CHATHAM ― While some of the Columbia County fair winded down for its final day, for several exhibitors, Monday was crunch time.
Six exhibitors showed in the 4-H Master Livestock Showperson Competition at 9 a.m. on Monday at the fair.
The competition involves the selection of a master showperson for each species of animal at the fair and all the master showpersons have to compete against each other, showing seven species of animals — some of which they may have never shown before — to determine the ultimate master showperson of the year.
Caroline Lafferty, 17, of Schodack Landing, was the winner of the 2018 competition. Lafferty won master showperson for dairy with her heifer Olianna.
“I’ve been showing since I was a little kid, basically since I could walk,” Lafferty said.
Lafferty has shown dairy, sheep, swine and goats throughout the years but had never shown small animals such as rabbits or poultry prior to the competition.
“The hardest thing is getting to know the animals,” she said. “And you can’t allow yourself to get worked up.”
Other master showpersons included Daisy Trowbridge for beef and swine, Vidar Pirrone for poultry, Marian Pirrone for goats, Emily Schrader for rabbits and Keagan Carson for sheep.
Exhibitors also get to know one another during the fair.
Aside from showing, Lafferty says her favorite part of the fair is hanging out with her friends.
“They’re like a second family to me,” she said.
Exhibitor Katie Kusisto of Catskill also enjoys the social aspect of the fair.
“I like hanging out with my fair family,” she said, adding that she has gained a lot of connections in her 13 years showing at Columbia County Fair and in the past, the Greene County Youth Fair.
Each year the veteran exhibitors see the fair dynamics change.
“I think the fair went very well,” Kusisto said. “There were more beef cows, more young 4-H’ers ... and that just makes me feel better, knowing it isn’t going away.”
For some exhibitors, the fair becomes an annual tradition even after they’ve stopped showing.
Dustin Kline, of Claverack, showed rabbits at the fair for 13 years, he said.
He came to the fair with his family on Monday so that his one-year-old could see the fair for the first time, he said.
Bob Mackey of Clifton Park had never been to the fair before but has been trying to make it to several fairs this summer.
“I went to the Washington and Saratoga County fairs,” Mackey said.
“It’s [Columbia County Fair] been good; the people seem nice,” he said.
Judy Hartzwell of Hoag’s Corners attends several fairs each season to do demonstrations with her oxen Red and Rusty.
“The fair went well except for the heat,” Hartzwell said, adding that she had to hose down her animals a couple of times to cool them down.
For vendor Marissa Baul of Paul Online Ventures, the fair has been better than last year.
“Last year there was a big rainstorm ... it’s better when it’s dry,” she said.
Baul’s business has sold rocks, fossils, minerals and gems at the fair for the past three years.
“We’ll definitely come back next year.” she said.