The nations oldest consecutively run county fair will entice visitors with big cats and acrobatic dogs this week.
The Jefferson County Fair will open Tuesday at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds for its 195th year to thrill spectators with rides, livestock competitions and new entertainment.
Last year, the fair hosted Vicentas White Tigers, but fair President Robert D. Simpson promised that this year Kay Rosaires Big Cat Encounter show featuring both tigers and lions will be even more spectacular.
This is a much bigger venue show, he said. That will probably be a big draw this year.
In addition, he said, another new show, Disc-Connected K9s, also will bring people to the fair.
The dogs do acrobatics and catch frisbees, he said. Its a nice show.
A continual draw to the fair is the plethora of whirl-a-gigs and roller coasters. This year, fairgoers can choose from 20 rides, including the Speed, an eight-seater ride that flings riders more than 100 feet upward.
This ride has only been here once before, many years ago, Mr. Simpson said.
Last years fair attracted some 51,000 people over the course of a week. Mr. Simpson said he feels this years numbers will be even better because of the sunny forecast. He said a downpour last year deterred a number of people.
Were hoping for anywhere between 50,000 to 60,000, he said. Thats a no-rain thing.
The real highlight of the fair for him, however, is not the gravity-defying rides or the thrill shows with dangerous animals.
We have literally hundreds of animals at the fair, he said. This year, we have back up to 200 cows, which is a lot of cows. Were very excited to have more animals than in the past few years.
He said the livestock is the main reason many go to the fair in the agriculturally centered community.
Goats, scarecrows, pies and pickles also will be judged in addition to the cows for ribbons and prize money.
Gate admission is free on Tuesday, $5 on Wednesday through Saturday and $4 on Sunday. An individual season pass is $15. Fairground parking is $3 per vehicle, but parking at Jefferson Community College is free. Shuttles will transport fair-goers from the campus to the fairgrounds.
Mega Passes, which can be used for gate entry and a wristband for rides, can be purchased before the fair for $20 per person.
You can ride until you cant stand up, Mr. Simpson said.
After today, passes will be $24. Pre-fair tickets can be purchased at Price Chopper, Salmon Run Mall and Kinney Drugs. The pass does not include the demolition derby, which costs $5, or the professional wrestling events, which range from $10 to $35.
More information and daily schedules can be found at www.jeffcofair.org.