Workers on golf carts zoomed in and out of the aisles filled with dozens and dozens of vendor booths, from pizza stands to kettle corn, fried dough, corn dogs, onion rings, salt water taffy, smoothies and soda stands, among several others that were lined up throughout the fair.
Across the grounds, a maintenance worker stood on a towering ladder as he double-checked the sturdiness of one of the two large Ferris wheels that are sure to be one of the highlights of the wide variety of amusement rides that are scattered around the back of the fair—some tall, some that are surely dizzying, some fast and some slow, as well as the classic Mardi Gras Glass House that will confuse both children and adults as it seems to do every year at the fair.
A new attraction placed at the side of the amusement section of the grounds is the Alaskan Grizzly experience, an educational show and exhibit that features a live, 7-foot-tall, 600-pound Alaskan Grizzle Bear named Tonk while teaching a lesson on what to do if you ever happen to encounter a Grizzly Bear in the wild. Shows will take place at noon and 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Another special feature at the fair will be the Agricadabra Magic Show, a 25-minute show that uses facts about agriculture in New York while entertaining the kids. All shows start with a 10-minute pre-show, where there will be a balloon giveaway. Kids help hold 10 balloons to make the 6-foot “monkey in the tree,” which will be given away to the person who correctly answers a trivia question. A comedy hypnotist will follow the magic show.
Returning shows include the Masters of the Chainsaw Brian Ruth, the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, Rosaire’s Royal Racing Pigs, Matt Baker, Comedy Juggler and the R.W. Commerford & Sons Petting Zoo. The fair is open 9 a.m. to midnight daily, while the midway is open noon to midnight daily. The live music pavilion is open every night at 8 p.m. and will feature Vivid on Friday, Whiskey City on Saturday and Johnny and the Triumphs on Sunday.
Concessions are open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. General admission is $10 each day (admission is free to active duty military members who provide active duty ID). Parking in the fair-managed lots are free with over 500 new parking spaces added this year. “Pay One Price” rides hand stamps are available every day for $20 and are good from noon to midnight. The fair is located at 162 Prospect Street in Ballston Spa.
Though the fair was quiet as I walked the grounds shortly after it opened, I saw the promise of its lively shows and talent, vendors, animals, games and amusement rides that are sure to entertain the thousands of people who will enter through the gates once more for the 172nd year of the Saratoga County Fair.