Updated 08/15/2012 05:51 PM
193rd annual Steuben County Fair
For nearly two centuries, people have been making the Steuben County Fair an annual summer time tradition. As our Bill Mich tells us, the weeklong event delivers the fun you expect from a fair, but also works to educate everyone who comes through the gates.
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STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Steuben County Fair opened on Tuesday marking its 193rd continuous year, the longest running streak in the country. There is no denying that some years were tougher than others, but organizers attribute team work as the reason why the fair has never missed a year.
"We have 15 people on the board of directors and we have three associate directors and we work year round. It is not just one week. And we have to do the maintenance on the grounds, fix the beds and everything. That's how we keep it going. Actually working together to make a better environment for the public and for us too," said Mary Learn, the Fair's Manager and Secretary.
The environment at the fair is designed for family fun. Everything from games, pig races, rides and carnival food are what bring in nearly 35,000 people on an annual basis. But while those visitors are on the fairgrounds, organizers and staff believe it is a great time to try and educate people as well. Agriculture is well represented at the fair, particularly dairy farming.
"It's an enormous, enormous industry. And the last figures that I saw were something like a $21 million a year industry in this county," said Thomas Tomsa, the Executive Director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Steuben County.
To stress the importance of the dairy industry, there were displays and educational videos available, as well as the chance to see some of the county's dairy producers.
"Advancing agriculture into the next century, particularly the aspects of local foods. Keeping our agricultural products local, producing for local and markets and keeping the dollars from food products and agricultural products cycling in our local economy is a big priority," said Tomsa.
People come for the fun but if they leave with some new knowledge about what makes the county thrive, then they've gotten the full fair experience.