by Jeff Cole
“Western New York’s Best Kept Secret,” the Cattaraugus County Fair, is returning for another year of family-fun entertainment, with everything from musical acts to agricultural events to truck and tractor pulls. The fair, which has been held since 1842, will take place from July 30 to Aug. 5 at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds, 501 Erie St. in Little Valley. General admission, which includes gates and rides is $9 and presale general admission is $7.
Kristina Charlesworth, treasurer of the Cattaraugus County Agricultural Society, which runs the fair, said the fair draws about 75,000 people every year, primarily from Cattaraugus, Allegany and Chautauqua counties. She explained why the fair is called “Western New York’s Best Kept Secret.”
“We’ve been told that a lot, especially by people from the Buffalo area or out of town. They didn’t know that we were here and now they know that we’re here, they kind of discovered a little gem of the county and really enjoyed themselves while they were here,” she said.
New to the fair this year, according to www.cattarauguscofair.com, are Tony Petersen’s Hell Drivers, USA East Sanctioned Big Rig Truck Pull, Wild World of Animals and The Marvelous Mutts. Returning favorites include the Monster Mash Truck Rally and the Western New York Stock Tractor Pull.
The Tony Petersen’s Hell Drivers show, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. July 31 will feature automobiles performing stunts such as high-speed reverse spins, deliberate crashes and tricky two-wheel driving.
The USA East-sanctioned Big Rig Truck Pull and WNY Pro Stock Tractor Pull will occur at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 4. The price of general admission will not cover the event, so a $5 grandstand charge will be added.
According to www.cattarauguscofair.com, the Big Rigs Pulling Series is the oldest and the best of the modified semi-truck pulling programs and features a number of former national and regional championship trucks. The WNY tractor pullers are based out of Springville.
The Wild World of Animals show will include a wide-range of animals, from arthropods to amphibians to reptiles to birds to mammals. Audiences will not only learn about the animals, but will also be able to enjoy their funny antics and awesome natural abilities. Another new animal show, The Marvelous Mutts, will showcase world-class canine athletes flipping and flying through the air to catch flying discs and zooming through obstacle courses.
The Monster Mash Truck Rally will be held at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 3, with Bigfoot, Aftershock, Krazy Train, Sampson, Toxic and Illuminator taking the track. The price of general admission will not cover the event, so a $5 grandstand charge will be added.
Headlining the musical entertainment for this year’s fair will be the Southern rock band 38 Special and country music star Josh Turner. Known for such arena-pop classics as “Hold on Loosely” and “Caught up in You,” 38 Special will perform at 8 p.m. Aug. 1., with special guest The Jeff Fetterman Band. Josh Turner, who has sold more than 5 million albums and garnered numerous multi-week No. 1 hits, will take the stage at 8 p.m. Aug. 2, with special guest star Mallary Hope.
Tickets to 38 Special are $20 for track seating and $15 for grandstand seating. The cost for the Josh Turner concert is $35 for track seating, $30 for bleacher seating and $28 for grandstand seating. The track seats to the Josh Turner concert, according to Charlesworth, have been selling fast.
Of course, a major component of the Cattaraugus County fair is its animal- and agriculture-related events, namely those involving 4-H clubs. These events include a Western Horse Show at 8:30 a.m. July 30, an Open Class Holstein and Guernsey show at 8:30 a.m. July 31, and an All Breeds Horse show at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 3 and Aug. 5.
“4-H is a major area of the fair,” Charlesworth said. “Without the 4-H, we would not be successful. 4-H teaches children to take pride in their arts, crafts, and animals. It also teaches responsibility and character. Our fair is based on the morals of 4-H, supporting the children of the agricultural future.”
Fairgoers might also enjoy going on any or all of the fair’s 21 rides, including the Cliff Hanger, the Flying Bobs and the Zipper.
As for her hopes for this year’s fair, Charlesworth said that they are probably the same as always: that it’s successful, everyone’s safe and that we don’t have much rain. She said the fair’s hometown feeling and all-around value are what keep people coming back.