Driving along Homer Avenue — windows down to invite an unseasonably cool summer breeze to tousle your hair — the tune of laughter becomes clearer the closer you go to the Cortland County Fairgrounds.
The ferris wheel peeks over the tops of the neighboring buildings, and as you join the other cars parked on the lawn.
Soon the aroma of corn dogs and funnel cakes fills the air.
Saturday was the fifth and final day of the annual Cortland County Junior Fair, and hundreds of people attended to ride rollercoasters, listen to live music and finish off the day with a fireworks display.
“It’s been fun,” said Chasity Currie, of Cortland. “The kids really liked the slide.”
Currie and her friends have been coming to the fair for many years.
“I feel like every year it gets smaller,” said Mackenzie Sherman, of Cortland. Currie agreed, saying this year’s fair may have been smaller than past years, but it was exactly what they expected this summer.
Saturday’s line-up included an antique tractor pull, 4-H and Future Farmers of America contests, a dairy show and more. The cows were a particular hit with the kids, Sherman said.
Dryden resident Rachel Saroka also brought her daughter to the fair — watching her go on one rollercoaster after another until she was in need of a snow cone break.
Saroka’s daughter, Eliana Tompkins, celebrated her sixth birthday on Thursday and was determined to keep the fun going throughout the week.
“I had fun on the rollercoaster!” she said, before clarifying she rode every rollercoaster she could.
“I had fun, and I was laughing.”
The mother-daughter duo live near a farm in Dryden, so seeing livestock isn’t too out of the ordinary. However, the chorus of gobbling from the turkey brought a smile to Tompkins’ face.
“My favorite part is just watching her have fun,” Saroka said. “We’re about to check out the cows — earlier we were checking out the goats, chickens and rabbits. Her favorite part was the turkey.”
Tompkins confirmed this with a big nod and a well-done “gobble-gobble” turkey sound of her own.
“It was great, kind of getting back to an almost-normal life,” Saroka said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns throughout the past year. “It’s a good place for families to come and check out animals, have some fun on the rides and eat some good food.”