Altamont Fair cancellation impacting vendors, farms and agricultural programs

Local

ALTAMONT, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Like so many other fairs and festivals this summer, the Altamont Fair is now canceled, too.

“It just became more and more evident that there was going to be no way we could pull this off,” said Amy Anderson, Altamont Fair Manager.

While the news is sure to upset many children and their families who were looking forward to their summer traditions, organizers of the event told NEWS10 ABC the impact of the cancellation goes far beyond that.

“Every single person that you talk to that has ever been affiliated with a fair is devastated by this,” said Anderson. “I cannot begin to imagine how our entire industry is going to survive something like this.”

Anderson said family farms, entertainers, and vendors that rely on the fair are really taking a hit.

“I was talking to one farmer, and they rely on the money they win at the fair with their goats to pay for their feed for the year. The food vendors that go from fair to fair to fair, this is their livelihood,” she said.

Randall Grippin owns Mountain Winds Farm in Berne. He told NEWS10 he’s been setting up shop at the fair for years.

“The Altamont Fair, we were looking at probably between $3,000 and $4,000 a year in maple products. Maple cotton candy, that’s one of our big things,” said Grippin. 

Grippin said, while every farmer needs every dollar they can get right now, it’s not all about the economic impact. They’re also having the opportunity for education and promotion of agriculture taken away, too.

Rebecca Terhune, a local cattle farmer and 4-H leader said that’s the biggest upset for her as well.

“It is a huge bummer,” said Terhune.

She told NEWS10 many of the children in her 4-H program take great pride in competitively showing their animals every year.

“They work hard throughout the year preparing their animals for the show,” said Terhune.

Her 13-year-old son, Hunter Smith, is one of them.

“During the week, we clean them, clip them, we make sure they look top notch during the show,” said Smith.

He told NEWS10, while they don’t show his Braham cow “Louise”, she’s still a fan favorite. He added that he thinks she’s going to miss the fair, too, because she loves the attention.

The fair was scheduled for August 18-23. The last time the fair was canceled was back in 1943 during World War II. In 1918, local authorities prevented children under the age of 16 from attending the fair due to the polio epidemic. 

Organizers said next year’s Altamont Fair is scheduled for August 17-22, 2021.

In the meantime, they’re finding ways to make up for the cancellation. They’re holding a fair food drive-thru event every weekend of July, so you can still have the chance to satisfy your funnel cake and fried pickle cravings.

“It’s not considered a mass gathering because people will not be allowed out of their cars, so it’s going to be like curbside restaurant pick-up,” said Anderson.

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