County fairs bring people together to celebrate what is distinct about life in rural America.

A staple at every county fair is the display of livestock. Contests are held to reward farmers for the care they take in raising and presenting their animals.

Amusement rides, food and beverage vendors, and musical acts also are very popular. In addition, some county fairs feature other events such as demolition derbies to keep crowds entertained.

The county fair season is upon us in Northern New York, and we’re thrilled about this. All the fairs had to be canceled last year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Jefferson County Fair began this week, running now through Sunday at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds on Coffeen Street in Watertown. It’s been billed as the longest consecutively run fair in the United States. The fair was held virtually last year — so in our book, it retains this distinction!

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. today through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Parking on the grounds of the fair costs $5, while parking on the adjacent lot of Jefferson Community College is free. Admission is to the fair is free.

Ride All Day Wristbands can be purchased at the fair for $25 today and Friday. Saturday is Military Appreciation Day. The wristbands can be purchased for $25 with a military ID and $30 without one.

The fair will feature chain saw carver Jennifer Black, who will do four shows every day at noon, 2:30, 5:30 and 8 p.m.; the Flying Wallendas Family Circus, whose members will perform two shows a day, and three on Friday and Saturday; the Stony Roberts Demolition Derby, which will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday; a bale toss and celebrity milk-off Thursday; a hula hoop contest by the pool and ice cream eating contest Friday; a cow chip contest Saturday; and a cupcake contest Sunday. Daily events include various vendors, foods and rides; Agriculture in the North Country; a fire safety display; a military display, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office; and Chee Chee the clown, who entertains guests.

Robert D. Simpson is president of the Jefferson County Agricultural Society, which organizes the fair each year. He summed up the sentiments of many people regarding the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

“It feels good just like everything feels good, you can go out and do things again, we’re not locked up,” he said in a story published Tuesday by the Watertown Daily Times. “We did a virtual fair last year, virtual youth fair; most fairs did that kind of a thing so everybody’s counting as continuously running.”

Residents of the north country have additional options for local fairs.

It’s good to have county fairs operating once again. We urge everyone planning to attend any one of them to exercise common sense when it comes to public health.

But take advantage of these events and support those who make them possible each season. They showcase what is best about our region, and we’re grateful this annual tradition has returned.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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