133rd Chautauqua County Fair kicks off this morning

After much planning and preparation, the 133rd Chautauqua County Fair kicks off today at 10:30 a.m.

The fairgrounds in Dunkirk were abuzz with activity Sunday as people set up equipment and prepared their livestock for the grand festivities.

Inside Floral Hall, displays were set up showcasing winning submissions in the following exhibition categories: wine, flowers, photography, agriculture, canned goods, needlework, collectibles, antiques, fine arts and baked goods.

“We actually increased almost 20 entries this year … so it’s great to have more than before,” Fredonia resident Kay Richard, superintendent of junior arts and crafts, said. “Just seeing the kids come back and the excitement they have when they see that they won a ribbon is something I look forward to (during the fair). It’s great that we can give everybody something, and I think that’s important; we get the kids entering and they’ll come back and enter as adults.”

A new model train display has also been set up in the middle of Floral Hall to entertain kids and train enthusiasts.

At the 4-H barns, prize-winning cows, pigs and other livestock have been herded into pens to be shown off by their owners. Betty Catanese and her daughter, Hope, of Catanese Critters out of Stockton, could be seen on Sunday giving a touch-up to their lamb, Jarvis, before the fair kicks off and the animals are shown.

“Down here, we’ve got two pigs, seven sheep and Hope has a beef heifer for the first year,” Betty said as Hope gave Jarvis a buzz trim using clippers. “She’s going to be busy the first few days of the fair.”

Betty said she grew up in the fair, while her son has been in it for five years and Hope has been in it for six. She added it is definitely a “family affair” when it comes to the fair.

Over in the main office, presale ticket sales seem to have gone rather well, according to workers there, but an official count has yet to be tallied.

“Setup (moved) along nicely,” County Fair Board of Directors President Roy “Mooney” Harrington said in between phone calls. “It’s shaping up to be a good fair, as long as Mother Nature cooperates.”

Harrington added he believes the biggest draws this year will be the motorsports attractions, including the demolition derby and the Black Cat Hell Drivers automobile stunt show, as well as a larger tractor pull put on by the Empire State Pullers.

Ticket prices are now $10 each, with children ages two and under free. Senior citizens get half off gate admission.

Visit www.chautauquacountyfair.org or call the office at 366-4752 for more information.

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