July 30, 2013

Essex County Fair kicks off Wednesday

WESTPORT — Westport Supervisor Daniel Connell lost his milking crown at last year’s Essex County Fair, but he intends to reclaim it.

The 165th Essex County Fair begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday, with an official opening ceremony at 5:45 p.m. at the fairgrounds off Route 9N in Westport.

The Milking Contest is at 6 p.m. in the fair arena, where Connell and other members of the County Board of Supervisors will go up against the 2012 champion milker, Schroon Town Supervisor Michael Marnell.

Connell, who grew up on a dairy farm, had held the top milker title until Marnell bested him at the last fair.

“I am taking back the title,” Connell said Monday. “You can count on that. I’m disappointed I lost the contest last year, but I’m going to win it back.”


The Board of Supervisors holds a milking contest every year as part of the fair’s opening ceremonies. Cows are brought into the arena, and town leaders sit at stools next to them, tugging at teats and hoping to be the one to draw the most milk and win.

Marnell said he plans to hold on to the title.

“I’m going to be the winner again, no doubt of it. I beat a professional last year.”

He said it had been 58 years since he last milked a cow.

“Dan is my biggest competition,” he said. “He’s been practicing. He’s had cow manure all over his shoes all week.”


The fair itself has several new acts and shows this year, Fair Coordinator James Westover said.

“Chris Higbee will be here from Pennsylvania. He’s an excellent country fiddle player. He’s bringing his band.”

Higbee will perform at 5 p.m. Sunday at the grandstand.

Westover said a Car Rollover and Figure 8 Contest will be held at 6 p.m. Friday on the track, with a $3 admission.

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