FONDA - When Jeff Dufel arrived at the Fonda Fairgrounds early Tuesday afternoon, he already had people waiting to see him.
One person inquired about tickets to the 170th edition of the Fonda Fair; another had questions about where to park a tractor for one of the activities.
Dufel, in his first year as general manager of the fair, said helping organize the event and set up the fairgrounds has been a good experience, but it has left him busy.
Workers get a ride ready for the 170th Fonda Fair Tuesday at the fairgrounds in the village.
The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor
"It has been getting crazy now that we have a week to go," he said with a laugh.
The fair, which will start Tuesday and run through Sept. 5, will have a lot of new entertainment this year to attract younger people, Dufel said.
Arguably at the top of that list, Kellie Pickler will perform Saturday night at 8 p.m. Pickler, 25, a country music artist, rose to fame on the fifth season of the TV show "American Idol." She has since released three albums and had numerous songs on Billboard's Hot Country list.
Tickets for the show are $25 and are available at the fairgrounds and at some Price Chopper locations.
Other events scheduled for Saturday include "Open Gymkhana," the 4-H dairy judging contest, the baby contest for 3- and 4-year-olds and the giant ice cream sundae contest.
The coup of landing a concert by Pickler is the latest success for the Fonda Fair in bringing in nationally known acts.
Two years ago, the fair brought in The Oak Ridge Boys. Last year, The Charlie Daniels Band played to a packed venue.
While not nationally known, Dufel said local singer Beth Zajie and her band are expected to bring in a younger crowd as well. She will play the free concert Friday at 9 p.m.
Events scheduled Friday also include the baby contest for 1- and 2-year-olds, the four-wheel drive Outlaw truck pull and the NBHA barrel meet.
Other musical entertainment slated at the fair this year will include Dr. Kwazy Tunes and The Fulton?Chain Gang.
Dufel noted some of the entertainment this year is a lot more interactive for audience members than it has been in prior years. As an example, he said Dr. Bengali's Comedy Hypnosis show will get the crowd involved at 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Sept. 4
The western horse show, the 4-H dairy challenge and the adult pedal tractor pull will be among the other events happening Sept. 4
Dufel said he personally is looking forward to the comedy of ventriloquist, and all-around entertainer, Sylvia Fletcher from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Dufel said younger fair attendees also will enjoy some of the daily activities planned for the fair, including the talent and karaoke contests, games for toddlers and "Horses, Horses, Horses."
As usual, there will be a variety of 4-H activities at the fair this year. Events will include: the 4-H Horse show on?Tuesday at 8 a.m., followed by open rabbit judging at 10 a.m.; on?Wednesday at 9 a.m., the sheep show, and the meat and fiber goat show; and?Thursday at 1 p.m., the poultry show.
Another change for this year will be the awarding of $1,000 to the winner of the Grand Slam Big Car portion of the Demolition Derby on Saturday.
With scrap prices being so high right now, Dufel said, the award should lure more competitors for the event, in turn providing a better show for the spectators.
At the South Bridge Street location on Tuesday, Dufel was among the people being kept busy preparing for the fair. Workers ran back and forth, getting some of the rides for the event arranged. Getting all of the food stands, rides and exhibits can take a while, Dufel said. But he was confident everything would be ready to go and spectators would turn out in droves, "if we can fight off the rain," he said with a laugh.
For more information and the full fair schedule and list of events, visit www.fondafair.com