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Ti man makes fair an annual tradition

Frank Conlon walks past the wood carving demonstration area at the Essex County Fair on Aug. 12. Conlon has been to every day of the fair since he was 7 years old, spanning from 1928 to this years 163rd annual event.

Frank Conlon walks past the wood carving demonstration area at the Essex County Fair on Aug. 12. Conlon has been to every day of the fair since he was 7 years old, spanning from 1928 to this years 163rd annual event. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Frank Conlon enjoys sitting along the midway at the Essex County Fair, talking to fair-goers and watching the fair day after day.

It’s a tradition that dates back to 1928, when Conlon, 90, and living in Ticonderoga, was only 7 years old.

“Everything back then was for 10 cents,” Conlon said.

Conlon went to every day of the fair back in 1928, then did the same the next year. And the next. And the next, all the way up to the 163rd annual edition of the fair, held last week, Aug. 10-14.

“I have never missed a day,” he said. “I feel good and I still enjoy coming. I drive up from Ticonderoga each day.”

Conlon said that even though he was suffering from a recent back ailment this year, he was not about to break his streak of days at the fair.

“I have always wanted to be here,” Conlon said. “I have always come regardless of if I had something that I was presenting in the fair or not.”

Conlon now spends his time in the shade, making new friends and catching up with old ones.

“I spend my time over by the tractors,” Conlon said about sitting in the Yandow exhibit. “It’s a nice spot in the shade on the midway. I come here early in the morning and leave a little earlier so I can beat the heat.”

Conlon said that he can recall several of the former fairs, but remembers it more in general terms and traditions.

“I liked it when the midway and rides were up in the front of the fairgrounds,” He said. “I have always enjoyed seeing the cows in the barns, even though I haven’t been able to make it over there this year.”

Conlon also said that, even at 90, the fair would not be complete without a visit to one of the many food vendors.

“I got my sausage,” he said. “That’s what I came here for.”

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