143rd Sunshine Fair ready to go


By Jim Poole

“Step right up to the best six days of summer” is the theme of this year’s Schoharie County Sunshine Fair, and Doug Cater firmly believes every word of it.
The 143rd Fair opens Tuesday and runs through Sunday, and while traditional attractions return, many new ones are coming, too.
Mr. Cater, the Fair president, pointed especially to ag shows and exhibits.
“Agriculture. . .that’s always been the foundation of our county fair and others around the country,” he said.
New this year are expansions to the 4-H area because of a sharp increase in entries. There will also be a 4-H livestock auction on Sunday, with “beef, dairy, poultry, you name it,” Mr. Cater said.
Heather Brooke Hill Clydesdales from Carlisle will be at the Fair all week giving demonstrations and photo ops, Mr. Cater said.
And draft horses will be a high-end feature.
“The draft horse superintendent [Joe Purcell] called me about a month ago and said we’re going to have a great show this year,” Mr. Cater said. “He never called me like that before.”
Also new this year are improvements to the cattle area, including additional electrical and water hook-ups.
Besides ag, Mr. Cater highlighted other first-time features:
•Nerger’s performing tigers, including four white tigers.
•Motorized events in front of the grandstand every day. New this year is Sky Fire’s Divorce Course, an obstacle course for vehicles and “Run What Ya Brung,” drag racing with “ATVs, golf carts, with whatever you want,” Mr. Cater said.
•The Royal Hanneford Circus returns, but with all new acts and new performances.
•The World of Wonders, with sword-swallowers, knife-throwers and other acts. “It’s really neat, really colorful,” Mr. Cater said.
•Heritage Park will again host blacksmiths and broom-makers, but new this year is Laurel Dobbs, who’ll demonstrate decoy carving.
?New food and new vendors will also be at the Fair, Mr. Cater said.
•Country singer Jenna Sue will give several performances.
There will be music at the Fair every day, including the popular bands Skeeter Creek and Big Sky Country.
The fun and familiar events will return, too: baby contests, bike giveaway, gymkhana, livestock shows, midway, rides, demo derbies, pie contests and judging, Irish dancers, karaoke, tractor pulls and more.
Admission to the Fair is $15 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and $17 Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The price includes grandstand shows, parking and all rides.
Some may feel the admission is expensive, but “most fairs charge for rides, parking and shows. Our price includes everything,” Mr. Cater said.
And there are special days; admission for seniors is $5 until 4pm Wednesday, and veterans and active military get free admission on Saturday.
Hoping for good weather, Mr. Cater is looking forward to “the best six days of summer.”
“There’s so many things going on all the time,” he said.