Fun at the Fair

MELISSA KANIA | 716 PRESS

One of the most popular events in the region just wrapped up this past weekend, as the Erie County Fair’s just-under two weeks came to an end.I’m not much of a socialite or a carnival-goer, but the fair is one summer event that I always try to attend on a yearly basis. This year was tough because I had a concert and a trip for the first week or so of the fair, then had to work the other weekdays – but I managed to find time, on the second-last day of the fair.

My dad and I showed up at the fairgrounds in Hamburg around 1 p.m., which was a surprisingly good time with little traffic and few cars in the lot we parked in. Ten dollars for admission might seem like a lot, but you really have to think about how much you’re going to do while you’re there – I try to cover EVERYTHING because hello, I want my money’s worth. (Although, if you’re going for a concert at the Grandstand, fair admission is free with your ticket.)

We ended up being there for about seven hours, which is significantly longer than any other time I’ve ever gone – but it was time well spent. We covered almost all of the grounds, including most if not all of the buildings. I love seeing the different vendors and companies, even if I don’t end up purchasing much – it’s a neat way to see lots of variety.

I also really enjoyed cruising through the Antique Mall, even though (once again) I didn’t buy anything. As a Sabres fan, I mostly looked at what sort of memorabilia they had and was fascinated to find a collection of French Connection bobbleheads selling for $39 each. (Drat! If only I had that kind of money).

The food is always good, even if it can get expensive and isn’t the healthiest thing for you. I’m actually surprised there haven’t been any efforts to improve the healthy options there, now that I think about it – perhaps that’s something that will come in the years to follow.

We also checked out the animals (with my nephew, who’s nearly two), and walked by the local news station booths and such. As a kid, I loved paying $1 to spin the wheels and win a prize; now, I feel a bit less enthusiastic about it all when I realize the prize is a not-so-great plastic frisbee that will probably never be used in my household.

Finally of course is the midway. I’m not at all a ‘rides’ person; I have a delicate stomach and you won’t catch me dead on half of the amusement park or carnival rides. The one ride I do enjoy, no matter whether it’s the fair or Fantasy Island, is the ferris wheel; I love the view that you get at the top, and it’s slow enough that I don’t feel the height difference is too bad for me.

We usually ride the Ferris wheel at night, once it’s dark outside, and you can see all of the Fair lit up – it’s absolutely spectacular. This year, we ended up leaving at 8, before it got dark, so the ride was just as the sun was beginning to set and it was beautiful. On one side, you can see all of the Fair – the buildings, the rides below you lit up, the Kiddieland rides on the other side of the grounds. On the other side, you can see several parking lots filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of cars.

And one bonus that I never saw before – you can also see the lake and all the way to downtown Buffalo. What a view! That alone made me glad that we had gone when it was still light out.

I came out of the Fair well-fed, not too sunburned (yay!) and with a fun day behind me. Sure, my legs hurt from all the walking, but it was great exercise and definitely more enjoyable than walking on a treadmill in a gym!

Whether you go every year or you’ve never been in your life, I’d definitely recommend a visit to the Erie County Fair. Save the date: next year, the Fair will be held August 7-18.

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