Altamont Fair 2019: Weather fails to rain on fair’s parade

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

The 2019 Altamont Fair endured the whims of Mother Nature for the second year in a row, but it did little to spoil the fun of fair-goers. 

ALTAMONT — Last year’s record-breaking rain dampened attendance but not the optimism of the Altamont Fair’s organizers. “We’re like farmers; the next year is going to be better,” Pat Canaday, the fair’s treasurer, told The Enterprise in August 2018

This year, the weather was again an issue but it did nothing to deter Canaday’s sunny outlook. “We had a blast. Sadly, the rain kind of impacted some attendance,” Canaday said on Friday. “Even when it wasn’t raining here, it was raining everywhere else.”

Attendance at this year’s fair at was about the same as last year, Canaday said, which had been down by about a third over 2017, when between 75,000 and 90,000 people had attended. And Infrastructure improvements made to the fairgrounds’ parking lots ensured there was no repeat of last year’s parking problems, when fairgoers had to be bused from Guilderland High School because two storms rendered the unpaved parking lots unusable.

All of the new acts and attractions brought in by organizers this year, Canaday said, were big hits. “The demolition derby was a blast,” she said, “it was standing-room-only.” Even with the threat of bad weather, Canaday said, a lot of a lot of people came out to see the monster trucks, which this year, fair-goers had the opportunity to ride in.

Late during Fair Week, she said, organizers were able to arrange a performance by Madison VanDenburg, who earlier this summer placed third on the singing competition television show “American Idol.”

The Albany County Sheriff’s Office had a large presence at this year’s fair, which Sheriff Craig Apple addressed in a post on Facebook: “I was asked several times this week why we had so many deputies at the Altamont fair. The answer is simple, to keep you safe. With so many cowardly acts occurring in our country I felt we needed to step it up … We maintained a presence there around the clock which many didn’t even see and fortunately no incidents to speak of…”

Canaday said of the sheriff’s deputies patrolling the fair, “They were fabulous … We were so grateful they were here.”

Asked her final thoughts about Fair Week, Canaday concluded, “We really appreciate the community’s support — the volunteers do such an outstanding job of putting their exhibits together … We just had a great week and hope that everyone who came enjoyed it as much as we did.”

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