Altamont Fair wraps up

Jan Van Etten, a breeder with more than 60 rabbits of her own, ran the rabbit exhibit.

She raises Flemish giants, the largest breed of rabbit. She said it is not unusual for those animals to reach 17 or 18 pounds.

"Some of the rabbits are kids' pets, and others have quite a few rabbits in here," she said.

There was a new breed of rabbit on display this year, the Lionhead rabbit, and, Van Ettan said, it was a popular attraction with spectators.

On Wednesday, Aug. 13, there was an opportunity for owners to showcase how well they handle their rabbits. Owners were asked to show off their rabbits' teeth, legs and belly.

They were also asked to turn their rabbit on their backs.

"If you can turn a rabbit over, it shows you know how to handle it," Van Etten said. "They don't like to go over."

Animals were not the only attraction, though.

The circus museum was a popular spot for spectators, and it displayed old-style cameras, circus train replicas, and a reproduction of R.B. Everys "very special people."

It also displayed mannequins, three cage wagons and mechanical musicians purchased from the P.T. Barnum Museum and Danbury Fair.

They were built in the 1950s, and the mechanical figures are the only ones of their type in the United States today.

Volunteers with the Shriners, founded in New York City in 1872, a wing of the Freemasons who run children's hospitals, helped supervise the display.

Bud Abare, a volunteer, said the Shriners represent the more lighthearted side of the Freemasons, and run many children's hospitals.

"Shriners are synonymous with circuses," Abare said.

The hospitals help children with severe burns, spinal cord injuries, cleft lip and palate and orthopedic problems.

"We help children and have fun," said Abare.

Others were entertained by the Backyard Circus, which allowed children to participate in a comedic show.

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