dart.  Fairgoer Tristen won a goldfish on Thursday night, but the new pet was short-lived.  Jealousy or hunger can interfere with new pets in the home, demonstrated by the cat-astrophy when her pet cat Oliver ate the goldfish later that night.  

Keeping an eye on all the often overlooked details were hundreds of staff and volunteers during the week.  Different fire departments sent staff and ambulance crews each day, including New Paltz, Modena, Plattekill, and Esopus.  A crew braved the heat and dust to monitor the parking lot and direct traffic.  Fair staff were on-site to answer questions and address any concerns.  

Pic 1 Rusted Bunny owner Liz Meyer displaying a wrap skirt