The 170th Annual Cattaraugus County Fair

A boy and a calf

A boy and a calf

photo by Gary Kinn

Entertaining Families for Decades, this Year’s Celebration Brings Some New Attractions into the Spotlight

Summer is here, and that means one thing: you need to get out of the house and do something. After all, it’s going to be winter again before you know it, and you’ll be grumbling about why you live here and how much you hate shoveling your driveway. One suggestion for something to do, is heading on over to Little Valley, NY for the 170th annual Cattaraugus County Fair, which will be held July 30-Aug. 5. There’s a lot to go over here, so let’s get into it:

First things first. The premise of the fair revolves around agriculture. It’s no secret - we live in a rural community rich with character and tradition. The fair provides an outlet for all walks of agriculture to shine. From daily 4-H shows to animal performances, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy here, regardless of age or background.

One of the notable acts this year includes the All Breeds Horse Show, taking place Friday through Sunday. Not into horses? How about the dog shows on Thursday, or the Barnyard Olympics on Friday. One of my personal favorites, however, is the Swifty Swine Racing Pigs (who knew pigs could fly?!) with daily performances by these little rascals.

In between wandering from show to show, you can always breeze through the Midway presented by Bates Brothers Amusements.

New Show Attractions for 2012

The Wild World of Animals show is one of the premier grounds acts in the entertainment industry. Its unique blend of animal diversity and environmental messages coupled with originally scripted non-stop laughter - especially an opinionated pig - makes for an enjoyable time for the whole family.

Have you ever held a 13-foot, 100 lb. python? Or unknowingly worn a safari vest filled with creepy critters? Audience volunteers get to do that and much more!

The Wild World of Animals show is fast-paced and full of energy! The animals in the show range from arthropods, amphibians, reptiles, birds and finally mammals. Don’t blink or you may miss an animal running, slithering, jumping or flying across the stage.

Voted in 2006 as one of the top five ‘edutainment’ shows in the world by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the Wild World of Animals has performed live on television, appearing with Jack Hanna on shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America, and Fox News.

Also making their Cattaraugus County Fair debut will be The Marvelous Mutts - A Canine Spectacular. This thrilling dog sport entertainment showcases some of the world’s finest canine athletes. The dogs amaze audiences as they flip and soar into the air to snatch flying discs out of the air and race through obstacle courses with breathtaking speed.

The Marvelous Mutts have wowed crowds throughout the United States and South America, performing at baseball, football, basketball, soccer games, and equestrian events, fairs, festivals, home shows and pet expos. This seasoned crew of performing canines - all adopted from shelters and rescues and each with an amazing story - will leave everyone with smiles on their faces and believing that any dog can be incredible.

Grandstand Events

Along with the agricultural exhibitions of course, there are a variety of grandstand events and performances to sink your teeth into. One of the most popular events of the fair week is the Demolition Derby, which kicks off Monday night. The premise is simple: take your mom’s Buick or grandma’s Caravan, disassemble and spraypaint it, and smash it into as many other cars as possible until there is nothing left but spewing radiators, popped tires and twisted metal. Sounds like a good time right? The best part: if you survive the first night, you can participate in the championships taking place on Sunday, the closing night of the fair.

A new grandstand event this year is Tony Petersen’s Hell Drivers which hits the dirt Tuesday evening. Similar to other stunt shows you’ve seen in the past here at the fair, the Hell Drivers will bring high speed thrill driving to you, doing things to new vehicles that are sure to make you cringe (and probably inspire you to drive too fast on the way home).

Rounding out the motorsports side of things are the Monster Mash Truck Rally Thursday night (who doesn’t love Bigfoot smashing cars) and the ever-popular USA East Sanction Big Rig Truck Pull and WNY Pro Stock Tractor Pull going down Saturday night. Ever wonder what a jet powered 20,000 lb. semi can do? This is the place to be to find out (not to mention what a sound these things make!)

Headlining Concerts

The Cattaraugus County Fair has a longstanding reputation for bringing in notable musical acts as well. This year is no different with .38 Special hitting the stage Wednesday evening, and Josh Turner (presented by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store) taking the stage Thursday night.

Boasting several #1 Billboard hits, .38 Special are notorious for putting on a killer southern rock show. Tickets for .38 Special start at $15, and it all gets underway with the Jeff Fetterman Band at 8pm. Josh Turner on the other hand, is part of a crop of younger country music stars (as well as an actor) who has had every single one of his songs crack the top 40. Mallory Hope will be opening up for Turner, with Grandstand admission starting at $28.

So there you have it … the 170th Cattaraugus County Fair in a nutshell. You can pick up your presale tickets for this event at any Cattaraugus County Bank location, Olean Area Community Bank, and Gowanda FCU beginning July 1 for $7 (at the gate you’ll pay $9). For more information and a complete schedule of events, click over to or call 716-938-9146. Don’t miss out on this one!

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