By GARY BONNAS
As an avid Chautauqua County Fair visitor over the years, it was my opinion that the Dunkirk event has been going downhill due to the rides, the operators and the fairgrounds being a total mess.
Well the 2013 edition of the Chautauqua County Fair was a total transformation of a new fair thanks to the committee changing over to the Bates Brothers that changed the history of the fair this year. With new rides that were cleaner, better maintained, I have never seen the fairgrounds that clean before.
Yes there were some problems with the unequal amount of rides for all age groups, such as my niece Faye who was both too short or too tall for some of the kids rides so she was limited to three rides. Maybe due to the Bates Brothers new season at Dunkirk, maybe next if they return they will have equal rides for all age groups of kids regardless of size requirements.
As for the demos, there was problems with certain drivers who spent time hiding on the track without hitting until the heat was almost over before hitting anyone and one party got into the final judging. Yes the officials caught a few not obeying the rules, but there were several driver's door hits that were missed as well. I would recommend videos of the heats so fair judging can be called if drivers or spectators feel the heat was unfair due to certain technicalities.
I would like to see seating in the ride areas for the adults, as it's been in the past. They were aluminum benches with the J&J logos and if somebody doesn't remember look at your fair pictures. The benches by the barns are too far away from the rides for adults with disabilities or handicaps to be able to watch their kids on rides.
Gary Bonnas is a Portland resident.