SANDY CREEK — In its 162nd iteration, the annual Oswego County Fair is aiming to strike a balance between educating residents on the importance of agriculture in the county and delivering a fun experience for attendees of all ages.
The fairgrounds opened their doors to visitors Aug. 6, with activities scheduled every day showcasing the “Best Days Ever” theme until Aug. 11 through cattle exhibits, cattle showmanship classes and competitions, bicycle raffles and a multitude of vendors.
“I think it is really important for our youth to be involved in these fairs and our community to know where our produce is coming from and help to grow it and be part of that,” said Peggy Florian from Fulton’s Vintage Acres farms. “I think it is a great education for all of them. We encourage it and we have our kids here.”
The fair has daily presentations of different aspects of livestock grooming, showcasing various livestock including dairy cattle, poultry, sheep and alpacas.
Oswego County Legislator Heather DelConte, D-Volney, operates Black Creek Farm in Volney and was on hand for Wednesday’s junior beef show.
“The judge is not looking at the quality of the animal, they are looking at how the handler can show the animal and show it off and show its strengths and weaknesses,” said DelConte, whose family participated at the show. “It is about how you are grooming the cattle, that all goes into the showmanship class.”
DelConte added Lyons farmer and judge Robert Groom was helpful to young showmen and women.
“This judge spent a lot of time teaching them while he was judging,” she said. “It is really great for our kids in Oswego to benefit from his expertise today. They are learning how to best show their cattle and groom their cattle.
The county fair presents an opportunity for young farmers to see their hard work over the winter pay off, DelConte said.
“This is the carrot in front of their nose,” she added. “We have horribly difficult winters and agriculture is difficult, especially raising livestock in this county. For the youth, it gets them through cracking ice all winter and all of the moving manure in 5 feet of snow. All that is to be able to come here and show off their animals. To be able to do this is a reward for them.”
Further, DelConte said the emphasis on agriculture shows it is “alive and well” in Oswego County.
“We have excellent livestock,” she added. “We have a very diverse county when it comes to agriculture and this is the place to show it off."
Oswego County Agricultural Society Secretary and County Fair organizer Corine Mautz-Burnett said she wants the fair to showcase good times to be had in the county, as well as being informative on agriculture.
“We want to incorporate the fun of the fair as well with this year’s theme,” she said. “It is not just about the education, but we also want to highlight the magic of the fair.”