Chautauqua County Fair opens for 138th year

OBSERVER Photo by Mary Heyl Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello welcomed all to the opening of the 138th Chautauqua County Fair, where he fired the ceremonial cannon on Monday morning.

With more than 1,600 livestock entries and 3,200 creative arts exhibits, the Chautauqua County Fair is bigger than ever, a fact that was celebrated by dozens of local and state officials on Monday morning.

At 10:30 a.m., Fair Board President Dave Wilson welcomed all to the 138th year of the Chautauqua County Fair. He thanked his fellow board members and volunteers, as well as the many corporate sponsors who made this year’s fair possible. Wilson invited Katrina Fuller of Congressman Tom Reed’s office to share his proclamation honoring the opening of the fair, which was followed by District 150 Assemblyman Andy Goodell’s enthusiastic opening remarks.

“The county fair not only highlights our great agricultural interests here, but it also highlights 4-H,” he said. “It is a great opportunity for our residents to come out and see what’s going on in our agricultural sector, meet with these great 4-H-ers and see their animals, which are the best-raised animals in the world, right here in Chautauqua County!”

Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello welcomed all in attendance and recognized the hard work that goes into organizing the fair each year. “This is a really great opportunity for us to highlight agriculture, the number-one industry in Chautauqua County and throughout our region,” Borrello said. “It’s more than just a place for people to come and enjoy some rides and great food, but for us to understand the impact of agriculture and the folks of 4-H: the kids that work so hard, all year long, to raise and showcase their animals. Thank you for all you do.”

Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas recognized the importance of the fair and expressed his gratitude for the positive impact it continues to have on the Dunkirk community. “As mayor, I stand proudly before you, and on behalf of our city residents, I welcome everyone associated with the fair here,” he said. “The fair brings in many people who otherwise wouldn’t be here, and we welcome all of them here. Our city businesses and merchants stand to benefit from the economic boost that the fair brings in to the city.”

Wilson thanked and recognized several local officials who attended the fair opening. Chautauqua County legislators in attendance included Kevin Muldowney, district 1; Kevin O’Connell, district 6; Mark Odell, district 7; Christine Starks, district 4; P.J. Wendel, district 10, chairman; and Dave Wilfong, district 11. Fredonia village trustees Roger Britz and Doug Essek were also in attendance.

Wilson invited all to participate in a tour of the 4-H buildings and exhibits led by Emily Reynolds, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Chautauqua County. “Over the past few years, we’ve made vast improvements in the ag barns,” said Wilson. “Thank you to the Department of Agriculture and Markets. They have an Agricultural Fairgrounds Infrastructure Improvements program, and I’ve been grant writing the last number of years. We’ve been lucky enough to secure three $100,000 grants from Ag and Markets.”

Reynolds’ tour of the 4-H building showcased these grant-funded improvements, which include new flooring in the hog barn and rabbit/chicken barn, construction of a brand new goat arena and the installation of new aluminum bleachers in the show ring. Other improvements include additional electricity to the first four animal barns located near the entrance to the fairgrounds.

The opening ceremony concluded with a boom that could be heard throughout the fairgrounds: “I’m so proud to be your county executive and so proud to once again fire the cannon to start our great tradition of the Chautauqua County Fair!” said Borrello.

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