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Opening Day at Fonda Fair

School rodeo, other events kick off fair

August 29, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA-It was opening day at the Fonda Fair on Tuesday, and among those in attendance were competitors at the New York State High School Rodeo.

"It's a lot of fun," said competitor Garret Nare, 11, of Fort Plain.

The 53 rodeo competitors were vying for a chance to compete in a national competition.

Article Photos

Above, Riggin Dailey of
Johnstown sits on his horse Cajun as he practices lasso techniques before the student rodeo at the Fonda Fair on Tuesday, which was the fair’s opening day.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

"We actually have a very good crowd for a Tuesday morning," said Montgomery County Agricultural Society President Rich Kennedy, whose two children were competing in the rodeo. The event included team roping, tie-down roping, pole bending, goat tying and bull riding. About a thousand people were watching the rodeo from the stands.

"If you look at the arena in here, it's pretty darn busy," he said.

The rodeo was just one of the activities at Tuesday's opening day of the 171st fair. The day's events also included a professional rodeo, agricultural and animal judging competitions, a bicycle giveaway and 4-H activities, in addition to rides and games.

Fact Box

Fair events

Here are some of the events coming up at the Fonda Fair:

Thursday - Four-wheel-drive outlaw diesel truck pull at 6 p.m.

Friday - Four-wheel- drive outlaw gas truck pull at 1 p.m.; cow chip bingo at 1 p.m.; four-wheel-drive outlaw gas truck pull at 6 p.m.

Saturday - Demolition derbies at 1 and 6 p.m.

Sunday -?Semi truck show and pull at 11 a.m.; semi and modified truck championships at 7 p.m. ; fireworks at 10 p.m.

Monday - Parade at noon; demolition derbies at 2:30 and 6 p.m.

With rain coming and going for the first few hours of the fair's first day, the midway was sparsely populated.

As the afternoon approached, however, the rain stopped and crowds started rolling in.

Kennedy described this year's approach to the fair as a "back to basics" approach.

Last year, flooding from Hurricane Irene delayed the opening of the fair by two days.

Kennedy said the fair's turnout and success this year will depend on the weather.

"If we get the weather they are predicting, we will have a phenomenal year," Kennedy said.

Butch Hazzard, the concessions manager for the Fonda Fair, said "anything could be better than last year."

"We're all just watching the weather," Hazzard said.

Vernon Duesler, who was attending the Pancake House stand near the arena, said the turn out to his stand had been good in the morning.

"We've been steady," Duesler said.

Duesler said the flooding last year cost the Pancake House a good deal of business, as well as product, appliances and a $700 cooler for a soda machine.

"It will probably take a couple years to" recover from the losses, Duesler said.

Near the arena, Patrick Clancy and Jeff Kidwell, operators of the Jungle Habitat stand, showed off exotic animals to attendees of the fair.

Among the animals was a male African lion, only 5 months old, named Jackson.

Clancy Kidwell played with the lion, which got a hold of his finger.

"He's just sucking on it," Clancy joked.

The fair will continue through Monday.

Arthur Cleveland is the Montgomery County Reporter. He can be reached at



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