We pause to honor the memory of great people who have passed away since our last meeting, our friends and family that have crossed the great divide and entered life-everlasting. We miss them because of the warm friendship they brought to our gathering and the wise counsel they offered their respective fairs and to the Association.
Broome County Fair
Marie Plass McMillen, 79, operated an antique business and country store, was involved in local government and the Altamont Fair. She was an avid gardener, decorator, cook, baker, furniture refinisher and event organizer and enjoyed entertaining and spending time with her family. Marie never went to a gathering empty-handed. She was widely known for her cookies, pastry, jams, jellies, and pickled delicacies. She left a legacy of wonderful memories for her family.
Donald “Skip” McPhee, 79, served as a passionate member of the fair for 34 years. He began as an advisor, then director, and finally vice president. Kind, outgoing, and outspoken he loved agriculture, farming and his animals.
Joan Feagles, 83, had served the fair for 25 years as a director and vice president. She and her husband owned a local farm and was passionate about the dairy department. She was also the head of the scholarship committee for several years.
Donald Veeder was a passionate member of the community and the Fonda Fair and had held the positions of director and President of the Society. He grew up in Fonda-Fultonville and after supporting his wife as Secretary of the Society for over 20 years he then held positions at the fair.
James Willard, 92, continued to be active in the fair as a Trustee and had been a member since 1983. Jim was hard working and supportive and had served in many capacities in his years with the fair including operating equipment to dig trenches for water lines and drainage, site work for new buildings, derby pit and arena grading. He was active in grounds maintenance, advertising, selling beer tickers, building and repair of structures on the grounds. As a local famer he knew the importance of keeping agricultural teaching at the fair alive.
Dan Mulvaney, 58 was active in the Tractor Pulls and assisted with the demolition derby. He generously donated equipment and time after long days on his farm. His interest in the fair began as a child when he showed animals as part of 4-H. As soon as he could drive, he began helping with the pulls and derby.
Vincent Garofalo, 77, had been in charge of the Draft Horse Pull for 20 years. He was a member of the agriculture Department helping with many projects over the years. He also loved working at the sawmill. If one needed help with anything, Vinny was there with a smile on his face and a funny story. He was always helpful, cheerful, and humorous.
Joseph Uveino, 77, had been involved in the fair for 37 years and served as a vice president and superintendent of the Horse Pull. He was a member of the NYS Horse Puller’s Association and was active in the Agriculture Department. Always friendly, happy and helpful, he was a true asset
Herkimer County Fair
Dick Pasquale, 79, had been involved with the fair for six years serving as a director and Beverage Chairman. He was an all-around handyman who was cheerful, helpful, and full of energy. He became an Honorary Director in 2017.
Lewis County Fair
Jim Freeman, 73, carried on the family tradition of making taffy at Freeman’s Taffy Stand as it had been done since 1895. He had spent all his life at the fair and was known for his love of the Lewis County Fair. He was generous, caring, a family man who loved seeing the people at the fair.
Jack T. Bush, 74, spent more than 40 years helping at the fair. He spent hours running the water truck on Harness race days as part of the track team and he used his friendliness and dedication to help with the concessions and the carnival.
Livingston County Fair
Robert Hilderbrant, 71, was the current President of the fair, capping a career that spanned 35 years and 23 as President. Known as Big Bob he worked very hard at the fair, always striving for a successful fair. The fair was his life during all 12 months of the year and he also served the NYSAAF as a district director and worked to improve the laws that effect all fairs. He used his sense of humor with his many friends he met at the fair and state meetings.
Oswego County Fair
Susan Crandall, 73, had been involved with the fair for 25 years. She loved attending this convention, the NYS Fair, and collected give aways and used them to create gift bags for members at the annual dinner. You could count of Susan as a dedicated, persistent and loving volunteer who worked for the betterment of the fair and the dinner booth.
Rensselear County Fair
Robert Luskin, 91, a director and Honorary Director had served as Horse Pull and Tractor Pull Superintendent for many years. Bob had a love for horses and pulling and began raising ponies and competing in pulling contests at local fairs. He and his late wife, Betty, brought work horses back to the fair and his family farm, Big Oak Views, showed his Belgian Draft horses annually. Bob had talked about attending the fair with horses until his passing, 11 days prior to the 2021 fair.
Saratoga County Fair
Frank Griffin, 79, held many positions at the Saratoga County Fair for more than 28 years. He used his determination as a director, Vice President, Safety and Security chairman, Caboose Restoration Committee Chairman, concessions committee member and the unofficial gatekeeper to the fairgrounds. Upon his resignation as Director, at the October 2021 Annual Meeting, he was awarded the honor of Honorary Director. Frank attended several IAFE conventions in Las Vegas and was a graduate of the Institute of Fair Management. He attended NYSAAF Conventions with his wife JoAnn and served as Legislative Committee Chair for many years. Frank was also president of the NYS Fair Managers Association and planned the Fall 2010 meeting. Frank dedicated many years of his life to the success of the Saratoga County Fair, even volunteering to stay on the concessions committee after resigning from the board. Frank could be counted on as the emergency contact for the fair, he had been known to let the police on the fairgrounds to search for fugitives and as Jo-Ann has said, he always needed to drive around the fairgrounds to check and make sure all was ok! For many years, Frank performed the water testing for the fair. Frank was awarded the NYS Showpeople’s Association Fair Person of the year for 2013. Frank could always be counted on to say what everyone else was thinking, even if they were too afraid to say it. He was devoted to the fair and the Village of Ballston Spa and they only came a close second and third to his family.
Henry Rowland, 95, became involved in the Saratoga County Fair when his son, Dick Rowland became general manager. Along with his wife Dorothy, Henry ran the Grange Food Booth located under the grandstand along with several other Grange members. They specialized in good homemade sandwiches, soups, and baked goods. He helped Greenfield Grange No. 807 with their fair display for many years. With his locksmith knowledge, Henry was counted on to create keys and help with securing buildings on the fairgrounds. Henry enjoyed chatting with all the fairgoers and vendors who looked for both him and Dorothy in the Culinary Department at the fair.
Donald Monica, 73, could be counted on to have a smiling face with fairgoers while producing excellent maple sugar products in the Sugar Shack. Don was a big supporter of the conservation department and the 4-H youth programs. He also was involved in Greenfield Grange No. 807 and helped with the development of the grange fair booth.
Bryah Gifford, 42, was a longtime vendor at Capital region fairs including the Saratoga County Fair. He could always be counted on to provide service with a smile to all fairgoers. He worked side by side with his father in the family business until his dad retired from the fair circuit. Giffy’s BBQ was a popular stop for locals on the fairgrounds because they served a quality product with local ties and name recognition.
John Epting, 72, spent more than 25 years helping at the fair through many varied roles. He was an ad hoc and involved in the publicity committee at the fair. He was one of the official photographers for all the events during fair week and helped to transport dignitaries and media around the fairgrounds. In addition, he helped with the goat and home arts/fine arts departments. John utilized his skills as a photographer to help document the success of the Saratoga County Fair. He also could be counted on to use his accident investigation training and fire department knowledge to help during medical emergencies at the fair. He had moved away in recent years but always kept in touch with members of the fair board to hear about the current successes and was hoping to attend the 2021 Saratoga County Fair.
Marie Willard, 81, was a lifetime member of the Saratoga County Fair, and held the positions of Antiques Superintendent, Director and Secretary of the board and Office Secretary beginning in the 1980s. Her involvement with the fair spanned more than 20 years and had a deep love of the fair and those involved in it. Even after her retirement, she could be counted on to stop in and visit during fair week. Her work with the antiques department helped set the groundwork for the successful department that exists today.
Jeffrey “Fritzy “Fitzsimmons, 56, was active with the grandstand events at the Saratoga County Fair for more than 30 years. He started as a member of the Armer Pulling Team for the truck pulls in the early 90s. He got roped into the fair as a member of the grandstand event committee after that with his best friend Jason Armer. He could be counted on to help setup and maintain the track. Jeff hardworking, kind and had a great sense of humor. He was all smiles in the cab of the tractor dragging the track or riding in the weight sled for the truck and tractor pulls. He could always be counted on to cheer on all the young people at the pedal tractor pull.
Schoarie County Fair
Dr. Robert McGuire, 88, had dedicated many years of his life to serving as a director of the Cobleskill Sunshine fair. He also held the office of President of the NYS Association of Agricultural fairs. He was active in the NYS Beef Cattleman’s Association and had been recognized as a Distinguished Educator at SUNY Cobleskill where he served as a professor from 1960-1995.
Washington County Fair
Carol Campbell, 81 was a dedicated 4-H leader who believed the motto “To Make the Best Better” She spent years volunteering at the Washington County Fair encouraging her 4-H members to be an active part in as many areas as possible. Carol believed in educating the public about agriculture and in the late 80’s she created a calf nursery in the Junior Dairy Barn. A calf of each breed had its own pen with facts about that breed. Carol also thought the animal show ring needed to improve its appearance and brought hanging baskets of flowers and displayed them around the perimeter of the ring.
Betty Wilbur, 94, loved to bake, especially pies. She spent many years at the Washington County Fair selling her pies from a little wagon near the motor sports area. One of her sons said his mother would bake all night to be ready for the next day at the fair. It was not unusual for her to do 25- 30 pies in one night.
Florence Perry, 94, served as the principal ticket taker at the Washington County Fair for years. She would leave early in the morning and not return until late at night during fair week. Florence also worked during off season events such as the antique shows. She was so good at her job that she was asked to help at events in other locations.
David Fisher, 75, was the leader of the Rabbit Rangers 4-H club for several years. Dave also served as Rabbit Superintendent at the Washington County Fair during the 80’s.
Ethel Garrick, 80, was a very active member of the Washington County Fair through her work in the 4-H programs. She served as Junior Ornamental Horticulture superintendent during the 80’s. Ethel also encouraged her own children to show the family’s dairy cattle, which they continue to do.
Robert “Bobby” McKernon, 59, grew up in the 4-H program completing many projects and showing dairy cows at the Washington County Fair. As the years went on his family began showing beef cattle at the fair. Bobby was the one to bring is supplies, set up water tubs, and do whatever else was needed. His help extended beyond his family to all those who needed any kind of assistance. He was always there to lend a helping hand to the community too.
Doris St Mary Saunder, 85, and her family showed Jersey cattle at the Washington County Fair for many years. She and her husband were very involved in the early years of the fair at our current location. During the sixties Doris was publicity chairperson creating much of the advertising at that time.
Claudia Irwin, 71, loved anything to do with horses. She served as Washington County Fair horse barn superintendent for 2 years and then spent 9 years as the Youth Gymkhana Superintendent. She and her husband were also involved with draft horses.
There are many others who have supported the Washington County Fair by volunteering or just offering on- going support in a “behind the scenes” capacity. The generation of families continue to make Washington County Fair their top priority.
Yates County Fair
John Anderson was a huge part of the Yates County Fair and was very knowledgeable, hardworking, and was extremely dedicated. His loyalty to the fair began at an early age. Showing cattle through the local 4-H while in high school, in 1965 at the age of 21 he began helping around the fairgrounds. By 1970 he became the General Superintendent and General Manager for the Yates County Fair. Quickly advancing in 1975 he became the 2nd Vice President, then by 1976 he moved up to 1st Vice President. In 1982 he became President of the Yates County Fair, a position he held for over 35 years. In 1980 he was the President of the New State Fair Managers Association and was on the Board of Directors for many years. In 1999-2000 he proudly held the title of the President of the New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs. He also ran a family vineyard for over 50 years. John enjoyed spending his winters in Zephyrhills, Florida with his wife Donna where they moved full time in 2016. He was also a huge part of the Plant City Strawberry Festival as the backstage manager for the headline entertainment. John was known for his red socks, red suspenders and big red beard and will be truly missed by all.