We are more than the Erie County Fair! Click on the logos below to find out more about all the fun at the Fairgrounds!
See the making of a Holiday showcase like never seen before, created by local set/prop designer Ron Daugherty.
“Ok, here it is.” Ron Daugherty stood in hazy darkness as the lights finally came on in his prop warehouse in Buffalo. His shrug and nonchalant attitude nowhere near matched the monstrous set that was coming into focus behind him.
Standing sixteen feet tall and nearly forty feet wide was a porch; no it was more like the front of a house. Situated beside it was a small gathering of intricately detailed and colorful buildings- a village nearly cowering in the shadow of a house- what could it all be?
Anyone who knows Dougherty or his work would assume that this is another one of his internationally known haunted or Halloween displays. However, this was a stark break from his normal. What was sitting in that warehouse were pieces of what is going to be the biggest, best and most intricate Santa display in the area. Named the North Pole Experience, the display will cover nearly 10,000 square feet.
In February, the sketch arrived at the Fairgrounds illustrating four distinct areas of what will become the new North Pole Experience. The sketch could not do justice to what was being assembled in the warehouse.
The quaint village wasn’t small- it was elf sized. It will soon be decorated for Christmas and inhabited by animatronic elves and situated around a Christmas Tree to create Santaville.
Stacked against a wall were what looked like slabs of wood haphazardly organized with no regard to color, size or cut. Daugherty pointed at the pile and said “there’s the workshop.” Implying that that pile of wood was all ready to be moved to the Fairgrounds to become an inside look at Santa’s Workshop. The scene will be completed with elves hard at work.
Now to the porch- the focal point of the North Pole Experience. The porch will be where guests can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus- right at their own home. Santa’s house will without a doubt be the most extravagant meeting place for the Big Guy in Western New York. When complete the porch will feature an ornate chair, Christmas decorations, and a sign to remind all who come just whose house it is.
For the fourth and final portion of the North Pole Experience, guests will walk through “Penguinpalooza.” The artic themed space has yet to be constructed, but don’t worry- the rest of the items only took two months to complete. This area will have an artic feel with the Northern Lights shining above and flocks of decorative penguins lining the path out of the building.
Waiting in line for Santa will never be more fun than at the North Pole Experience- which can only be seen at the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights. This interactive and magical experience is included in your carload admission. The attention to detail in the display will make it the standout attraction of the tenth annual event, which opens its gates November 28th at 5:00pm and runs select dates through December 28th. For more information on the event, visit www.FairgroundsHoliday.com.
Insider Bonus- Here is a photo of Santa’s Workshop before it was dissembled for transportation!
The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights is looking for talented local choirs and music groups to perform this holiday season.
If you or someone you know is in a group that would like to perform apply today! Shows will be approximately 45 minutes in length and must include family friendly holiday music. Bell choirs, school choirs, a cappella groups, and other musical acts are welcome to apply.
The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights runs select dates from November 27 to December 27 and there are multiple show times per date.
Before and after your performance you and your friends and family can explore the Festival and all it has to offer. From a nearly two mile long drive through of light displays, to rides, activities, shows, shopping, and of course SANTA- the Festival of Lights has all the makings for a perfect winter evening.
Applications will be accepted until November 15th. Apply here!
See you August 12-23, 2015!
…and donated more than 42,000 pounds of food to the Food Bank of WNY. Food along with cash donations will serve the Food Bank in providing more than 66,000 meals to those who need them most.
Food Bank representatives say that Fairgoers donated over 28,000 pounds on Opening Day alone.
The Erie County Fair Food Drive proved to be essential in 2013 for the Food Bank in bridging the gap between the summer and holiday months, when donations are generally low. Last year’s donations were being used well into November and the Fair is excited to provide assistance to the Food Bank again this year.
The Fair is honored to help the community that has welcomed and grown with us for the past 175 years by giving back in this small but important way. However, it could not be done without the kindness and support of the Fairgoers who came out with bags of food in
their arms to help those in need within our community. Thank you to all who made this year’s Food Bank another great success.
For more than a year the 175th Erie County Fair has promised to be the “Best Fair Ever” and when gates opened on August 6, 2014
it was time to stand and deliver. The Fair hosted headline entertainment, exhibited livestock from throughout the northeast, awarded hundreds of ribbons, and helped WNYer’s pack on some pounds with its delicious food offerings. After twelve days of tradition, agriculture, and excitement the Erie County Fair is proud to announce it has broken another attendance record with 1,220,101 guests coming through the gates.
This number exceeds 2013’s record of 1,160,184. Fair organizers believe this increase in attendance is due in part to as special events such as Wallenda Walks the Fair (August 10) and Heritage Day (August 14) alongside a yearlong Think Fair Thoughts marketing campaign.
With all its moving parts organizers will be the first to admit that it is difficult to throw a “perfect” Fair but with a lot of hard work, preparation, and fun it is safe to say the 175th edition of the Erie County Fair came pretty close.
On behalf of the Erie County Fair, its staff, its volunteers, and its directors, thank you Western New York, for continuing to make the Fair a must see summer attraction.
Whether you come for a few hours or the full twelve days, the Fair appreciates your patronage and hopes to see you in 2015. Mark the calendars because the 2015 Fair runs August 12-23- just 357 days away!
High wire artist and daredevil Nik Wallenda will be walking over the 175th Erie County Fair on August 10, 2014. The walk will be 125 feet in the air and approximately 1350 feet long. This is the guy that walked over the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, so you may be thinking, this should be a piece of cake for Wallenda to complete. However, upon further examination of some of the walk conditions and variables you may find that this could prove to be one of Wallenda’s toughest skywalk attempts yet.
1. BBQ Grease on the Wire.
With three delicious Chicken BBQ establishments going full speed below there is the threat that the smoke and grease prove to be a factor in wire walking conditions.
2. Alligators and Tigers!
Yep, that’s right, alligators and tigers will be on the property where Wallenda will be walking. Sure falling into the Grand Canyon would be scary, but so would be being eaten by an alligator.
3. The Enticing Smell of Fair Food.
Fried dough, Italian sausage, candy apples, gyro, fresh cut french fries….it’s all enough to knock a seasoned professional off his game. Wallenda will be passing over the main Food Court, hopefully he heads onto the wire with a full stomach.
So there is the roaring waters of Niagara Falls, and then there are Western New Yorkers. A sea of either of these two can be equally intense. When WNYers get together they know how to party…will the crowds distract Wallenda? We will wait and see.
5. Flying I-Got-It Balls.
“Toss in ball one…” One would think throwing a small ball into a bin three feet away would be a simple task but anyone who has walked through the Fair can see that errant balls can be found just about anywhere.
6. Double the Average Walk Length.
Wallenda practices, a lot, but this attempt will be the longest of the year, actually almost double the length of his typical walks. That being said, a longer walk mixed with fair food and August heat, it might just be nap time on the wire!
7. Barn Noises.
We all know that joke about the annoying obnoxious cow, but at the Fair more than 1,600 animals will be housed in the barns for the walk. That is a lot of oinking, neighing, mooing, clucking, baaing…you get the idea.
8. Over-Excitement about Fireworks
Following Wallenda’s walk there will be a firework display, with another one to follow at 10pm. If Wallenda is like the rest of us, he loves fireworks and knowing there’s some waiting at the end of the wire, he just might speed up and lose focus.
9. This Happy Goat.
Look at this guy…he’s so happy and full of hope for Wallenda to make it to the end of the walk. With eyes like that, there is a lot of pressure on Wallenda not to disappoint him.
10. Buffalo Weather.
When you are walking in the 716, you have to be prepared for just about anything. While we should be far enough removed from snow in August, you never really know.
As you can see, Skywalk Erie County Fair could prove to be quite the challenge for Nik Wallenda. Be there to see this one time spectacular stunt on Sunday, August 10, 2014 at the 175th Erie County Fair. And don’t think this is your average county fair…its the Best Fair Ever! With Nik Wallenda will be walking over it in addition to all the rides, games, food, and excitement fairgoers have come to love this is a not to miss summer event.
ERIE COUNTY FAIR CREATES NEW TRAFFIC PLAN FOR QUINBY DRIVE
Starting Friday, August 8, guests coming to the Fair will not be able to use Quinby Drive to access entrance to the Erie County Fair. New traffic patterns have been developed to help ease traffic congestion and assist in local traffic, all with the safety of our guests in mind.
Patrons heading to the Fair southbound on South Park Avenue (Route 62) will see signs directing them past Quinby Drive and instructing them to proceed to the main Fair entrance or they can continue to Clark Street and enter the grounds via Gate 5. Patrons headed southbound on McKinley Parkway will encounter signs directing them past Quinby Drive to utilize the next two Fair gate entrances on the right hand side or they may park in lots across from The Fairgrounds.
The Fair has more than doubled the capacity of parking adjacent to McKinley Parkway including the lot across from Gate 1, which is now managed by the Fair.
For purposes of exiting the grounds from Gates 3 or 4, patrons will continue to use the two designated Quinby Drive exits.
Quinby Drive will remain open and accessible for local residential and business traffic.
This traffic plan has resulted from collaboration between the Erie County Fair and the Town of Hamburg Police Department, Town of Hamburg Emergency Management, Erie County Highway Department, NYS Department of Transportation, Standard Parking Plus and the office of the Erie County Sheriff.
Thank you for your cooperation!
Think about it….its a cold winters night in Buffalo- you are sitting on your couch watching the snow fly with a cup of hot chocolate and in an instant your are transported to to the Erie County Fair. The snow turns to sunshine. The hot chocolate turns into a big helping of fried dough. Your flannel pajamas are suddenly summer wear matched with your most comfortable walking shoes….
It can. Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series has a new edition: The Erie County Fair can transport its readers back to summer, back to the Fair. The book features images from the Erie County Fair’s archives dating back decades. From the way people dress to how animals were presented has changed noticeably throughout the years but what readers will find is that so much as stayed the same when it comes to the traditions of the Fair.
No aspect of the Fair was left out. Whether it is the midway, food, animals, or entertainment that calls you home to the Fair each year this book will offer insight to the how the Fair transformed from humble beginnings to the eleventh largest Fair in North America.
You can pick up your copy of the book in area bookstores, independent retailers, through Arcadia Publishing (888-313-2665) or by clicking here.
This is a must have souvenir to commemorate the 175th Erie County Fair. It may be just what you need to battle the winter so it can be Fair-time once more!
You may remember in October, the Erie County Fair sent a poster from 1883 to be restored (if you don’t remember, click here to read the story and get caught up). Well, it is back and has quite the story to tell of its journey!
Here was the poster before the work began (in case you didn’t want to read the first story):
Laura Schell of Lockport took to the task right away and for those who don’t know much about what it takes to restore a poster from 1883, here is exactly what she has been doing all those months:
First, the poster was glued to brown paper with spray adhesive and then glued again to foam core. It was done quite unevenly, we may add and proved to be quite the challenge to remove.
After Schell saw what she was up against, she gave the poster a little massage. Using soft grated gum eraser crumbs and her fingers she was able to clean up the surface dirt off of much of the poster. Many parts of the poster were to fragile for this step.
Then came the un-doing of the gluing! Using a metal spatula Schell carefully scrapped away first the foam core and then the brown paper. This left our poor old poster in three distinct pieces.
The sections bid each other farewell as they were soaked separately in an aqueous (water based) bath for about 40 minutes and then left out to air dry.
Once dry, the three sections were humidified and and placed on its new liner, mulberry paper. Instead of spray adhesive, Schell opted for a safer option of wheat starch paste.
After taking part of the journey on their own, the three sections were reunified again as they have been since 1883 by being lined up and pasted with wheat starch paste.
The now unified poster was headed for a makeover now! Large holes and missing pieces were filled with Japanese tissue and colored with acrylics. Small holes were filled with paper pulp that was dyed in a similar tone.
After all of the light handiwork Schell did, it was time for some heavy lifting. This came when the poster had to be flattened. The poster was first humidified and taped lightly to the table to begin the flattening process. Then it was humidified again, placed between sheets of fabric and weighed down.
Finally, the pulp fills were colored in with colored pencils.
And that’s it. Sounds simple right? At the end of these months the poster looks incredible and has been cared for in a way that will no doubt add decades to its life, if not centuries!
The fully restored poster is now headed for framing. It will then be on display at the Visit Buffalo Niagara Gallery at the Market Arcade building on Main Street downtown.
People have already been asking where they can get a replica of this poster and the Fair is happy to announce our friends at the Buffalo News will be giving a replica copy to each of their new subscribers at the Erie County Fair! Look for the Buffalo News on the back side of Hamburg Gaming, sign up for a newspaper subscription and ta-da you have your very own 1883 Erie County Fair poster.
This blog is dedicated to the memory of poster pieces that could not be salvaged.