Saratoga County Fair kicks off the amusement season

Plan to stay at the fairgrounds long after dusk. Free entertainment in the historic grandstand includes a demolition derby, off-field tractor pulls, an antique tractor stone boat pull, a 4x4 truck pull, a monster truck show and the Double M Rodeo from Malta. The beer garden will rock each night with great local bands such as the Groove Syndicate, Gravity, The Electric City Horns and The Accents Band. The first-ever battle of the bands will also be held this year.

If you haven't yet experienced the thrill of cheering on a bunch of sweaty swines chasing vanilla creme cookies, don't miss Rosaire's Royal Racing Pigs, located on a small grassy track near the grandstand. It's worth the assault on the ears to watch Brian Ruth, Master of the Chainsaw, carve sculptures out of hunks of blemished hardwood. If you're lucky, you might be able to see a farmer cook a turkey inside a (clean) aluminum trashcan.

This year's premiere attractions include Monster Truck rides for a nominal fee, new hypnotist Tom Bresadola, and the "Live Stingray Encounter."

As one of the earliest in the summer fair season, the event is meant to pay homage to Saratoga's rich heritage of farming.

"Each year we work very hard to showcase the best of Saratoga County agriculture, and this year is no exception," said Dick Rowland, general manager, who will officially move onto the fairgrounds and camp out for the week starting the night before opening day. "All we need is good weather, not too much heat or rain, and what else could we need? Nothing could be better than fair week."

Amusements of America has been the midway provider for many years at the fair, bringing a popular kiddy area with bumper boats, spinning strawberries and hugely inflated slides. There's a petting zoo, camel and pony rides, and the enticing carnival games where dads can toss baseballs into baskets to win teddy bears for their daughters. In the glitzy, flashy, loud loop of the midway for fairgoers long out of elementary school, you can be spun, twisted, dangled upside down, scared silly, or lost in a maze of mirrors. All rides require tickets, but hand stamps are available daily for $20 and are accepted from noon to midnight in lieu of tickets for rides.

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