WESTPORT - The 162nd Essex County Fair, the Adirondack Agricultural Fair, is scheduled for Aug. 11-15, and has many fun attractions, events and activities to choose from.
Some new entertainers will light up the stage at this year's fair, which, along with some long-time favorites, are sure to please audiences of all ages.
Music and comedy act Steve Hall and the Shotgun Red Show headline the grandstand acts this year. For 10 years, the group performed on TNN's series "Nashville Now" and now tours the country with its award-winning blend of live country music and laugh-out-loud puppetry.
As part of their three-month summer tour, Steve Hall, Shotgun Red, and the Shotgun Red Band will make an appearance Thursday, Aug. 12, 7 p.m. at the Essex County Fair's main grandstand.
Another new performance features the gospel music of Howie Campbell Sunday, Aug. 15, with shows 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the grandstand.
Also new this year is the Torres One Ring Family Circus, presenting daily acts and operating a pony ride. Mad Scientist Jeff Boyer will be performing his shows daily. Also, The new Wild Animal Experience Petting Zoo, open each day, boasts at least 20 baby animals that children can pet.
As always, there will be plenty of animals on exhibit with horse and cattle shows being held Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Don't miss the entertaining cattle costume class 4 p.m. Saturday and the all new "Dancing to Music" horse show 2 p.m. Sunday.
The conservation area will be bustling this year with archery and air gun shooting for youth, a fish pond for kids, wildlife and forestry displays, live demonstrations featuring birds of prey and a river hydrology display, all available daily.
For the third consecutive year, Plattsburgh-based oldies trio The Norsemen will be performing at the fair. Catch them 4 p.m. Sunday.
Also returning are Gary Finney and the Upstate New Yorkers, who will perform at the grandstand Wednesday in between harness races, which start at noon.
The ever-popular demolition derby has been moved to Saturday this year, commencing Aug. 14. at noon. Tractor pulls will be heldAug. 15 with the 6500 group starting at noon and the 9000 group 5 p.m. at the grandstand. Garden tractor pulls will be held Wednesday, Aug. 11, beginning 5:30 p.m.
Castle Rock Entertainment is once again in charge of midway rides, which operate each day starting at noon. Chainsaw carver The Sawdog also returns and will be auctioning some of his work Aug. 14.
The Essex County Fair Idol Contest returns with auditions being held 6 p.m. Aug. 11 and 2 p.m. Aug. 12. Qualifying contestants will then perform in the final competition 7 p.m. Aug. 13 on the south lawn stage.
Idol contestants compete for cash prizes in three categories: 12 and under, 13-17, and 18 and up.
The contest is open to any Essex County resident and entry fees are included with admission. Auditioners must bring their own CD with backing tracks two hours prior to auditions and should have at least two different types of songs to perform.
Admission to the fair is $10 each for ages three and older. A carload sale of $25 is offered for Wednesday. Both Wednesday and Thursday, seniors can receive a $2 fair food coupon with their paid admission. All rides and parking are free, and grandstand entertainment is free except on Saturday.
For more information on events and activities at the 162nd Essex County Fair, including a complete schedule and exhibitor handbook, visit www.essexcountyfair.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.