OLD BETHPAGE, NY (TIP): Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced September 19 that the Old Bethpage Village Restoration (OBVR) will host the 171st Annual Long Island Fair over two successive weekends on Friday, September 20th – Sunday, September 22nd and Friday, September 27th – Sunday, September 29th. The Fair, one of America’s oldest agricultural festivals, is a family-friendly festival offering a range of attractions, including exotic animals, reptile shows, pony and carnival rides, as well as traditional live music. “The Long Island Fair is a local tradition and one of the truly special family events that takes place each year,” said County Executive Mangano. “In our technology driven age, this event allows children and parents to connect with the sort of recreational activities that people enjoyed in an earlier and simpler time in America.”
Children can take part in fun-filled contests such as corn husking and potato sack races, while adults can test their skill and strength at two-person cross-cut sawing in a friendly competition for ribbons and prizes. Meanwhile, the livestock barn includes sheep, goats, horses, rabbits and other animals, while the livestock demonstration ring will feature the beautiful horse-drawn carriages of the Paumanok Driving Club and the miniature horses of the Keystone Miniatures Club. The Long Island Fair will also present a variety of historical period musicians, contra dancers, animal shows, mimes and other artists. For example, a giant entertainment tent will be home for a “Punch and Judy” puppet show, a magician and musical performances by the folk group Stout. Don’t miss the nostalgic Flying Horses Carousel, and ride horse drawn wagons. There will be live musical performances by: Mystic on Saturday, September 21st; Shot Gun Wedding on Sunday, September 22nd & Saturday, September 28th; and SixGun on Sunday, September 29th. Meanwhile, baseball fans can enjoy the end-of-season matches of OBVR’s Old Time Baseball League, which recreates “baseball” as it was played in the latter half of the 19th century, with teams competing in authentic uniforms and playing under the names of Long Island clubs of that era.
The Long Island Fair is the New York State-recognized county fair for Queens, Nassau and Suffolk, and involves the cooperation of the Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums and the Agricultural Society of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Thousands of exhibits are entered every year in friendly competition, with blue ribbon categories including livestock, flowers and vegetables from farms and home gardens, culinary, needlework, hobbies, and a junior division for those 13 and younger. This year’s competitions will also include an “Advanced” category for new professionals, novices and students who are serious about their craft. Entries in this category will require a fee, with generous first, second and third place prizes; and the judges will be required to submit credentials in the specific classes. The fair is unique among New York State County Fairs in that it maintains much of the historical ambiance of the 19th century. The fair was founded in 1842 and became known as the Queens County Agricultural Fair, but soon after was called the Mineola Fair when it moved to a permanent location in Mineola in 1866.
The fair moved to Roosevelt Raceway in 1953 and to the newly opened Old Bethpage Village Restoration in 1970, where it is held on a 12-acre recreation of the original Mineola Fairgrounds. Entrance fees are: $8 for children 5 – 12 (those under 5 are free), seniors and volunteer firefighters; and $12 for adults. Saturday, September 21st and Sunday, September 29th is “DOLLAR DAY”. The LI Fair hours are as follows: Fridays from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Old Bethpage Village Restoration provides visitors with a unique and wonderful opportunity to step back in time and experience life in a recreated mid-19th Century American village set on more than 200 acres. Old Bethpage Village is located at 1303 Round Swamp Road in Old Bethpage; for more information, please call: (516) 572- 8400. For more information about the Long Island Fair, visit www.lifair.org. For more information about the Parks Department, please visit: www.nassaucountyny.gov/parks or call: (516) 572-0200.