By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
After a year off because of COVID, the Otsego County Fair is back for 2021 with almost a whole week’s worth of events.
The Fair, which takes place between Tuesday, Aug. 3, and Sunday, Aug. 8, will feature events including
the demolition derby, a rodeo, a magician, a tractor pull show, harness racing and many other attractions.
The fair has an average yearly attendance of 30,000 people. This will be the 75th year of the fair.
Fair manager Lisa Jones said in spite of the difficulties of last year and the pandemic, the 2021 Fair will proceed as normal.
“We’re hoping for big crowds but the fair itself will be normal,” Jones said.
One change is instead of having a bike giveaway, there will be a toy giveaway.
There will also be a “Think Differently Day,” Wednesday, Aug. 4, which is aimed at people with
sensitivity issues, including people with autism and others with special needs. There will be no lights and no sounds and a tent where people who have problems with sensory overload can go to calm down.
The biggest attraction at the Fair is the demolition derby, which Jones said will most likely attract the
“biggest crowd.” However, she also said “the rodeos are getting a lot of attention.”
“People go nuts over those semi-pulls,” Jones said.
In addition to the main attractions, there will be a lot of new food vendors, including new smoothie and lemonade vendors. It will be the “same food and a lot of new vendors,” Jones said.
The Farmers’ Museum is also going to be a part of the Fair. Jones said she was happy the museum
requested a spot.
Saturday, Aug. 7 is going to be kid’s day, when the toy giveaway will take place. Head Start will be having pedal tractor pulls and balloons will be handed out.
Despite the recent flooding in Morris and other parts of the Butternut Valley, Jones said there was
“absolutely no damage from the flood” at the fairground.
There will be hand-washing stations and other safety precautions at the fairgrounds.
The Otsego County Department of Health is also having a pop-up clinic where they will be giving out the Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. There will be special incentives for getting vaccinated at the fair, including gift cards.
“I think it’s going to look pretty normal,” Jones said, in spite of the previous COVID closure.
Jones said that one thing that is going to be different is that there will be a box office for the bandstand.
The Otsego County Fair has a long history. It dates back to 1877, when the Department of State issued a charter that incorporated the Butternut Valley Agricultural Society, which eventually became the Morris Fair Association in 1898. In 1938, it stopped running due to lack of funds. However, in 1948 it was started up again under the name The Otsego County Fair Association.
The land that has been used for the fairgrounds was donated by the Franchets family of Morris.
Overall, Jones said she is looking forward to this year’s Fair. “I’m very optimistic,” Jones said. “I think it’s going to be one of the best we’ve ever had.”
Season passes are $20, with free parking all weekend. Go to www.otsegocountyfair.com for the full schedule and other information.