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First of WNY county fairs canceled last year makes triumphant return

The Genesee County Fair in Batavia is the leadoff for others around Western New York in making their comeback from the COVID pandemic.

BATAVIA, N.Y. — The first of the county fairs to return this year in Western New York begins Saturday in Batavia.

Like others, the Genesee County Fair was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, and it is looking forward to its comeback in 2021.

"We have been planning since last year, hoping the restrictions would be lifted and thankfully they were," said the fair's co-manager, Nick Ogeen.

Being that Genesee's is the first of the county fairs to return, Ogeen knows other fair managers will be watching.

"Whoever goes first is obviously the guinea pig, so hopefully other fairs can learn from us, and that will make sure everything goes smooth for them as well," he said.

Being the first scheduled, however, helps explain why the midway rides won't be ready to operate here until Tuesday, which is a few days after the fair opens.

No rides until Tuesday

According to Ogeen, when the drop-dead date arrived for contracts to be signed with the amusement ride company the fair contracts with, New York State had not yet decided whether to approve the return of fairs.

When the state finally got around to giving fairs the green light, the amusement company had already committed to another event.

However, the fair and the company were able to work out an agreement to allow for rides to be part of the last five days of the fair's run.

"The midway will be here Tuesday through Saturday, we have our draft horse shows and the demolition derby, which will be bigger and better than ever Friday the 30th at 7 o’clock," Ogeen said.

For a complete list of events, hours and operations and ticket prices follow this link to the Genesee County Fair website.

More than fairly happy

"It's a great feeling to be able to do this for the community again," Ogeen said. "We pour our heart and souls into this year round, and while it was a great disappointment not to be able to do it last year, it's just great to able to do it again."