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Saratoga County Fair kicks off

Where can you pet a goat, scarf down a funnel cake, watch a pack of cars pummel each other and take in live musical performances, all in one day?

The answer, of course, is at the Saratoga County Fair, which opened for the 168th time on Tuesday, July 14, and will run through Sunday, July 19, from 9 a.m. to midnight daily.

The fair draws 100,000 visitors on average every year. Admission is $10, though there are several discounts available on certain days. Parking is available at several locations on Fairgrounds Avenue, or members of the Ballston Lions Club will direct festivalgoers to much closer parking for a $5 fee.

All day, every day, attendees can enjoy shopping at local vendors, agricultural demonstrations and varied midway rides from Amusements of America.

There is an event to be viewed from the grandstand every evening. The fair will open and close with the World's Largest Demolition Derby, produced by JM Productions. Daily entertainment will include magic acts, chainsaw carving demonstrations, horse shows, blacksmith demonstrations and plenty of encounters with farm animals.

"We've probably got one of the nicest fairs that we've put on in a long, long time here," said General Manager Dick Rowland.

On Tuesday, Rowland said he is contemplating hopping into a demolition derby car himself.

In addition to the varied events, patrons will have the opportunity to indulge in an equally wide range of food and drink. Midway fare like funnel cakes and candy apples may be supplemented by dozens of other vendors. Cornell Cooperative Extension is hosting a cooking demonstration using locally grown products daily, as well.

For a complete schedule, check www.saratogacountyfair.org.

For the thirsty, a beer garden will be open daily from noon to midnight, with its own entertainment offerings on tap.

Those foregoing alcohol might want to take part in a blind taste test to choose the best tasting water in Saratoga County on Friday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The municipality with the finest water will move on to regional competition for a shot at states, to be held at the state fair in Syracuse on Aug. 26.

This year's fair will be Rowland's last turn in the position of general manager after 19 years. Replacing him will be Kevin Grupe, who has been on the fair board for 13 years and is president of the county agricultural society.

"I feel the fair is going to be in capable hands," said Rowland.

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