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Saratoga County Fair kicks off the amusement season

The smells of fried dough and the screams of kids twirling upside down on midway rides will soon fill the air at the otherwise tranquil Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa.

The 166th edition of the summer milestone opens Tuesday, July 17, for a six-day extravaganza closing Sunday, July 22.

That means six days of admiring rabbits whose fur rivals cashmere, seeing owners dress up like their llamas to march around a ring, watching baby chicks hatch, learning how to shoot a balloon with a bow and arrow, brushing up on your ecology know-how, and posing for a photo next to a heifer large enough to squash you with one hoof. There will be draft and saddle horse shows, honey and maple sugar production, fine arts, home arts, culinary arts, and just about every other kind of art that makes the rest of us feel like we have two thumbs.

You can ooh and aah over prize-winning produce, cheer kids on in a spelling bee, dodge the dust during a tractor pull, and take home a tiny evergreen sapling to plant in your back yard.

Departments and shows include cattle, draft and saddle horses, goats, poultry, bees and honey, farm produce, flowers, culinary, antiques, sheep, fair pageants, education, swine, grange, and conservation.

Hungry? The fair is a gastronomical free-for-all, offering everything from freshly pulled taffy to grilled sausage and peppers to the newest phenomenon, fried Oreos and Snickers bars. Overloaded on junk food? Head to the dairy tent, where you can sip a soothing cup of cold milk for less than a dollar.

Tired of passively watching American Idol on T.V? Be part of the live audience for local singers, dancers, cloggers, magicians and kids with a startling array of abilities competing for best of fair in the talent competition. Want to see something really cute? Check out the Saratoga County Fair Baby Pageant.

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