Capital Region county fairs 2013

Summer scene fair by Crystal Powell

An annual summer scene. / photo: Crystal Powell

It's July and that means county fair season will soon begin in the Capital Region. Saratoga gets things started July 16, and the season stretches through September 2.

Here's a rundown of county fairs around the region.

Remember: a fair is best enjoyed while eating some sort of food on a stick.

Saratoga County Fair
When: July 16-21
Where: Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa.
How much: $10. Season ticket is $30. Shorter than 52 inches is free.

This is the 172nd year for the Saratoga County Fair. (Though there was an earlier version -- "basically a one day cattle show" -- that ran from 1819-1824.)

Schoharie County Sunshine Fair
When: July 27-August 3
Where: Cobleskill
How much: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and free for children under 13.
4-day passes are available online at $35 for adults until July 26. After the start of the fair, they're $40.

The grand marshals for this year's fair parade (July 31) are the Fabulous Beekman Boys.

Altamont Fair
When: August 13-18
Where: Altamont Fairgrounds
How much: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday - $15. Friday, Saturday, Sunday - $17. "Includes shows, parking, and unlimited rides." Kids under 36-inches tall are free -- but they're not allowed to ride the rides.

The Altamont Fair is the county fair for Albany, Schenectady, and Greene counties.

Washington County Fair
When: August 19-25
Where: Washington County Fairgrounds, Greenwich
How much: Adults $10 ($9 before August 1). Children under 14 are free. All-week pass is $30 ($27 before August 1). Free admission for all active military service members with military ID.

Admission does not include carnival rides. During the fair, ride tickets are $1 each. But if you buy before August 18, you can get 20 ride tickets for $8. "Each carnival ride takes 2 to 5 tickets - 1 less per ride on Chldren's Day."

Fonda Fair
When: August 27-September 2
Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Fonda
How much: $10.00 Adults, kids 6-11 years old - $2.00, kids under 6 - free. Free admission for active military service members with military ID. Parking $2.

This is the 172nd year for the Fonda Fair.

Columbia County Fair
When: August 28-September 2
Where: The fairgrounds are in Chatham
How much: Adults $10 (Sunday is $12). It's $8 every day if purchased before August 27. Kids 12 and under free. Free admission for active military members with military ID or uniform. (Ride passes are $15-$20 depending on day.)

This is the 173rd Columbia County Fair.

Schaghticoke Fair
When: August 28-September 2
Where: Schaghticoke Fairgrounds in Schaghticoke
How much: Adults $11. Opening Day is $5. Season pass is $35. Children under 13 are free. Unlimited rides pass is $20 Wednesday-Friday, $21 Saturday-Monday. Advance admission tickets available at at Price Chopper until the end of August 27 are $9, and unlimited rides ticket is $17.

"The 3rd oldest fair in New York State."

Earlier on AOA:
+ 2011: Signs of the times at the Columbia County Fair
+ 2011: How county fairs connect us to local farms
+ 2010: Ferris Wheel, nine ways


What's missing from this list?
It's the biggest of all county fairs and WORTH the trip. You're in Rhinebeck, make a day of it.
Augst 20-25

@ajw93: Thanks for the suggestion. What makes the fair worth the trip? (Please say a notably wide variety of food on a stick.)

Full disclosure, it's the fair I grew up with. However in recent years I have returned, and while like a school it seems somehow smaller (because I am bigger), it is still pretty great.

Also it should be noted that I have a deep and abiding love of county fairs, which cannot really be overstated. (My avatar's a Ferris wheel!) I am making formal requests for time off in order to visit ALL the fairs on this list.

That said. DCF does indeed offer:
-WIDE varieties of foods on -- and off -- sticks, available from stands both on and off the midway, as well as annual favorites from the permanently installed Food Row, operated by local churches, charities, and businesses (Regina Coeli Church Steak Sandwiches, Turkey Sandwich Booth, 4H Milkshakes).
-All the deep-fried goodies. (oreos, pickles, whatever)
-Beer tents
-Permanent exhibit buildings that include a sugar house and a blacksmith shop, as well as all the usual fair exhibits and shopping
-This year: Loverboy and Night Ranger (!)
-A reasonable midway with many of your favorites (roundup, spider, ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl, flying bobs, that hang glider ride, swings, etc)
-Really pretty good livestock, including several horse shows

DCF is large and popular, so traffic can be quite a problem. But with a little planning (go early, go on a weekday, look into alternate routes from the thruway in case of traffic) it is worth the trip!

I second Dutchess. I have an affinity for it because I went to college there and always went to the fair, but after visiting many of the above fairs, I still think Dutchess is the best.

I too grew up with the Dutchess County Fair, and it's still my favorite as well.

The 4H milkshake is by far the best deal at the fair (okay, at ANY fair) and super tasty too. The shakes are closely followed by any of the church booths selling food.

But, I have to say, one of my favorite things about the fair is the trees along the paths that provide a wonderful shade for you to stroll along so you don't fry to a burnt crisp like some other fairs that are just plopped down in the middle of an open field. What can I say? I'm a very fair Irish girl. :)

@ajw93: You had me at 'beer tents'.

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