The Altamont Fair offers tried and true with spanking new

ALTAMONT — The Altamont Fair will return for its 120th year, from Aug. 13 to 18, with much to see and do.

Representing Albany, Schenectady, and Greene counties, the fair is a not-for-profit, public educational and historical society supported entirely by admissions, rentals, contributions, and the assistance of hundreds of volunteers.

It offers a mix of traditional agricultural exhibits and museums along with midway entertainment, music, food, and a circus.

Circus Hollywood will perform several times a day during Fair Week. With seven acts in all, fair-goers will be entertained by horses, clowns, and motorcycles in the big globe and high wire acts, all under the big top.

New this year, the Tim Dyson FMX Show will perform freestyle motocross stunts on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Thursday’s FMX performance is hosted by Quick Response.

Also new this year, the fair welcomes the Wildlife Sports and Educational Museum featuring exhibits dedicated to the preservation of memorabilia of the centuries-old sporting traditions of hunting, fishing, and all sports afield.

One-price admission includes unlimited rides, Circus Hollywood under the big tent, attractions, and parking. Admission is $15 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and $17 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

On Wednesday, Senior Day, people 65 and older are admitted for free until 4 p.m. On Thursday, Armed Services Day, veterans and active service members are admitted for free until 4 p.m.  Free admission does not include rides. Chauffeured golf carts will be made available to seniors and veterans to assist with transportation around the fairgrounds. The golf carts are provided by St. Peter’s Health Care Services.

Unlimited rides are hosted by Reithoffer Shows, the largest traveling midway in the world. Its famous “Sky Flyer” goes up 120 feet in the air, before swinging sideways.

The Agriculture and Science Building hosts local organizations that support food production and ecology. A Youth Science Fair competition is sponsored by County Waste.

The Ag Demonstration Tent will host presentations and opportunities to “Meet the Animals.” Fair-goers can visit the livestock and horse barns to find their favorites. Multiple competitions are held every day including: poultry, horse, draft horses, horse and oxen pulling, pony, rabbits, sheep, cows, and goats.

The Altamont Fair is also proud to host the 4-H programs that encourage the youth of Albany, Greene, and Schenectady counties to explore their world in hundreds of exhibits related to Agriculture, Foods and Nutrition, Mechanical Science, Woodworking, Clothing and Textiles, Home Improvement, Environmental Education, Shooting Sports, and Creative Arts.

The fair will be chock full of contests this year. The Flower and Fine Arts building hosts competitive entries of photography, paintings, and drawings; visitors may vote for their favorites to win the People’s Choice award.

In addition, there are competitions for flowers, fruits, and vegetables that anyone can enter. The Blue Ribbon Cooking Center is offering a variety of contests, including the Hershey’s Anything Chocolate Challenge and Local Orchards Baked Goods contest. Visitors may also enter the Home Front Café-Father Larche egg-flipping competition to win a free breakfast at the Home Front. With other baking, canning, and cooking challenges to choose from, there is something for everyone to enter.

Arts and Crafts hosts its popular “Make It and Take It” projects that give folks a chance to try out their creative skills. All kinds of crafts and skills are exhibited — knitting, quilting, crocheting, sewing, and woodworking — with traditional and contemporary designs. Paper entries are due July 29 by 5 p.m.; online entries are accepted until Aug. 4, at midnight.

Every year, Miss Altamont Fair is crowned as part of The Miss Altamont Fair pageant. Judged on poise and public speaking, girls of all ages may compete; they are judged against others in their age groups. In addition to receiving a crown, the winners are responsible for representing the fair in a positive way all year long.

All kinds of music will be performed in the Reid Northup Memorial Stage throughout Fair Week. The Battle of the Teen Bands will be followed by performances from other musical guests including Bobby Stillwell, Johnny Hirsch, Cryin’ Out Loud, Fulton Chain Gang, Grand Central Station, The Standard Clams, Hair of the Dog, American Long Boards, Jonathan Newell Band, and Nite Train. The Pro Tones will give an Everly Brothers Tribute. On Sunday, two country performances are featured— J Collins, who has opened for Alan Jackson, and local country favorite, Skeeter Creek.

All the museums will be open, including the Antique Farm Machinery, Farm House, Carriage, School House, 1890s Village, Circus, and Auto — Past and Present. Visitors can see collections of items to illustrate how Americans used to live many years ago. The Sherman family will throw axes at the Lumberjack Show and the Auto Museum will host Satan Cycles, which will build a motorcycle on site.

A fair wouldn’t be complete without animals. This year, there will be a variety of exotic animal displays in the Giraffe Menagerie petting zoo and the Two by Two Zoo. The Disc-Connected K9s World Championship Frisbee dogs and Hollywood racing pigs are back by popular demand.

On Sunday, a fireworks show will be presented by Quick Response celebrating summer and a great fair week. 

The fair opens every day at 10 a.m., exhibits open at 11 a.m., and the midway opens at noon. 

For a full schedule of events and contest-entry information, go online to

Editor’s note: Marie McMillen is the operations manager and Pat Canaday is a director of the Altamont Fair.

More Community news