Today, in approximately two and a half hours, the Erie County Fair will open for its 2011 run. I’ve been to quite a few county fairs, both small and large, but the Erie County Fair is in a category all its own. The rides, the animals, the food, the endless booths…I think that my version of paradise would be an endless county fair. While many of summer’s fairs have already passed, chances are you haven’t missed out yet. You can check out the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets website to find a listing of all the state’s county fairs, as well as their dates.
What’s the educational value of taking your family to the fair? Well, other than learning how many sugar waffles it’s possible to eat before you’ll definitely get sick on the Tilt-a-Whirl, fairs can teach your child about agriculture. In most parts of New York state, evidence of agriculture is readily visible. In Western New York, fields of corn and cows are not uncommon sights, if you care to look. The fair, however, becomes a sort of agricultural showground, displaying the best of what local farmers have. Although many booths are simply hawking products, there are also booths run by beekeepers, that help educate you about the plight of pollinating bees across the country, organizations that inform you about the potential hazards of hydrofracking, police officers who want to teach your child about stranger danger. While it may be difficult to distract your child from the glitz and glamor of the midway, make them accompany you through the buildings and learn something on your family day out.
Furthermore, your children will learn to value the community they come from. Although the Erie County Fair is huge, it also brings a sense of community. People from all walks of life make the trek out to Hamburg to enjoy the best Erie County has to offer. You’ll get the opportunity to support local businesses and local farmers at a locally run event. We hope to see you at the fair this year!