2016 Fair sets new records, both good and bad


By Patsy Nicosia

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Weatherwise, that about sums up the 2016 Cobleskill Sunshine Fair.
Fair directors reviewed the July 30-August 6 Fair at their annual meeting Saturday.
And as always, weather was the deciding factor when it came to attendance.
A full day of rain on Sunday, July 31, just the second day of the Fair, was probably the event's smallest day ever, said President Doug Cater.
"I've never seen it rain so much," he said. "And when you think of all the expenses and what you're paying..."
But then, Wednesday, things turned around, with what was probably the biggest weekday crowd.
"And Saturday, it was probably our biggest crowd ever," Mr. Cater said.
Mr. Cater and other directors attributed that to the first-ever pay-one-price admission, which will be repeated at the July 29-August 5, 2017 Fair.
That admission includes the cost of rides as do the Fair's season passes, which are on sale at a reduced rate until January 1.
Musical acts for the 2017 Fair will include Aaron Tippin, Billy Gilman of "The Voice," "The King of Polka," Jimmy Sturr, and Elvis tribute artist Terry Lee Goffee, who Mr. Cater called "the one who gets things done. He's the one we always get the requests for."
The Pork Chop Revue will feature, not racing, but rather performing pigs and Close Encounters of the Exotic Kind will showcase performing lions and tigers.
The new Heritage Park will be expanded, and motorized acts in front of the grandstand will include demolition football.
Director Dale All said he also plans to continue and grow the free bike give-away program; this year, with the help of donors and sponsors, the Fair gave away 80 bikes.
Donors also helped with flowers for the Fairgrounds, a job Mr. All took over after the death of Treasurer Blair Hartman, who spearheaded it for years.
Brendon Becker, another director, has taken over Mr. Hartman's duties as treasurer, and said the one price admission helped revenues, even as the price of things like wages and insurance climbed.
Work at the Fairgrounds goes on throughout the year and in 2017, will include the floor in the dairy barn as well as the roof in the Hall of Ag, funded in part by state grants.
Changes have already been made in the Fair office, where a model circus exhibit from the Big E, that includes posters and banners, will be displayed.
The theme for the 2017 Fair will be "Bushels of Fun, Making Memories."
"We can always see ways to improve, but we try to have something for everyone and we think we do a pretty good job," Mr. Cater said.