NORWICH – The 162nd Annual Chenango County Fair came to a close Sunday after an army of volunteers and vendors helped to accommodate the more than 40,000 attendees estimated to have passed through its gates in the last six days.
“We’ve already started planning for our next county fair. That process begins with talking to vendors and entertainers that were a hit at this year’s fair and asking them if they’d like to return again next year,” said Mary Weidman, president of the Chenango County Agricultural Society.
Weidman said that she and the fair’s nine directors were already planning for the 163rd Chenango County Fair and hoped to have the final arrangements for the 2010 event by May.
“It’s a never ending process, from one to the next,” she said.
This year’s fair included countless sources of entertainment from amusement rides, midway games, vendors, live music, livestock competitions, equine events, agricultural exhibits, demolition derby, motocross stunt show, the fireman’s parade, tractor pulls and many more events all made possible by the Coleman Brothers Carnival and hundreds of volunteers.
At any given time, Weidman estimated that there are between 50 and 75 volunteers working just for fair organizers alone, not counting the dozens of others contributing to their individual non-profit agency or community groups such as 4-H, Rotary, Grange, Lions Club, the Boy Scouts and several others.
The pool of volunteers who handle parking, security and other basic crowd control duties is heavily drawn from familiar community contributors such as the Chenango County and Norwich Fire Police along with a number of other groups often tied to local emergency services or agriculture. However, there are also number of private individuals and enthusiasts who dedicate their time as well.
“What we’ve got is a great pool of people, who without, none of this would be possible,” said Weidman.
The impact of these volunteers was exemplified last Thursday evening when they responded to a medical emergency in the event’s grandstand. A man suffering from a heart attack was resuscitated by EMS volunteers after his heart had stopped.
“EMS was on the grounds and were able to resuscitate the man. They saved his life,” reported Weidman.
The man was then transported to the Chenango Memorial Hospital where he is reportedly “doing well.”..