WESTPORT - The 162nd Essex County Fair is less than two months away, and organizers of the event are hoping to attract an even wider range of exhibitors.
The five-day event, nicknamed the "Adirondack Agricultural Fair," is scheduled for Aug. 11-15, and Fair Board secretary Bertha Rand said some exciting changes are already in place for this year to try to bring more people in from throughout the region.
"I think getting the word out that this isn't the Westport fair, that this is the County Fair, is the most important thing," said Rand. "We want people to realize it's their fair."
Traditionally, the fair has offered prizes for many types of items such as arts, crafts, plants, produce, baked goods, and, of course, animals. Filling all the available space with exhibits has been a challenge in recent years, however.
"Many people have commented on the reduced number of exhibits in Floral Hall," said Rand. "If people don't bring in exhibits, there are no items to see."
In an effort to get more items for display, three new exhibitor categories have been added this year: Farming, Go Green, and Technology.
"We want to exhibit agriculture, and agriculture can be just about anything," said Rand. "We also want to promote going green and recycling; things that are important to our kids' future."
"Technology students are producing videos, and we'd like to be able to play them in Floral Hall throughout the week," she added.
To attract more beef and dairy exhibitors this year, the fair is offering farmers $20 for each head of cattle they bring to help defray the cost of required veterinary treatments.
Exhibits are sought for other categories that have seen reduced participation lately, such as wool, handsewn items, pottery, metalcraft, woodworking, and historical items. There is also a lot of space available in the conservation area for exhibits dealing with forestry, conservation, fishing, hunting, and wildlife.