Altamont Fair returns this month with sea lions, caricature artist, and more

Michael DeSchalit, a hypnotist and magician, will perform three shows a day at the Altamont Fair.

ALTAMONT — Fair season is here again. 

From Aug. 16 through 21, the fairgrounds will be thrumming with people from the Capital Region and beyond, gathered together for the little village’s biggest event.

This year’s Altamont Fair will feature popular attractions from years’ past — the demolition derby, Royal Hanneford Circus, and midway rides and games — along with some new ones, fair director emeritus Pat Canaday told The Enterprise this week. 

Among them are a sea lion show, to be held at the grandstand, and an expert on old-fashioned marbling, who will be stationed at the fair’s 1890s Building and carry out demonstrations. 

There will also be a caricature artist who will do drawings of fairgoers free of charge, Canaday said, and — returning to the fair after a small hiatus — comedy hypnotist Michael DeSchalit.

“He’s out of Las Vegas,” Canaday said, “... He’s got a really fun insight into life and kind of a wonderful way about him.” 

DeSchalit’s primary show features him hypnotizing audience members and having them do “some fun things,” and, historically, has been “packed every time,” Canaday said, adding that he’ll also hold a stress-reduction session. 

Canaday said that karaoke won’t be at the fair this year because the space where it used to be held will be used instead for professional music acts each day in what has been recently named The Tap Room. Those acts include Dave O’Connor, the Harmonic Duo, Ethan Crowley, the Off the Record Trio, Jordan Stoner, and Don Kelly. 

The bands Big Sky Country, Grand Central Station, geezer, Nite Train with Thomasina Winslow, Grit n Whiskey, and Aquanett will also perform elsewhere on the fairgrounds throughout the week. 

All the events and midway attractions are included with the price of admission, Canaday said. Food and drink will also be available for purchase on the grounds. 

Fairgoers can visit the many free museums to learn about old-time circuses, farm machinery, farmhouse life, and what learning in a one-room schoolhouse was like.

The fair, which serves Albany, Schenectady, and Green counties, also includes exhibits and shows with cows, sheep, goats, poultry, ponies, and rabbits.

Paintings and photographs will be on display in the Fine Arts building along with winning entries in flower arrangements and table-setting. The Grange will sell handmade crafts and homemade treats to eat.

Miss Altamont Fair will reign after being chosen in a pageant during the fair’s opening day.

A phone-charging station will be available at the fair, and Canaday advised fairgoers to consider bringing sunscreen along with strollers or wagons for kids, pointing out that there will also be shaded and indoor areas with places to sit for anyone who’s fatigued.

“Everybody says, ‘Oh, we’ll just be there for a couple of hours,’ but it’s quite a big park,” Canaday said. “There’s a lot of ground to cover.”

She also suggested that those with children establish some landmarks early on in the day to help with navigation in case anyone gets lost, or if there’s a decision to split ways at some point. 

Appropriate footwear is also important, she said, as some rides forbid open-toed shoes. 

Canaday noted that there will be no individual programs this year because people tend not to use them. Instead, there will be one big schedule posted on each date that people can take a picture of.  

“It’ll be interesting to see if we get any feedback from people who are disappointed not to see the printed program,” she said. “I’m holding my breath and hoping it’ll be a positive thing.”

The full fair schedule and other information, including a map, is available online at 


Tickets, good for a single person for one full day, will cost $22 beginning on Aug. 16 but can be purchased in advance online or at the fair offices for $18 until then. Those paying by card will have to cover a small fee. 

The fair gates will open at 10 a.m. each day except for Aug. 16, when they will open at noon. The fair will close at 10 p.m. Aug. 16 to 18, at 11 p.m. on Aug. 19 to 20, and at 8 p.m. on Aug. 21. Ride and vendor opening times for each day can be found online. A livestock show will take place each day at 8 a.m.  for those who have purchased tickets.

Vehicles can enter the fair through routes 156 or 146; the Grand Street entrance is accessible to pedestrians only. The Route 156 parking area is advised when the fair is busy. 

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