October 23, 2021

Fair days ahead in July

Preparations now underway for 65th annual county junior fair

Photos by Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Volunteer Shawn Sweeney trims weeds at the junior fairground Tuesday in Cortlandville. This year’s edition of the fair runs from July 10-14.

CORTLANDVILLE — Annika Donlick, 14, has been showing heifers at the Cortland County Junior Fair for six years and in 12 days she had plans to once again hit the arena with a dairy heifer and beef heifer.

For Donlick it all started with the Dairy Rodeo. “I fell in love with showing the dairy,” she said.

On July 10, the 65th Cortland County Junior Fair kicks off and runs to July 14. The fair began in 1953 after the Cortland County Fair closed due to lack of funding, according to the fair’s website.

Over the course of the week, fair goers can see and participate in a number of events, including food and nutrition exhibits, veggie car race, the pie social, animal costume contest and much more.

New this year is a 5K race. “Some girls on the (fair) board have done 5Ks and thought we should do one at the fairgrounds,” said Fair Superintendent Richard Bush.

Last year, a bike giveaway and money grab were started, Bush said. This year those will continue. “Everything gets reinvented after a while,” he said.

The money grab features a pile ofshavings with a couple of hundred dollars, of assorted bills, hidden within. Children are set loose to search and claim as much money as they can, said Martha Bush, vice president of the fair board.

Live bands will also return this year. Years ago, the fair used to host the bands and this year they were brought back to draw more people to the Midway, Martha Bush said. On July 11, Explosion; July 13, the Stompbox Willy Band; and on July 14, Tink Bennett & Tailor Made.

Fair schedule

July 10 – Poultry show at noon and Fair Queen contest at 7 p.m.
July 11 – Food and nutrition exhibits 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., veggie car race at 11 a.m., livestock shows at noon to 3 p.m., midway opens from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
July 12 – Dairy Goat show at 9 a.m., Dairy Cattle Showman at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., animal costume contest at 6 p.m. and annual pie social at 7 p.m.
July 13 – Horticulture exhibits at noon, dairy cattle birthing center opens at 1 p.m. and Iron Chef contest at 3 p.m.
July 14 – Children’s Day Ride Special from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., bike giveaway and youth money grab at 5 p.m. and fireworks at dusk.

For a full list of events check out the Cortland County Junior Fair website.

An Iron Chef contest will return to pit teams of kids against each other to make the best dish.

The birthing center also returns, Martha Bush said. This will be the third year for the birthing center and during the first two years around 12 calves have been born at the fair, Martha Bush said.

If people are looking to check out the fair, there is one thing they should know. “It’s all youth-oriented,” Martha Bush said.

4-H members, from left, Katie Metcalf, 12, Olivia Zakarewicz, 9, and Blaine DuVall sweep the presentation building Tuesday at the fairgrounds.

Annika Donlick plans to show the heifers July 12 and 13. The dairy heifer she plans to show will be around 9 months old, she said. Depending on age the animal can be hard to handle, but some are more mellow. Last year at the fair she took home the blue ribbon for showmanship, she said.

Annika’s sister, Elsie Donlick, 11, also plans to show heifers. It’ll be her first year as for showing a beef heifer. “It’s different,” Elsie said. Beef shows are faster than the dairy. “It’s a different line up,” she said.