Animal Shows and Contests Entertain Cattaraugus County Fairgoers
by Jeff Cole
Donkeys and rabbits and horse shows, oh my!
The Cattaraugus County Fair is never without its fair share of animal and agricultural events, and this year is no exception.
Kristina Charlesworth, treasurer of the Cattaraugus County Agricultural Society, which runs the fair, said in an e-mail interview with the Times that this year’s fair will have a variety of 4-H and open class agricultural and animal shows. Charlesworth said they primarily stay the same each year and that children are showing in the same classes their parents and grandparents have shown in.
“The kids have been working very hard to prepare for this year’s fair,” she said. “Every show is important to these children, who look forward to it all year.”
Kicking off the 2012 fair, which will run from July 30 to Aug. 5, is a 4-H Western horse show at 8:30 a.m. on July 30. The fair’s first day will also feature a goat show at 10:30 a.m. and 4-H horse driving classes at 4:30 p.m., followed by a horse costume class. A 4-H novice/walk-trot horse show and an open class Holstein and Guernsey show will both take place at 8:30 a.m. on July 31, as will a swine show at 9 a.m. and a 4-H horse gaming show at 5 p.m.
Perhaps no other day is more chocked full of animal and agricultural events than the third day of the fair. The 4-H English horse show will occur at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 1, followed at 9 a.m. by the junior department dairy showmanship, which will precede the junior department dairy show.
At 10 a.m. that day, visitors can watch the junior department sheep show, followed by the open sheep show. Small steeds will be the focus of two afternoon Aug. 1 events, namely the miniature horse pull at 1 p.m. and the miniature horse show at 3:30 p.m. The Entertainment Pavilion will host a cat show that day at 6:30 p.m.
A rabbit/cavy showmanship event will take place at 9 a.m. on Aug. 2, as will a junior department and open class beef show, which will precede a master showman beef show. Two doggone good events are slated for the afternoon that day: a dog knowledge test at 5 p.m. and a dog obedience show at 6 p.m.
Before the monster trucks rumble out into the grandstand area, Aug. 3 will feature an all-breed horse show at 8:30 a.m., a grand championship livestock showman contest at 10:30 a.m. and the Barnyard Olympics at 2 p.m. An open class dairy show (colored breeds) and an all-breeds horse show will lead off the day’s events on Aug.4, which will also include a market animal sale at 1 p.m.
On the final day of the fair, Aug. 5, the 4-H market animals will be released at 7 a.m. and all other animals will be released at 6 p.m. An all-breeds horse show is slated for 8:30 a.m. that day, also.
Undeniably, a major component of the fair is the 4-H, which is a national youth organization sponsored by the Department of Agriculture in rural areas that offers programs such as home economics and agriculture.
“Without the 4-H, we would not be successful. (The) 4-H teaches children to take pride in their arts, crafts and animals,” Charlesworth said. “It also teaches responsibility and character. Our fair is based on the morals of 4-H, supporting the children of the agricultural future.”
And, without the animal and agricultural events, according to Charlesworth, the fair would not be a “fair,” period.
“Yes, we have the motorsports and the rides, but the history of county fairs was built on animal and agricultural events. With the change in the area around us, it is important to support the farmers and their families. In turn, they support us. We have one of the largest dairy exhibits in Western New York, aside from the hundreds of other animals and 4-H/open class domestics projects exhibited,” she said.
General admission including gates and rides is $9. Pre-sale general admission until July 29 is only $7. Senior Citizen Day is Aug. 2 from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. for $6. Youth day for those ages 15 and under is Aug. 1 from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. for $6.
You can purchase pre-sale fair tickets at Cattaraugus County Banks in Little Valley, Salamanca, Jamestown, Randolph, Springville, Cherry Creek, South Dayton, Franklinville and Dunkirk; Olean Area Community Banks; and the Gowanda Area Credit Union. Tickets are also available at the Ellicottville Times office located at 1 Washington St. in the 1887 Building, Room 12.