Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff Grace Leavitt, Joann Leavitt, Charlotte Canary, Elliot Brodie and Hadessa Leavitt take a walk Friday around the fair ground.
Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff Jackson Gray, of Niskayuna and his friends Charlie and Joey Susie, of Fonda, race down the slide Friday at the Fonda Fair.
By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
Recorder News Staff
FONDA -- The Fonda Fair is nearly over, but fairgoers and workers alike have chalked this year up as one of the best.
In addition to being one of the biggest compared to the last several years, the 173rd Fonda Fair has drawn in record crowds each day, making it one of the most well-attended.
"We are averaging around 3,000 people on the ground each day," Fonda Fair Treasurer Kelly O'Kosky said. "We are up about 15 percent and we still have the weekend to get through."
In addition, Thursday's admission of $10 per car load also set a record with 3,000 cars; last year's haul totaled approximately 2,000 cars.
O'Kosky said most of the crowds are appearing at night after dinner.
"I don't know why, but the truck pulls are always a success," O'Kosky said, of the night time attraction. "The rodeo on Tuesday was also a success."
O'Kosky said they are also getting some of the traffic that usually travels on Route 30A.
"They see the fair from the bridge and are curious," she said.
Fonda Fair Director Butch Hazzard stood in the middle of the fairgrounds Friday, gearing up for the weekend events and trying to figure out where they would take place.
He said he was pleased with how successful the fair was so far.
"Every space and every booth is filled. We had to turn away some vendors because we don't have the room. This doesn't happen," Hazzard said.
In addition to many choices of food and concessions, Hazzard said there were several new rides this year, including a ride that looks like a wild claw, zero gravity and a train. The merry-go-round was also redone with new scenery.
Several new events were also added to the schedule, and time slots were filled from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
"The fair is about the children," Hazzard said. "But we have given everyone, young and old, something to do."
In the rides section of the fair, Lisa Robinson, of Gloversville, stood along a gate, watching her children on one of the rides.
Robinson had never been to the Fonda Fair before, but she said she liked it.
"It's not as big as we are used to since we usually go to the fair in Colombia County, but it's cute," she said. "We would come back."
She said the children were excited to come this year and had even saved money in their piggy banks to have some cash for the fair.
Another fairgoer, Flora Schoonmaker, of Amsterdam, sat at a picnic table sharing a bucket of French fries with her husband.
Schoonmaker said she decided to come early to beat the crowds that were expected later in the afternoon.
"I like it like this. It's quiet," she said.
Schoonmaker knows when the crowds come since she has been coming to the Fonda Fair for more than 50 years, since she was a little girl. It is one of the reasons why she still comes.
"It's local and it reminds me of my childhood," she said.
One of the biggest events Friday morning was the baby contest for 1- and 2-year-olds in the Kane Entertainment building of the fair grounds. More than 30 babies sauntered on stage -- with the help of a parent -- and tried to impress the judges. However, only 12 were chosen for the first-, second- and third-place winners for each age group of the boys and girls.
Another highlight was the Indian River Lumberjack Show, which is a new attraction to the fair this year. As the lumberjacks Richard Slingerland and Bob Basco joked with each other, they drew a large crowd of fairgoers who stopped out of curiosity. They kept the crowd laughing and entertained throughout the show, as they climbed high to cut logs, raced on logs floating in water, and cut out souvenirs with chainsaws.
The beginning of the fair almost didn't go according to plan. Heavy rains had flooded out most of the village last Friday and while the fairgrounds were spared from the deluge, a boil water advisory had been put into effect.
The advisory was lifted the morning of opening day Tuesday but then a heavy fog blanketed the fairgrounds and the threat of rain lingered until the afternoon. It wasn't until the sun broke through the cloud cover did the crowds begin to arrive.
Since then, it has only been good weather and fun for all at the fair.
"It has been an awesome week," O'Kosky said. "I encourage everyone to come out this weekend. You don't know what you are missing until you are here."
The fair will continue until Labor Day. Events for Saturday include the baby contest for 3- and 4-year-olds, the Farm Bureau Giant Ice Cream Sundae and Cake at 1 p.m. and demolition derbies at 1 and 6 p.m.
On Sunday, events include Western Horse Show at 9 a.m., the sixth annual Convoy for Kids parade at 11 a.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m.
Labor Day is the final day with the annual Fonda Fair parade at noon followed by the second annual Firemen's Field Day Competition at 1 p.m.