By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
CAIRO — For decades, each July the region’s children have gathered to showcase their talents and agricultural know-how in the annual Greene County Youth Fair.
This year’s fair will kick off on Thursday, July 27, and will continue through the closing ceremonies on Sunday, July 30. The fair will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with fireworks on Saturday at nightfall; the fair will run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, when it will conclude.
The fair, which was established in 1954, has been held for years at Angelo Canna Town Park in Cairo.
Each year there is a theme to the fair — this year’s theme will be “Enchanted Forest.”
The festivities will kick off July 27 with the opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. followed by a day chockfull of activities, from a poultry show to live musical bands to goat shows, a K9 demonstration and an ice cream social.
Exhibits, competitions and demonstrations by local youth and their livestock and other agricultural activities will continue through the weekend with swine shows, Irish step dancing, a 4-H fashion show, a classic car show, rabbit agility and hopping contest, a goat obstacle course and exhibits of horses, ducks, chickens, cows and more.
This year there will be two new shows: a cavy show on Friday, July 28, and a llama/alpaca show on Saturday, July 29. Cavy is a family of rodents, including guinea pigs.
There will also be an array of educational exhibits by agricultural groups, community organizations and others.
With all these exhibits and activities, the cost of admission to the Greene County Youth Fair? It’s free to attend and is billed as the last free fair in New York state.
For nearly 70 years, the Greene County Youth Fair has celebrated the accomplishments of local kids. The event got its start back in 1949 when Alfred Partridge, leader of the Ashland Blue Ribbon 4-H Club, organized a 4-H Club Fair at the Sutton Hollow School in Ashland, according to the organization’s website.
“From this small beginning, the youth fair has developed into the showcase it is today,” according to the website.
In the early years, the fair was moved to the VFW Hall on Route 23 near Windham, and over the years has grown and expanded. By the mid-1950s, the event was renamed the Greene County Youth Fair and in 1957 it moved to Durham, where it remained for 38 years.
In 1995, the decision was made to move the fair to Cairo, at Angelo Canna Town Park, where it has been held ever since.
From its inception, the youth fair’s focus has remained the same — to showcase the work of local children, particularly in agriculture.
“It is impossible to know how many young people have been involved in exhibiting and participating in the Greene County Youth Fair over the years,” according to the website. “There are statistics indicating more than 2,000 exhibits had been made numerous years. The pride of achievement, the wonderful fun times and the friendships made are all great memories for those who participated.”
For more information about the fair and the schedule of events, visit www.thegreenecountyyouthfair.com.