By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
ALTAMONT — The Altamont Fair opens today and will continue through Sunday.
Running from Aug. 16 to 21, the fair will have something for everyone — from carnival rides and games to a circus, demolition derby, and “Sea Lion Splash,” a presentation showcasing a team of rescued sea lions and their handlers.
This will be the first year the sea lion demonstration will be held at the Altamont Fair.
Daily events will also include a 4-H exhibit, wildlife museum exhibit, baby animals, agriculture activities and demonstrations, a hypnotist, lumberjack show and much more.
Wednesday will be Armed Service and Senior Day, with military service members, seniors and Grange members admitted free of charge.
The Royal Hanneford Circus will perform three shows every day of the fair, from Tuesday through Sunday, at 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Performances will include jugglers, aerial acts, dog antics and clowns. The demolition derby — with plenty of screeching metal and smashing cars — will be held the final day of the fair, on Sunday at 5 p.m.
The Altamont Fair got its start in Albany when it hosted the county’s first fair in 1819, sponsored by the Albany Agricultural Society, according to the fair’s website. The first fairs were focused on livestock and the occasional horse race, and the fair continued to be held in Albany or surrounding towns until 1892.
It was in August of 1892 when a public meeting was held in Altamont to consider the possibility of hosting an annual fair in the town. The Albany County Fair was first hosted in Altamont in 1893.
Over the years the fair has grown, and so have the fairgrounds, which now cover 138 acres. Several buildings were constructed for fair use over more than a century, and continue to host activities and events each year. Auto racing was added in 1910.
The fair continues to evolve.
“Throughout the last 10 years over $1 million has been invested in the grounds and buildings,” according to the fair website. “This expansion includes the construction of the Commercial Building, Cow Barn and Administration.”
“The fair is designed to bring out the best in entertainment, provide an educational experience and showcase local history and traditions.”
There are two entrances to the Altamont Fair — at Route 156, or Altamont Boulevard, and Route 146. Do not use Grand Street, as that entrance is for pedestrians only, according to the fair’s website.
Tickets are $22, with free admission for children under 36 inches tall.
For more information and the schedule of events, visit www.altamontfair.com.