MALONE -- Organizers of the 160th edition of the Franklin County Agricultural Fair are inviting people to celebrate the simple, rural North Country life.
The annual fair begins this Saturday and concludes Sunday, Aug. 15.
"The theme this year is Rediscovering Our Agricultural Roots," said Hugh Hill, an Ag Society board member and president of the Greater Malone Chamber of Commerce.
"Most people don't know that 75 percent of our grounds are dedicated to agriculture," he said, indicating the horse arena, goat pens, vegetable hall and cattle barn.
"There is more than $100,000 in premium money being awarded this year."
Franklin County's fair has become the premier showcase for some of the state's most highly prized cattle, "and we're proud of that," Hill said.
In fact, the Board of Directors has had to separate colored cattle breeds from Holsteins and others because there are too many entries for the judging categories.
"We only have so many stalls in our quarter-mile-long barn," Hill said. "We have the colored breeds for the first few days. Then on Wednesday, they leave, and the Holsteins and beef cattle are brought in.
"We have a hard time squeezing them all in."
Hill said a little-known attraction within the cattle barn is the working dairy operation that is established during Fair Week.
People are welcome to visit the milking area and see one aspect of dairy farming "up close and personal," he said.
A bulk tanker is on the premises to collect the milk from the exhibiting cows.
"Then it's hauled away, and we get a check," Hill said.
"The cows have got to be milked, right? The farmers like it. It's a tradition."
GUARD ROCK WALL
A new element to this year's fair will be the addition of a rock-climbing wall in the grandstand infield, sponsored by the New York Army National Guard.
It will be available for the public to try from 10 a.m. until closing from Thursday, Aug. 12, to Sunday, Aug. 15.
A parade will also be held for the first time during the intermission of the "Franklin County Has Talent" show at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12.
Marching bands, floats, antique cars, decorated bicycles, horses, clowns, fire trucks and more are invited to participate.
"We have our Rediscovering our Agricultural Roots theme, and we are trying to re-emphasize our roots as an agricultural exposition," Hill said.
Anyone wishing to participate in the parade must register by calling 483-3760 or 483-2292.
To learn more about the fair, call 483-0720 or visit www.frcofair.com.
E-mail Denise A. Raymo at: firstname.lastname@example.org