WATERLOO — Agriculture is the major industry in Seneca County.

That agricultural heritage will be celebrated for the 176th time at the Seneca County Fair, sponsored by the Seneca County Agricultural Society. The fair is scheduled for July 17-20 at the fairgrounds, 100 Swift St.

The fair will include 4-H participants displaying their animals, handcrafted goods, baked goods and produce forjudging, horse barrel racing, myotonic goat shows, the third annual county fair rodeo, a midway of games and rides, a variety of food vendors and a two demolition derbies.

Other attractions this year will be Mr. Scribbles art work Wednesday through Friday in Floral Hall; Ron Cain of Cain Magic Company doing daily shows on the portable stage; and the UNF Jump N’ Fun mechanical bull and dart games.

Donkey basketball is new this year and will be played from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at the grandstands. Part of the proceeds will benefit Pathway Home of the Finger Lakes in Tyre.

Saturday night’s Demolition Derby will add a new event, the “Chain & Bang Championship” for two-door and four-door compact cars that are 1980 models or newer.

The first Seneca County Fair was Oct. 21-22, 1841, in Ovid. Receipts from that first fair were $279 and costs were $233.50, leaving a profit of $45.50. In 1842, the fair move to Waterloo. In 1856, the Seneca County Agricultural Society was reorganized, and the fair alternated between Ovid and Waterloountil 1870 when it permanently moved to Waterloo.

The fairgrounds were purchased by the Society from William Burton for $6,000 in 1882.

Since 1841, there have been only three years in which the fair has not taken place, all related to World War II and construction of the Seneca Army Depot. Those years were 1941, 1942 and 1945. The fairgrounds were leased to the federal government for trailers to house depot workers and their families.

Admission to the fair is free.

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