Little Valley, New York
By Brendan McDermid
As a child some of my favorite summer memories were going to the fair. I’m not sure if it was the cotton candy, candy apples, taffy or fried dough that I liked best but I’m sure all of them have something to do with my memories. I grew up in Buffalo, NY (insert winter weather joke here) which hosts the third largest county fair in the United States and the largest county fair in New York State. But none of my memories are from the Erie County fair.
Growing up my family had a cabin in Cattaraugus County, New York and we’d spent a lot of time there hiking, fishing, sitting around the camp fire and generally running a muck in the outdoors. Each year we’d head over to the Cattaraugus County fair to break up our time at the cabin and to basically give my parents human interaction outside of their five kids, and whatever friends we had staying with us. Like any other fair they have rides, games, entertainment and most importantly deep fried deliciousness! So, naturally as an adult I wanted to relive all the joy and excitement of my youth. Don’t we all?
When I came up with this assignment, one of the things I really wanted to look at was the 4-H program and the kids who take part in it. Growing up, 4-H was not very popular where I lived, but I was always curious because of my experiences at the fair. This week I’ve met some amazing young people like Keenan Tadt, who competed in the English Horse Show and showed her sheep, about 15 minutes apart. She’s best seen in the competition ring wrestling her unruly sheep while still wearing her breeches and riding boots.
Another was Logan Martin, and the Dairy Heirs 4-H chapter whose members includes his cousins, brother and sister, all who have been sleeping with their dairy cows in the fairground barn this week. Logan, who lives about two miles from the fairgrounds and will be attending Morrisville State College for Animal Science in the fall, won the Supreme Champion in the Dairy category.
Today, I’ll be heading back to the fair for my fifth day. For me it’s the most important day; I’m meeting my wife and three daughters there. I haven’t had any fried dough, candy apples or cotton candy all week and I’m hoping to change that today. The Cattaraugus County Fair is being held through August 4 in Little Valley, NY. If you can’t make it there, or the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, NY August 7 – 16, I suggest you look around for a fair close by and don’t just go for the fried dough.