Opening day

The Chautauqua County Fairgrounds was busy Sunday in preparation for today’s opening day for the fair.

The fair office was busy; people were coming in on the last day that tickets were available at the advanced sale price.

Office manager Deb Kuzma from Dunkirk said that ticket sales were going well and she was looking forward to a successful fair.

She said, “Some of the outlets (for advanced sales) have sold out. That’s a good thing.”

By early afternoon, judges in Floral Hall had awarded ribbons in classes including agricultural products, home preservation, flowers, amateur wine and beer, needlework, homemade foods, fine arts, adult crafts, adult collections, antiques, collectibles and photography. The displays were set up both to allow easy viewing by the public and to attract attention. Many of these categories also have junior categories for school-aged people.

In addition to individual entries, booths from Grange and Junior Grange, schools, and other organizations are housed in Floral Hall.

At the Dudley Farm Museum, near the fair office, Alberta Oonk of Clymer explained the museum was founded in 1981. Stewart Dudley, now deceased, was a longtime director of the fair. He had the idea for the museum and donated many of the objects. Artifacts include farm tools, a blacksmith area, a kitchen area, a weaving area and a grape display.

Oonk, an honorary director after serving many years as a director, volunteers at the museum during fair week.

Asked to point out the most interesting item, she indicated a carriage that dates from around 1840. It belonged to New York Lieutenant Governor George A. Patterson who was an agent of the Holland Land Company.

Oonk hopes that people will stop into the museum to view the exhibits. Both she and fair director Dave Wilson said that visitors from many places have said the museum is one of the best.

She said, “When the fair is over, the museum can be open for tours. Anyone interested can call the fair office.”

On Sunday, owners of a variety of animals had already moved them into the barns. Many people were caring for their livestock.

Tristan Peterson of Kennedy was grooming his sheep by washing it and trimming away some of the wool.

He said, “This is a Cheviot sheep. It’s a meat breed. … I have been showing sheep for 10 or 11 years.”

In front of the poultry barn, the Frost family from Sinclairville was getting a look at things. Caden, 7, has chickens that he will show. He and his younger sister Mikenna had fun posing for pictures in the picture boards that had animals painted on them.

In another area, the pig competition was under way. Both young children and high school aged students showed their animals, using a stick to keep them moving. Several trophies were awarded, including to Lilly Underburg who won the Grand Championship in the open class pen of three pigs.

In the midway area, most of the rides were assembled. In the food areas, several vendors were sprucing up concession stands. Shawn McDonald was cleaning and polishing the outside of Fain’s Sweet Treats while in another area, a young man used a hose to wash another stand.

Today the fair opens at 9 a.m. The grand opening, complete with the firing of a cannon, starts at 10:30 a.m. near the Gate 5 entrance.

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