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Jefferson County Fair opens Tuesday

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The country’s longest-running fair will celebrate 196 years of entertainment this week.

The Jefferson County Fair will run from Tuesday through Sunday at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, dazzling visitors with bear tricks, agriculture shows and gravity-defying rides.

“It’s tradition,” fair President Richard D. Simpson said. “It’s something you can’t get anywhere else. You can go to a theme park that has thrilly rides, but you can come here for a fraction of the cost.”

This year’s big show is Hall’s Bear Mountain Wildlife Show, which will run three times almost every day.

“Last year we had tigers,” Mr. Simpson said. “This year, we have bears.”

And although the fair rarely does the same show two years in a row, the Disc-Connected K9s, a troupe of acrobatic, frisbee-loving dogs, will return.

“These guys were really well-received last year,” Mr. Simpson said.

The fair attracted 51,380 people last year despite sweltering temperatures. Mr. Simpson said he will be happy if at least 50,000 people show up this year.

“If it’s too hot, that’s not good, but if it’s too rainy it’s awful,” he said.

The most popular rides in recent years, such as the Super Himalaya, Sky Flyer and Wild Claw, will be back this year.

Thrown into the mix are kid-friendly rides such as the merry-go-round and ferris wheel. Not counting the multiple funhouses, there will be 18 rides from which to choose.

Mr. Simpson reminds visitors that the fair is not just fun and games. Traditionally, livestock has been a central part of it.

“We have over 150 cows this year,” he said.

Other shows throughout the week will judge sheep, ducks, pigs, rabbits and many other farm animals raised throughout the north country.

“We have a bigger llama show than we have in years,” fair Manager Martha A. Petrie said.

Parking is available at Jefferson Community College’s Lot D. The price of admission is free Tuesday, $5 Wednesday through Saturday and $4 on Sunday. A wristband for the rides is $21. Also, there is free admission Saturday, Military Appreciation Day, for those with military identification.

A Mega Pass, which Mr. Simpson said is the best deal for bargain-hunters, includes fair admission and a wristband for a day, and costs $20 before the fair opens and $24 after it begins.

“I feel really good about this year’s fair,” Mr. Simpson said.

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