CARMEL, N.Y. - Celebrating 47 years of any event gives time to reflect on what has made it so successful that it continues to attract visitors year after year.

Times have changed, the public’s interests are different—what was considered new and fun at one point, now seem dated and old-hat.

Perhaps that is the key to the Putnam County 4-H Fair’s success—the fair always offers something new and interesting. The other enticement that brings fairgoers back each year is that the events that have proven to be appealing and exciting will still be available to experience.

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As with any fair, a major attraction is always the animals. There will be farm livestock to see that will also be presented by 4-H Club members who will answer a series of questions regarding their knowledge and care of their animal and will be vying for the ultimate prize—the blue ribbon. On Friday, July 27, pony rides will be available. Smaller animals are also at the fair, participating in the dog obedience demonstration. Additionally, a variety of animals both large and small will be at the livestock pavilion as well as in the poultry barn. 

The fair offers music at Shady Grove Theater—a natural amphitheater area located near the entrance of the fairgrounds. The Youth Showcase on Friday highlights the talents of performers up to the age of 18, and on Saturday and Sunday professional entertainers will offer an array of music genres from jazz to country to rock ‘n’ roll. 

Interested in some nourishment? There is a wide selection. Try the food court with hamburgers, vegetarian chili and more, or fresh corn-on-the-cob cooked on outdoor grills, or freshly squeezed lemonade at the lemonade stand. And of course, the culinary highlight of the weekend is the famous pig roast ($15) and/or chicken barbecue dinner ($15 for half a chicken or $12 for a quarter chicken) on Saturday, July 28, at 5 p.m., that includes a drink, baked beans, watermelon and potato salad. Contact the fair office to order tickets in advance.

The Discover Putnam tent hosts not-for-profit agencies and organizations with educational displays in addition to some local businesses that are there to share information with the community. Follow the trail of laughter and giggles, from both children and their parents, and you’ll find the magic shows and demonstrations at Tony’s World of Science and Magic Tent. The games tent and creative craft tent are both also a magnet for children, where they can try their skill with a ball or a golf club or perhaps get their face painted.

Stop by the Civil War and Revolutionary War encampments to learn about the area’s involvement at that point in history. This year the re-enactors will provide the color guard for opening ceremonies at noon Friday (The public is welcome and encouraged to attend).

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, just before the chicken barbecue, there will be the annual Country Living Auction, called by a certified auctioneer. It’s a fun-filled event as the paddles are raised and the bidding begins. Items that have previously been part of the country-living’ theme consist of lawn and garden equipment, patio items, sporting goods as well as gift certificates to golf events, Broadway shows, sporting events and more. The fair’s website is continually updating auction items as they become available. All auction items are donated and tax deductible.

There is also an opportunity to be part of the fair and take a more active role. If you have a hobby or interest in photography, woodworking, quilting, baking, or horticulture for example, then enter your work for display and maybe win a blue ribbon! Or, perhaps you and your family/friends would like to volunteer to help out in the craft tent, games tent, or try cooking at the food court, or share your skills in other areas. Give fair organizers a call and they will work around your schedule.

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Putnam County has been the sponsor of this event since its inception, in addition to many other programs offered throughout the year to county residents using the resources and researched based information from Cornell University. Interested in learning more about CCE’s presence in Putnam? Stop by the exhibit area set aside in the Master Gardener plant sale tent. While you’re there, it would be a good time to see the vast, colorful display of flowers, plants and accessories available. Master Gardener volunteers will be on hand to answer horticulture questions. 

With free admission and parking, the goal of the fair is to offer an exciting experience with a variety of things to see and do during the three-day weekend. Call 845-278-6738 for questions or go to and review all the fair has to offer.

Article provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County.