A fair week for all

118th Altamont Fair to kick off with all-inclusive passes making a return

Next week the population of Altamont will surge as thousands converge on the small village for its biggest yearly event: the Altamont Fair.

This year's six-day extravaganza will mark the 118th time the gates have swung open for the storied annual tradition. From its modest roots touring the Albany area to the modern-day incarnation at its permanent home, each year, the fair promises to bring something new, yet something familiar, to neighbors near and far. And 2011 will be no different.

I think we've got a different mix, said Pat Canaday, who's on the fair's Board of Directors. "You try to meet people's needs in providing some favorites, and then some new events as well."

The big news this year is really the same as it was last August " the fair's unlimited, one-price admission ticket will make a return, granting patrons parking, admission to all events and as many rides as their stomachs can handle for $15.

The all-inclusive pass premiered last year, and organizers said it was well received.

"We believe we're offering a lot," Canaday said. "The price of a movie ticket today is getting right up there ... for just a little more you could spend the day and the evening having fun."

Fans of the midway attractions should note Reithhoffer Shows will be bringing some new rides for the 2011 fair, including the Stinger, which swings 16 riders on a pendulum more than eight stories above the ground as their seats rotate 360 degrees. The midway opens at noon every day.

When you've had enough of rides, there's still more than enough to do. Amazing animal acts include Robinson's Racing Pigs, back by popular demand after a year away; The Disc-Connected K-9's, a Frisbee show featuring dogs rescued from shelters; the Raptor Project Birds of Prey, with eagles, falcons, owls and hawks; and the Bear Mountain Wildlife Show.

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