Afton Fair celebrates 120th year

AFTON – The idea of a country fair often conjures up images of midway rides, funnel cake and cotton candy. The Afton Fair and Agricultural Exposition, which opens this Wednesday, is all that and much, much more.

“This is one of the last little country town fairs in New York State,” explained Dennis Fletcher, board president of the Afton Driving Park and Agricultural Association, the volunteer driven non-profit organization which owns the grounds and organizes the fair each year.

The five-day event will feature everything from midway rides, games and food vendors to live music, dairy and horse shows, harness racing, a firemen’s parade, tractor pulls, stock car races, demolition derbies and fireworks.

While the midway is a big draw, educating younger generations about the area’s rich agricultural heritage is the true focus of the event, according to the organizers.

The fair itself has a storied history, which dates back even further than the 120 years it is celebrating at its current location this year. According to Vice President Stephen Willes, the first fair was held in Afton in 1858. The original site, explained Fletcher, was just a “stone’s throw” away from the current 79-acre property, to which the fair moved in 1889.

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