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ALTAMONT: Good old summertime

The Animal Barns are perennial favorites, where animals are judged on breed, confirmation and production. The contestants also are judged on the quality and appeal of their animal products, which can be anything from wool accessories to baked goods.

The shows take place daily, and the champions get to compete at the state fair in Syracuse. This year, the entries for the contest are up a lot more compared to prior years. That means more animals, more goods and fiercer competition.

Other returning acts include the Zoppe Circus, an Italian family circus that dates back to the 1800s and features acrobatic feats, equestrian showmanship, canine capers, clowning and plenty of audience participation.

Then there is Doc Swan's strolling act. Doc is a magician who walks around the fair and surprises visitors with his tricks and gadgets. There's also Jason's Magic Tricks' giant frog jumping competition; and the famous Demolition Derbies.

The fair is also still taking entries for the scarecrow competition this year for the Catholic Charity Aids Council. Winners will receive a cash prize and a chance to showcase their scarecrows at the Apple Festival in September and the Albany Country Club's Annual Harvest Gala. Contestants will be judged on their scarecrows originality, durability, and creative use of material.

If there is any reason to go to the Altamont Fair this year, for many, it will be the chance to treasure local traditions and history.

One of these people is William Schultz, a retired Guilderland State Police Officer who is one of about 200 volunteers the fair typically utilizes a year for maintenance work and administration.

Schultz said he enjoys browsing the museums at the fair that showcase artwork and artifacts that represent Albany, Schenectady and Greene counties.

Schultz is also a big fan of The Grange, where people can buy homemade goods from local farmers and connoisseurs instead of carnival food.

Of the overall experience of the fair, he said: "It's entertainment, but its different from the mall or sitting in front of a T.V. or computer game. It's a chance to experience something you don't experience every day."

To get the full schedule of events for the Altamont Fair as well as admission prices, discounts, and coupons, visit the Web site at www.altamontfair.com. ""

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