September 26, 2009 by USA Post
Durham Fair, Crowds took advantage of the gorgeous fall weather yesterday to attend the opening day of the 90th Durham Fair.
With many local schools running on a half-day schedule, midday was bustling with activity as kids took advantage of the unlimited ride wristbands. The wristbands are a Friday afternoon favorite, allowing unlimited rides for the purchaser until 6 p.m.
Richard Cote, of Middletown, was there with his children Austin and Sydney and despite being burdened by a huge fish that Austin won, was enthusiastic.
“There are a lot a families here having a great time,” Cote said as Sydney exclaimed, “We only have 20 minutes left, let’s go.”
People come to the fair for different reasons and being the largest volunteer agricultural fair in the country, the Durham Fair has something for everyone. There’s enough music, food and fun to go around. Some go for the crafts, while others gathered for the newly added truck and SUV pull.
Many people came for the food — from fried dough to apple fritters and blooming onions.
“Oh, the food is my favorite, the souvlaki (a Greek specialty),” Josephine Ameleto said.
There are different events scheduled throughout the weekend, and daily schedules are available at numerous information booths on the grounds.
Children were delighted with the many animals, several of the children only weeks old.
As fair goers headed up the big hill, they were greeted by a brief history of the fair, dating back to 1916. As reported in the Penny Press, the precursor to The Middletown Press, the 1st Durham Fair was kicked off on Oct. 4, 1916 with a parade. The parade was eventually discontinued in 1925 due to traffic concerns, something modern day fair-goers can appreciate.
In the youth building, Middletown 4th-grader Emma Ushchak beamed over the prizes she won in the contests she had entered. Ushchak said she has entered items in the fair since she was first eligible at age 5. Her 4-year-old brother Alexander said he’s going to enter his trains next year.
It was apparent that the rise in ticket prices — from $12 per adult to $15, with children under 11 still admitted for free — didn’t deter people from attending. At the steamed cheeseburger booth sponsored by the VFW Post 10, 169 of Durham, Bob Peterson reported that “business is good” and up 66 percent so far from the rainy weather season of last year. Peterson said the VFW donates all the proceeds from the fair back into the community, helping veterans and town organizations. He also said they are always looking for “a few good men” to help.
As the day wore on, the crowds increased as more and more people arrived with blankets to sit on and watch Blake Shelton perform on the main stage.
The entertainment continues this weekend with The Guess Who performing Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and throughout Sunday.
The Durham Fairgrounds are located at the junction of Routes 68, 17 and 79 in Durham. Follow signs for parking. Information and fair maps are also available at www.durhamfair.com
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