PLATTSBURGH — When local Michael Perrotte ran into retiring Clinton County Fair Manager Glenn Gillespie last February, he wasn’t expecting to get a job offer.
“We were staying in the same area in Florida,” Perrotte said. “I had done a monster truck show at the fair in 2014, and I wanted to do another one, so I went and saw Glenn and said, ‘I want to do another monster truck show at the fair,’ and he said, ‘I got a better idea; Why don’t you take over? I’m retiring.’”
Perrotte, 64, who had worked eight years as a promoter at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh before his job as director of series and sanctioning for DIRTcar Northeast of the World Racing Group, ended up agreeing, taking over in the fair’s top spot this November after shadowing Gillespie through the 2019 fair.
“It definitely is big shoes to fill,” Perrotte said. “He’s done an outstanding job at the fair. He couldn’t have been more helpful in this transition. It couldn’t have been more seamless.”
And while the process leading to the 2020 fair has so far primarily been paperwork and scheduling, Perrotte said that he’s excited to really get going as July gets closer.
“If you’re doing something that you like, it’s not like going to work,” Perrotte said. “ I grew up going to the fair as a kid, going every day. I think that the local people should embrace and support it, because it’s one of the nicer things we have in our area.”
And his experience running over 90 racing events per year for the World Racing Group from 2015 to 2018 has given him plenty of experience coordinating people, promotion and planning.
While the fair may look at new, varied avenues of entertainment to book, Perrotte stressed that the structure that Gillespie and the 24-member Clinton County Fair Board have built over the last 20 years has left him in a good spot to work from.
“The majority of stuff is in place and functioning very well, so we’re not looking to make wholesale changes or anything,” Perrotte said. “We’re not going in and trying to reinvent the wheel.”
Perrotte primarily wants to help the area see what it really has in the fair, something he’s seen since he started attending it as a kid.
“We have a great fair here; It’s not the state fair, but it’s a very nice, really clean fair,” Perrotte said. “People who come here from out of the area really have the highest acclaim for it. One of my goals would be to really get the local people and businesses more involved, and get them out here to see what a neat fair it is.”
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