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BALLSTON SPA: Bicentennial bash

At the Saratoga County Fairgrounds there will be a mini-carnival from Amusements of America, the same company that brings in the midway during the county fair.

Organizer Meg Stevens said there will be rides and more than one inflatable bounce house. You can come up close to creepy crawly things at a reptile show, see a juggler, have a balloon turned into a poodle hat, watch a pantomime show, or ride a pony.

There will be old fashioned activities including a sack race, a pie-eating contest, a hula-hoop contest, and everyone's favorite childhood summer game, kick the can. There will also be a planetarium by Chris Grubb and a toddler driving school. All family members can participate in a scavenger hunt. At 5:30 p.m., bikes will be given away to 12 children.

Food will be sold all day. Ballston Area Community Center will be selling its famous fair food from the 4-H building. Union Fire Company, Eagle-Matt Lee Fire Company, and the FANS will be selling food also. The Civil Air Patrol will have a fun activity for kids, and a local scout will be hosting a safety clinic as his Eagle Scout project. The clinic will include car seat and pedestrian safety, child ID, railroad safety and trailer safety.

"They're going to actually bring in a big tractor trailer and have people sit behind the wheel so they understand where the blind spot is and how to drive with large trucks on the road," said Village Mayor John Romano.

There will be a Bicentennial costume contest with several categories, including Bicentennial Belle, Junior Belle, Brother of the Brush, and Little Shaver. Brothers of the Brush refers to the villagewide commitment among adult men to sprout facial hair including goatees, handlebar moustaches, and full, Santa Claus-style beards for 2007. There is no pre-registration required for the costume contest, but the committee requests participants not wear costumes from a rental shop.

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