By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
CAIRO — The Greene County Youth Fair will be in full swing all weekend long.
The fair opens Thursday, July 28, and continues through Sunday, July 31, at Angelo Canna Town Park in Cairo. This year’s theme is “The Wild West.”
The youth fair is one of the few remaining fairs with free admission and entertainment for all. Hundreds of county children will showcase the livestock they raise — from chickens and rabbits all the way up to goats and cows. There will be vendors, kids’ activities, competitions, music and more.
“We have a great variety of animals this year — livestock — and lots of kids showing,” said Alex Johnk, president of the Greene County Agricultural Society, which hosts the fair each year. “We are very excited about it. There are a lot of kids participating this year, so we are very happy about that.”
The youth fair’s opening day will be Thursday and it will continue Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday will be the final day, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In addition to the usual shows and activities, there will be something new this year.
“We will have an amateur logging show on Saturday,” Johnk said. “It will be similar to a timber sports competition but with amateurs. There will be quite a few people competing in that.”
Competitors will chop wood and have chainsaw races, showcasing their skills and speed.
“There are eight different events they compete in — it will be really cool,” Johnk said. “We did a small demo of it last year, kind of as a test run. We planned to do it a couple of years ago, but COVID threw things off. We did the demonstration last year but we have quite a few participants this year so it will be a full-on competition, which will be pretty cool.”
There will also be old favorites back this year, including animals shows, a tractor pull competition, a car show, talent show and musical performances throughout the weekend. A fireworks show will take place at around 9:15 p.m. on Saturday and police and firefighters will be on hand demonstrating their skills as well.
“We will also have a lot of vendors in the tent, as usual,” Johnk said. “There will be giveaways and goodies, and all sorts of groups set up, whether they are organizations that help people here in Greene County or businesses looking to sell their products. There will be a wide variety — we are trying to focus on showcasing Greene County and all the great things it has to offer.”
Earlier this year there was a statewide ban on poultry shows due to the spread of avian flu, but the ban was lifted a few weeks ago and the kids’ poultry competitions are back on.
“That guidance changed about a month ago,” he said. “They opened everything back up and poultry will be back again this year.”
The Greene County Youth Fair, held each year in July, celebrates the accomplishments of local kids and got its start 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 back in 1949, 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 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.
“The fair itself and the raising of livestock is a really great experience that helps kids learn a lot of different responsibilities on their own,” Johnk said. “It’s a great way to teach them a multitude of traits that will help them move forward in their lives, and it’s really cool to be able to showcase the great aspects of agriculture here in Greene County.”
“That is the main focus of the youth fair — to showcase agriculture and what it has to offer here in Greene County,” Johnk continued. “To be able to bring that and the kids together is a really amazing experience.”
For more information about the fair and the schedule of events, visit www.thegreenecountyyouthfair.com.