Gates open at noon; fireworks & BPO to celebrate milestone; free admission with cans of food
The 175th Erie County Fair will officially open to the public at noon Wednesday, during a brief ceremony at the county fair's historic McKinley Gate (Gate 1). Simultaneously, additional ribbon cuttings will be performed at five additional county fair gates located throughout the grounds. The ceremony at the McKinley Gate will include remarks by Erie County Agricultural Society officials, the release of doves, and music performed by a Dixieland-style band.
Fairgoers can receive free admission on opening day by bringing in cans of food to benefit the Food Bank of WNY. Donations will be collected at all county fair gates.
Also on opening day: The first 100 fairgoers through each gate will receive a wooden nickel good for free admission to "Heritage Day" on Aug. 14. The day also features $2 adult admission and $2 parking.
At 8 p.m., the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will take to the Gusto Grandstand stage for a free performance followed by the return of fireworks to the county Fair. The free, 90-minute show will be under the direction of music director JoAnn Falletta and will feature selections that represent the history and spirit of the county Fair.
The BPO's solo appearance at the county fair will be its first on the fairgrounds since 1956. As part of the program's musical finale, the sky above the county fair will be illuminated with fireworks. The pyrotechnic display is being provided by Matt Shaw of Skylighters Fireworks of Orchard Park.
The county fair's opening day also marks the general public's first opportunity to explore the newest attraction, the $8 million, 60,000-square-foot Agriculture Discovery Center. Located behind the east grandstand near McKinley Parkway, the building features a state-of-the-art milking parlor, combine simulator, chick hatchery, blacksmith shop and theater.
The completion of the building is the signature element of the yearlong celebration of the 175th Erie County Fair. The center is a major, long-term commitment by the Erie County Agricultural Society to support its core agriculturally based mission.
The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private, not-for-profit membership organization that managed a 275-acre fairgrounds located seven miles from downtown Buffalo. Established in 1819, the society is the oldest civic organization in Western New York. It does not receive funding from New York state or from Erie County.
The mission of the Erie County Agricultural Society, sponsors of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York. The county fair strives to fulfill appropriate aspects of the agricultural, educational, entertainment and recreational needs of Western New York.
The 2014 Erie County Fair will be held Aug. 6-17. For more information, visit www.ECFair.org.