Fair time!

The ferris wheel was mostly empty Wednesday night at the Fonda Fair. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

FONDA — Opening Day of the 178th annual Fonda Fair on Wednesday was supposed to start off with a bang, but unfortunately evolved into a soggy whimper.

Because of rain that started in the afternoon and continued through the evening, the NYTPA Modified Tractor Pull was yanked from the fair schedule.

“Everybody got in free,” noted Bill Andrist of Mayfield, walking with his family.

He referred to the rain as “dust control” for the Track of Champions, which went silent Wednesday night as the rain fell.

The fair midway was also virtually empty as rain continued and rides spun around with no riders.

Inside the Administration Building, the Montgomery County Agricultural Society by the afternoon made the decision to open the gates and admit people for free until closing time. No one was collecting parking fees either, as a scant number of vehicles parked off Bridge Street across from the fairgrounds.

Society board members said they were already looking positively to today’s second day of the fair, a rebound of sorts, which promises great weather. A board member was promoting the fair’s $10 per carload attendance until 5 p.m. today and $20 wristbands good all day today. There is also a $25 wristband from 5 p.m. to closing today.

The fair will go on with thrilling rides, livestock exhibits, music and games of chance. Events can be found on the event’s website — fondafair.com.

The agricultural society was organized Oct. 13, 1841, and the first fair in Fonda was held on the courthouse grounds, Nov. 11 and 13, 1841.

On Wednesday night, the reviews of the first day’s attendance — marred by the weather — wasn’t good.

Georgia Dutcher, staffing the Cooperative Extension Building, said she was there all day Wednesday.

“It’s been a little bit slow,” she said. “We should be busy tomorrow.”

Even one of the bathroom attendants referred to a slow first day of the six-day fair, which concludes on Monday’s Labor Day Holiday.

Today’s “Thrifty Thursday” events at the fair will include: a late morning baby contest for children birth to one year old, sponsored by the Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp.; a noon Tractor Driving Competition hosted by the Fonda-Fultonville FFA; 2 p.m., 4-H Open Class Swine Show; 7 p.m., Rodeo; 7 p.m., Demolition Derby — Metal Mayhem event sponsored by Veterans Hemp Market; and a 7 p.m., Rodeo.

Throughout the rest of the upcoming fair, activities will include: “Midnight Madness” on Friday, with free admission for children 14 and younger all day; Monster Truck Rides on Saturday and fireworks at 9 p.m.; free gate until 11 a.m. Sunday, followed by the fifth annual Convoy For A Cause Parade followed by Show & Shine; and Labor Day music.

New this year is the Fan Jam Country Music Fest from 1 to 8:30 p.m. Monday. Featured with be Tompkins Drive, Beadle Brothers, Country Swagg and Grit N Grace.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

By Patricia Older

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