The Chautauqua County Fair Grounds was buzzing with activity on Sunday afternoon.
There were animals in the barns. Dan Crowell of Green Banks Farm in South Dayton was using a blow dryer on his Holstein calf. He explained, "The back of the calf should be straight. By trimming the fur, I can make the line level."
Others were hosing off cows in a fenced area outside the barn. Mikayla Peterson, a 4-H member from Frewsburg explained she wasn't getting her animals ready for showing just yet.
OBSERVER Photos by Diane R. Chodan
Top: Mikayla Peterson, a 4-H member from Frewsburg, took her animals outside so they could be hosed off. She wasn’t getting them ready for showing yet; just getting them cleaned off a little.
Dan Crowell of Green Banks Farm in South Dayton uses a blow dryer on his Holstein calf. Crowell said the back of a calf should be as straight as possible. One way to help accomplish this is by carefully trimming the fur.
"I just want to clean them up a little," she said.
Vendors were setting up displays of their products and concession stand workers were getting ready to satisfy hungry fairgoers.
Gretchen (Santillo) Martino of Naples, N.Y., explained she had just taken over Santillo's, a business that was run by her dad, Louie Santillo. The food concession has been coming to this fair for more than 50 years. According to her employee, the best sellers are the cheesesteak and the sausage sandwiches.
Martino agreed. "We have a good spot near the entrance. Some people come back year after year for those," she said.
Michael Lary, who runs a soft-serve ice cream stand called Utterly Delicious that won an award for best vendor last year, stood near the wooden "purple cow figures" and joked, "Black raspberry ice cream comes from purple cows."
The 4-H snack bar was already open for business. Those who were already at the fair with their animals, as well those working to set up the fair, were patronizing the popular stand, noted for its cheeseburgers, sloppy joes and "real" milkshakes. The 4-H members take a turn at working at the snack bar and parents often join them. The snack bar money used to be earmarked to fund career trips for members, but because of Chautauqua County not funding 4-H, it is now being used to keep the basics going in the county.
Exhibits in both Floral Hall and the 4-H display building were already up and ready to go. Judging was almost over in the afternoon. Mary Ellen Dayton, co-superintendent at Floral Hall, explained a wide variety of exhibits including agricultural products, flowers, homemade foods, fine arts, crafts, antiques, collectibles, photography, and education were housed there.
Cheryl Robinson, the 4-H building superintendent, said, "The kids did a great job here." She also said there are some 4-H clubs celebrating their 75th anniversary.
Surprisingly enough there was already activity at the fair. A Red Cross blood bank was operating Sunday afternoon near Gate 2. In addition, there was an open class pig show going on.
One of the mothers explained that this was for both 4-H and non 4-H members. She had three children competing. Two were not in 4-H and one was. The youngsters used sticks to try to make the pig behave.
The fair office was doing a brisk business selling advance tickets to those who had waited until the last possible minute to purchase them. Ticket sales have gone well, and while there are still seats for the demolition derby, those have been selling briskly.
James Tytka of Sheridan, in charge of fire safety and security for the fair, was in a golf cart with his daughter making sure the signage was properly placed and everything was all ready for the opening today. Tytka, who also volunteers with the Silver Creek Fire Department, was looking forward to a safe and successful fair.
"If people abide by the signs, this should be a safe fair," he said.
Let the fair begin.