GNH Lumber February 2024

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: Notes on the 172nd Columbia County Fair


I DID NOT GROW UP here, so unlike many county residents I can’t say I’ve been going to the Columbia County Fair in Chatham my whole life. But my children can. Of course their lives have only been 6 and 4 years long.

My husband and I have been coming to Chatham, for the fair, the film festival and other local events for over 12 years. At first we were “weekenders,” staying with my parents when we visited, before making the jump ourselves to become fulltime upstate New Yorkers six years ago.

We moved here not only for the real-estate, the schools and having family close by, but for the blooming onions at the fair and the 4-H milk shakes. Sheep shearing is amazing to watch up close, and this year I was blown away by the huge oxen, named Brooks and Dunn, that were hanging out by the milk bar.

I have been to the fair in hot weather and rain. Last year I remember tromping through the downpour to get zeppoles, one of the things on my husband’s “bucket list” of fair food he has to get every year. This year the weather could not have been better. Though sunny and hot on Friday, by Monday the breeze made it lovely to be outside with the family.

The Columbia County Agricultural Society, which runs the fair, did not have attendance figures this week, but the organization says the numbers were good for the demolition derbies Wednesday and Thursday night, there was a big crowd Saturday for the Firefighters Parade and Monster Tractor Pull, and an even bigger one Sunday for the two performances by country artists Diamond Rio.

Elizabeth Meyers of Ghent was named Columbia County Schoolgirl Queen. Representing Taconic Hills High School, she was crowned by last year’s queen, Sarah Elise Risko from New Lebanon. The daughter of Bruce and Sarah Meyers, Elizabeth is a member of the National Honor Society and participates in soccer and select chorus. Her favorite school subject is history. Outside of school, Elizabeth is a 4-H teen ambassador and health ambassador, and enjoys community service projects, sports and baking.

Country crooner Robert Thorpe, 18, of Livingston won the Columbia County’s Got Talent competition August 30 at the fair. Wowing the judges with his rendition of Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This,” he won the Marilyn Barry Memorial Award, named for educator and fair board member who originated the contest three years ago. Robert recently graduated from Red Hook High School and has begun classes at Columbia-Greene Community College.

This year my daughter’s artwork was displayed in the school house with her fellow Ichabod Crane students, winning the Blue Ribbon in the Schoolwork Exhibit. As a life-long fairgoer, that’s something she’ll remember.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email



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