by Rachel Hunter
The 2017 Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair kicked off last Tuesday with an official opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting at the grandstand.
A brief welcome was said by Fair Manager Don Peck. Britney Mulvaney sang the national anthem. Pastor Howard Maxson of the Fowler Baptist Church said the opening prayer.
Fair President Lyle Hotis then said the following: “On behalf of all of our directors, associate directors and our many volunteers, I just want to welcome you to the fair. We sure appreciate your being here. How many of you were here last year for the Charlie Daniels concert? Well, I got news for you… you are back again this year. We are grateful for that. Thank you very much. Every year we have two concerns about these concerts – the weather and the turnout. Fortunately, both of those are looking really good for us. We appreciate your part in that, certainly.”
Fair President Hotis then recognized a couple directors who “went above and beyond the call of duty” this year in preparation for the 2017 fair.
First mentioned was John “Scooter” Wetmore of Gouverneur.
“If you see Scooter and you know him, just thank him for what he has done for the fairgrounds,” Mr. Hotis said. “A lot of it you can’t see. It’s either below ground or above ground – but it is very, very important to us.”
Fair President Hotis said that the other person who “stepped up big time” for the fair is Brennan Shampine of Gouverneur.
“He’s done all kinds of things for us this year,” Mr. Hotis said. “So, if you see those folks, thank them. I really appreciate it. Thank you.”
Fair Events and Activities
Fair Manager Peck then told about some of the upcoming activities at the fair, including the following:
Carlton Peck Band Day on Wednesday, August 2. Mr. Peck commented that there were to be six bands participating in the High School Parade in the afternoon and Firemen’s Parade at night.
Harness Racing was to be held at noon on Thursday, August 3. Admission is free. Opening the grandstand that night was to be the Waydown Wailers, and then The TREWS – a Canadian Rock Band.
The Local Talent Show is to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, August 4.
On Saturday, August 5, there is to be two Tough Truck shows. The afternoon show at 2 p.m. is open to amateurs. All are invited to enter.
“It doesn’t have to be a truck. It can be a demo derby car, a regular car, whatever,” Mr. Hotis said. “We build an obstacle course out here and you go over bumps and around curves and whoever does it the fastest wins.”
Professional Tough Trucks show will be at 7 p.m. on Sunday. There is a $15 charge that will cover both shows.
On Sunday, August 6, there will be a demolition derby at 1 p.m. $15 for adults, $10 for children, 10 years and under.
Fair Manager Peck also announced the ground acts this year.
Eudora Interactive Petting Zoo and Camel Rides are on grounds all week, located alongside the cattle show ring.
“We’ve been on a waitlist for about five years to get them in here,” Mr. Peck said.
Kent Family Circus is also on grounds all week, located behind the Maple Sugar Shack. The shows are about 45 minutes long.
Fair Manager Peck also told the crowd how they opened the area under the grandstand to 23 local vendors and crafters. “We wish you would go under there and support the vendors,” he said to the hundreds gathered.
There are Wristbands every day of the fair. Fair Manager reminded all that Children’s Day was Friday, and encouraged all to visit GouverneurFair.net or stop by the fair office for more information.
Fair President Hotis then promoted the agricultural end of the fair.
“This is an agricultural fair,” Mr. Hotis said. “We wouldn’t be anywhere without the agricultural end of this. It is a very, very important part to us. I am going to introduce Allen Martin who is our key ag director. The fair board at its last meeting thought enough of Allen and his years of service to dedicate the exhibitor’s guide to him this year.
“Also, to mention to you that, as far as I know, four generations of Martins – Allen’s parents, Allen and his brother and sister, their kids, and their kids’ kids all are participating in the fair. So, there’s four generations there. Who better to tell you about the ag end of the fair than our chief ag director, Allen Martin?”
Fair Director Allen Martin of Gouverneur accepted the microphone and said the following:
“As Lyle said, four generations of the Martin family… my father was the junior superintendent before I was born, so I am carrying of the family tradition,” Mr. Martin said.
“But to let you know about the livestock and the cattle shows. We have some of the best cattle in New York State – as a matter of fact, in the nation. A lot of the show winners, go on to show at Louisville, Ky., Madison, Wisc., Harrisburg, Penn. The sheep, they will go down to show in the Big E. Something that has just come on board in the last five or six years, is our chicken show. There are more than 200 over there.
“By all means, go to the other end of the fairgrounds and enjoy what you see there,” Mr. Martin said.
Saturday is the St. Lawrence County Holstein Club’s Black and White Show.
“If you want to see some cows in the Holstein breed, you make sure you are here on Saturday,” Mr. Martin said. “Thank you very much.”
A ceremonial ribbon-cutting was then held with Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Bob Ritchie and Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ronald McDougall cutting the ribbon. They were assisted by the fair officials.
A huge crowd then saw country artist Josh Turner perform at the grandstand for the opening night concert. Full coverage on that event will be included in next week’s Gouverneur Tribune Press.
by Rachel Hunter