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Summer Fairs and Festivals



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For more than a century, the well-known Walton Fair has been a source of amusement for people of all ages. Like many summer fairs, this was an opportunity for people to experience many things that they may or may not have experienced before. Nowadays, the Delaware County Fair in Walton is full of rides, small and large vendors, and animal showings. These aspects have not changed too much over the years, but readers might not be aware that horse races were one of the Fair’s largest attractions for decades.

The Delaware County Fair in Walton has remained an opportunity for fun and gathering for the people of our home counties for over a century, and when looking back throughout the years, this has not changed. But there were many other fairs and festivals as well.

In 1902, this short announcement in the News tells of something we can all get excited about….ice cream! It was a church fundraiser, and seemed to be successful.

The ice cream social at W.S. Dickson’s hall for the benefit for the church was well attended and was a success financially.

This ad from the September 1 paper in 1922 promised readers that year’s fair would be the biggest yet, and also talked about some exciting events.

This promises to be Walton’s biggest fair. Aeroplanes stunts each day from 9 a.m to 6 p.m., Trotting and pacing races on September 6-7-8, Great Midway; the biggest of free attractions; something to amuse them all, big or small. This will be Walton’s biggest fair and the price of admission will be the same as last year. There will be excursions to the Walton Fair.

In 1927, the News mentioned that this fair was the only county fair out of several, and that the crowds were expected to be quite large. It is also mentioned that the fair is a chance for one to discover the new developments in cattle raising.

The big Walton Fair will be on next week and with good weather should draw a large crowd, as this is the only county fair left in several counties and we understand management has left nothing undone to make this one of the best yet. It is a place where one meets all his old friends and neighbors, besides seeing what is done in the line of raising cattle and farm produce besides the attraction that the fair give to you free. We trust that the attendance will be sufficient to warrant a continuation of this fair for years to come – Andes Correspondent.

In 1931, we were told of various amusements and attractions that someone going to a fair can get excited for. Everything from acrobats to airplane stunts to a comedy act was discussed.

Next week will mark a holiday for most residents of Delaware and adjoining counties as it is a custom of long standing with many families to attend the Walton Fair at least one day during fair week Delaware county’s big exposition will be held this year on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, September 1, 2, 3 and 4. Tuesday will be devoted mainly to the arrangement and placing of exhibits and no admission will be charged on this day, but on Wednesday the fair starts off in full swing. All exhibits must be on the grounds by Tuesday night…

The free attractions on this day as well as on all the days of the fair will be as follows:

The Four Fantinos, who are acrobats of the European school, and now touring the country, will feature thrilling aerial acrobatics and trapeze dives and twists. In addition Miss Mimi Fantino, known as the woman Hercules, will perform amazing feats of strength.

The El Rey Sisters, dancing roller skaters, are sure to amuse the crowds…

…The management believes that it has secured one which would make even the most hardened cynic convulse in side splitting roars, in the form of Arthur & Norman…

The Belleclaire Brothers will appear in feats of gymnastic strength that will excite wonder…

No fair is complete without s display of horse flesh. The automobile may have become the common mode of transportation but for true excitement there is no event as exciting as a closely contested horse race…

Another acat which is never tiresome, no matter how often seen, is the riding of team of Troop C…

There will be a fleet of airplanes at the fair brought here by the association so those who are are airminded can ride…

…There will be free attractions and in addition a splendid display of fireworks… The agricultural exhibit this year will be large and of high quality…Of course no fair is complete without a good midway….

In 1936, a sixteen year old from Margaretville won not one, but four first place art prizes. This was truly an impressive feet.

Miss Milla Etts, a 16-yearold Margaretville girl, won four first places prizes in the art exhibit at the Walton Fair last week.

The prizes awarded are as follows:

1st prize for landscape.

1st prize for pastel drawing.

1st prize for magazine cover design.

1st prize for Walton Fair poster.

In 1941, we are told of horse racing, firemen parades and many, many vendors and exhibits that someone going to the fair could look forward to. Horse racing, however, seemed to be a big attraction in many past years.

Two veterans of the Southern Tier harness racing will answer the starters bell when heats open Wednesday, Aug. 20, in the harness events, one of the features of the 55th presentation of the Delaware county fair and horse show.

In 1945, with the country in the midst of World War II, the Walton Fair continued strong, and was full of amusements such as horse racing, a contest for “homemade farm machinery”, a pet show, and a childrens’ day, were young fairgoers could get in free.

Gov. Thomas E. Dewey will speak at 1 p.m. on Traditional day, Thursday, Aug. 23, as the highlighting attraction of the Delaware county agricultural and horse show which lifts the curtain Tuesday on the largest number of entertainment and educational features ever assembled on the grounds at Walton.

From Firemen’s night, starting at 7 Tuesday evening to the finale Friday afternoon and evening will feature B. Ward Beam’s International Congress of Daredevils, the fair committee has gone all out to make this third wartime edition of the annual exposition unprecedented for its appeal to people of all ages in the country.

The appearance of the chief executive of the state in Walton follows efforts early this year to bring the governor to the exposition…

Child fairgoers will be admitted to the grounds free on Wednesday, which is designated Children’s day. One of the most popular features last year and a profitable on for winners was the pet show, which will be expanded and improved this year with worthwhile prize money for the best pets…

…horse racing will once more vie with other fair amusements for the interest of the throngs who will gather in Walton this year…

Six units of Pomona Grange form various sections of the country will give a noteworthy exhibit of farm produce in the display booths beneath the grandstand.

…the rides, concessions and other “regulars” of the fair panoply will be there in more spectacular array than ever.

Harry Main, veteran county horseman, will supervise again one of the most colorful and pretty attractions of the fair the county horse show. Entries already received indicate that interest in the show is at a white heat and lovers of horseflesh will have an eye-fulling treat in watching the judging Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

Encouraging farmers to improvise during the farm machinery shortage is implemented again this year in a contest for homemade farm machinery under the direction of C.B. Denton of Walton.

And lastly, in 1973, we were told of a Congressman and his wife coming to the fair, and also of a talent show broken down into various parts throughout the week. More horse racing and showing, along with various displays and events for the whole family, continue throughout the week. (Also, “old timers” talent show for people over thirty? Yikes).

Congressman and Mrs. Howard W. Robison will attend the Walton fair on Tuesday afternoon and will remain at the fair for the firemens parade that evening…

A 100-foot tent will house many commercial and service exhibits. A talent show will take place each day of the fair at 1 p.m. as follows: Tuesday, individual and group dances, individual and group instrumentals. Wednesday for youngsters 9 and under; also novelty acts, solos and groups, vocal solos and vocal groups. Thursday will be old Timer’s contest for people 30 and over; also country and western solos and country and western groups. Friday, baton solos and groups, folk singing solo and folk singing groups. On saturday first place winners from each day’s contest will compete for the championship…

The Walton Fair has changed some, but it has also remained largely unchanged. It remains a chance for people to see things that they normally wouldn’t, catch up on news that is normally beyond their scope, and just have some good, old fashion fun. Here’s hoping that this never changes.


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