Although the Columbia County Fair opens at noon on Wednesday, August 31st, there is plenty of activity at the Fairgrounds in the days leading up to that day.

The Open Horse Show returns to the Grandstand on Sunday, August 28, beginning at 9:30AM (grounds open at 7AM).  Judge Bethany White of Pittsford, Vermont will be presiding over a total of 31 Classes.  This annual event brings the best senior (age 19 and over) and junior riders to the ring to compete for ribbons, cash, and prizes.

Superintendent Holly Cooley is excited to announce that a green horse and rider division has been added this year for both English and Western riders.  “The Show’s sponsors – Greene County Horseshoe Supply Inc., Dover Saddlery, Wenk Funeral Home, Macfarlane Contracting, and Chatham Brewing – have been tremendously generous and we have plenty of prizes to give out this year,” she said.

Refreshments from White Stone Cafe will be available during the show.  Visitors should note that NO DOGS will be allowed on the horse show grounds for the safety of all riders, horses, and spectators.

Judging in several contests will also takes place before the Fair officially begins.  These traditional competitions are part of the deep agricultural roots of the Fair.

In the Amateur Craft Beer, Wine, and Cider Contest sponsored by S.T. Hudson’s Son Plumbing and HVAC, adult beverage makers who live within 50 miles of Chatham will compete for cash and Best of Show in each category.  Be sure to check out the winners – you may see the first steps toward a future county business!
The Scarecrow Contest, sponsored by the Columbia Land Conservancy, awards cash and rosettes to winners in four categories: youth, adult, youth group or club, and adult group or club.  Entries are judged on originality, creativity, design, durability, and neatness.  These creations are signature features at the Fair that never fail to amuse and delight.

The Giant Pumpkin Contest invites growers in Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Dutchess counties to bring their biggest and best, as long as it weighs at least 75 pounds.  These big bruisers will be on display throughout the Fair and make for great photo ops!

Pupils from the school systems of Columbia County submit artwork in two categories, Pre-K through Grade 5 and Grades 6-12, for exhibition and competition in the School Work display.  A panel of three volunteer judges, all local artists themselves, will be awarding cash prizes and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place rosettes.  In addition, Columbia Greene Community College will sponsor the Columbia County Fair Awards.  A wide variety of artistic expression is on display in the Little Red Schoolhouse – come see what the county’s students have been painting, drawing, photographing, printing, sculpting, and creating!

The heart of homespun talent can be seen in the submissions for Quilting and Domestic Arts and Crafts (think canned goods, pies and other baked goods, artwork, cut flowers and arrangements, needlework, crafts, and the like).  You’ll see other heirlooms-to-be in the Woolbooth, sponsored by Pepsi Bottling Group of Albany.  Winners take home cash, ribbons, and rosettes for their efforts.
The best work of amateur photographers of all ages will be on display in the Photography Contest.  Premiums and awards will be given to the winners in several classes.  All photos of landscapes, animals, flowers, people, news events, and sports action must have been taken within the Columbia County area, so it’s a great way to see the county from a new perspective.  Sponsored by Photo Art by Ken Bovat.

Two new competitions, the Cookie Contest and Duct Tape Fashion Show, will explore what can be done with chocolate chips and a roll of duct tape (not at the same time of course!)  These two contest are sure to be full of creative ideas!

Homegrown Sunflowers will be judged on height, size of head, and number of flowers on one stalk (the world record is 837!)  Gardeners in the adult and youth divisions vie for cash, a rosette, and bragging rights!

The 181st Columbia County Fair is located off Route 66 in Chatham, New York.  Opening day is Wednesday, August 31, at noon.  The Fair – “always runs over Labor Day”, and concludes on Monday, September 5.  General Admission is $12 and includes parking and all entertainment.  Daily hours are Wednesday: noon to 11PM, Thursday – Monday: 10AM – 11PM.  Seniors Day and Veterans Day is Wednesday with special pricing for $5.00 for ALL patrons.  Youth under 18 admitted free that day until 4PM.  Children 12 and under are always free.

Advance admission tickets may be purchased for $10 at Price Chopper or any branch of the Bank of Greene County August 1-31, and are also available by mail.  Check the Fair’s website for details and a downloadable order form.  Special ride passes at $20 Wednesday and Monday and $25 all other days are available at the ride ticket booth near the Cattle Area only from noon through closing.