Jefferson County Fair kicks off 205th year

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WATERTOWN — The 205th Jefferson County Fair, billed as the longest continuously running fair in the nation, began Tuesday with fair food, rides, games, and of course, agriculture.

Christine A. Stein, the small animal superintendent for the fair, said a lot of the birds at the fair were from 4-H youth.

4-H, for Head, Heart, Hands, Health, is an organization for students 18 and younger that encourages giving back to the community, learning and hands-on activities, Ms. Stein said.

Drew C. Stein, the 4-H summer educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension, said the organization tries to do some activities during the fair to keep people entertained. Most shows occur in the morning, so they plan events during the afternoon and evening.

“We’re just trying to keep everyone having a good time,” she said.

Some of the activities planned for Tuesday included making necklaces, bookmarks and key chains. Zoo representatives will also be at the fair every day.

Ms. Stein said 4-H uses word of mouth to encourage youngsters to bring their birds and poultry to the fair.

“People have come to the fair and they realized that, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize I could bring birds to the fair,’ that sort of thing, they don’t realize they can enter,” she said.

The star of the show at the poultry tent was Elliot, Ms. Stein’s bird, a silver duckwing, old English game bantam rooster.

“It’s a big name for a little bird,” Ms. Stein said.

Ms. Stein carried Elliot around for people to pet and hold.

Earlier this year, New York state banned bird shows to try to prevent the spread of avian flu. The state lifted the ban last month as the spread slowed down, so the birds were at their usual posts at the fair Tuesday.

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