Now in its 173rd year, the Cattaraugus County Fair will make its way to the fairgrounds in Little Valley, NY from August 3-9. This year, the fair promises to be more exciting than ever, as fun agricultural events, nightly grandstand entertainment, and A-list country star Trace Adkins offer something for every member of the family. According to Kristina Charlesworth, whose family has been organizing the fair for twenty-two years, “There isn't much out there that offers as much entertainment in a family-friendly environment as our fair does!”
Few things are more iconic or well-loved as the American county fair, and the Cattaraugus County Fair has long been a part of this great history. Since the mid-19th century, county fairs have celebrated the latest in local agricultural achievements, including agricultural machinery, livestock, produce, canning, and handmade crafts, such as needlework. Beginning in 1842, the Cattaraugus County Fair has promoted developments in agriculture - particularly with the younger generations aspiring to careers and/or hobbies in agriculture. In fact, one of the most anticipated annual traditions are the 4-H shows in which area youth proudly exhibit the animals they’ve been raising all year.
Fair attendees are invited to explore the various agriculture barns throughout the fairgrounds, where 4-H students are eager to share their experience raising all kinds of animals, including chickens, cows, goats, horses, pigs, rabbits, and sheep. According to Charlesworth, “Agriculture is the heart of our fair and we look forward to seeing the end result that all their hard work produces each year.” Fair-goers have several opportunities to observe this end result at the many 4-H shows, including the goat shows, donkey and mule shows, rabbit shows, sheep shows, and even the barnyard Olympics! The annually-anticipated Open Horse Show will take place on Sunday, Aug. 2 at 10am (the day before the fair officially opens), which is open to the public. For more details about the livestock shows as they become available, visit www.cattarauguscofair.com/agriculture.asp.
Charlesworth emphasizes the daily entertainment at the fair that is included with every admission. In addition to unlimited midway rides, general admission also covers annual attractions such as Commerford’s Petting Zoo and chainsaw carving. The Olde Indian Lumberjack Show takes place three times each day and shares with audiences the history and strength of the American lumberjack in a fun demonstration. Charlesworth noted that another popular daily event is the “Pork Chop International Speedway Arena,” in which Swifty Swine Racing Pigs compete for the grand prize: an Oreo cookie! New for 2015 are Vicenta’s Tiger Show and a live puppet show, which will also take place three to four times daily throughout the week.
The Cattaraugus County Fair has long been known for having some of the best grandstand entertainment in New York State. During the first three days of the fair, grandstand events are included in general admission, so fair-goers can stay through the evening to watch the Demolition Derby on Monday, the Pro-Tractor Pull on Tuesday, and Figure 8 racing on Wednesday (all events begin at 7:30pm). On Friday night, the Monster Truck Rally will take place and feature new hard-hitting trucks that will take this particular variety of motorsports to a new level. For just $6, audiences can enjoy the widely acclaimed trucks Higher Education, Black Stallion, Big Foot, Equalizer, and Red Solo Truck.
Charlesworth is most excited to announce the biggest grandstand event of the week: Trace Adkins in concert on Thursday, Aug. 6 at 8pm. The Grammy-nominated member of the Grand Ole Opry is a TV personality, actor, author, and spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Program and the American Red Cross. To date, Trace Adkins has produced almost a dozen studio albums since his debut in 1995, and his number one hits have made him a household name in country music. Charlesworth is excited to welcome Adkins back to the Cattaraugus County Fair, and so are this year’s fair-goers: “The track is almost sold out. He was an awesome performer in 1999 when he was here and promises to be even better this year!” Ticket prices for Trace Adkins are $35 for track seating, $30 for bleachers, and $28 for grandstand seating and are available at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds or by calling 716-938-9146. Please note: concert tickets do not include gate admission to the fairgrounds.
Few forms of entertainment are as great a value as general admission to the Cattaraugus County Fair. Admission is only $10 at the gate and includes unlimited midway rides and grandstand events during the first three days of the fair. Charlesworth encourages fair-goers to take advantage of presale tickets, which are available from July 1-Aug. 1 for just $7. Presale tickets can be purchased at the Fairgrounds, Olean Area Community Banks, and Cattaraugus County Banks in Dunkirk, Franklinville, Jamestown, Little Valley, Randolph, Salamanca, South Dayton, and Springville. Wednesday, August 5 (8am-4pm) is Youth Day: general admission for children ages 15 and under is just $6. Thursday, Aug. 6 (8am-4pm) is Senior Citizen Day, when general admission is also discounted to $6.
Whether this is one’s first or fiftieth year attending the Cattaraugus County Fair, there’s no better year to be a part of this 173-year-old tradition. To learn more about the agricultural events, daily entertainment, and grandstand events, visit www.cattarauguscofair.com or call 716-938-9146.