HAMBURG, NY - It's already time for the summertime tradition that sends huge crowds of people to Hamburg looking for great food, shows, rides and a whole lot more.
PHOTO GALLERY: Opening Day at the Erie County Fair (http://on.wgrz.com/11MFrce)
The Erie County Fair kicks off with Channel 2 Day today - a 2pm opening time, $2 admission, and $2 parking. You can get in free with a canned food item to donate. And be sure to come visit us at the Channel 2 deck near the State Police building and the Expo Hall!
Events for the first day include the Three Days Grace concert with guest Finger Eleven, a parade at 4, and the Lasertainment show to end the day.
"Things are brighter and bigger," said Jim Strates of Strates Shows. "And there's some new stuff and some old stuff for people who like to just ride the merry-go-round and the Ferris wheel."
Strates knows rides- his company has been supplying the entertainment at the Erie County Fair for nine decades now.
And he thinks this will be the best year yet.
"They've got a gorgeous fairgrounds and this year I was just shocked at all the work they've done," Strates said. "They've got new buildings and flowerbeds and even regraded and repaved parts of the property that I thought were newly done a few years ago. It just keeps getting better and better."
They say everyone loves a fair. Strates says it's really the tradition that keeps people coming back year after year.
"The fact that people can come generation after generation and they look forward to the experience and remember the experience as they remember it as a child," he said, "And they want to duplicate that experience with the next generation or maybe with grandparents bringing back the grandkids."
He added, "The fair food's great, in proper doses, preferably after you ride the rides."
You want food? Cameron Murray knows fair food. His Chester's Gators and Taters serves up some of that strange stuff you'll only find in the middle of a midway on a hot summer's day.
"We have got gator kebabs, shark kebabs, we've got deep fried Rice Krispie treats, which are new this year," Murray said. "We just introduced them, I don't think anybody around the whole country is doing them."
Gator kebabs? How do those taste?
"Some people say it tastes like chicken, some people say it tastes like other things they've had. Everybody says it tastes good," Murray said. "Matter of fact, when most people come and get it, they come back for more."
All part of the fair experience, now going for the 174th year strong here in Erie County.
"There's a lot to offer for people of all ages," Strates said, "and it's just great to be part of that tradition and to watch people enjoy themselves as they come out."