IT'S GO TIME: Organizers, workers add finishing touches for today's grand opening

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SWEATING OUT THE DETAILS: Fiesta Shows personnel work in Wednesday heat and humidity to get an amusement structure off the ground. (Rochester Voice photo)

ROCHESTER - The scores of Fiesta Shows workers mopping their brows as they scurried about rushing to complete a midway at the Rochester fairgrounds on Wednesday afternoon probably weren't aware of the historic significance of their toil: that they were preparing the fair for today's inaugural opening as the newly branded Granite State Fair.

All they knew was they were working in as sultry and humid a day as you'll ever see in Rochester in mid-September.

GETTING READY FOR TAKEOFF: A Fiesta Shows worker setting up the Flying Bob ride.

"Oh, they're all working hard out there today," said Nancy Gilbert, a member of the fair's Board of Directors who was working the desk inside fair headquarters. "We might be here till midnight."

The former Rochester Fair, which first opened in 1874, is reopening for the second time in three years, first in 2018 after financial troubles shuttered it the previous year and now again today after the pandemic resulted in last year's closure.

The newly branded Granite State Fair, under the direction of Executive Director E.J. Dean, will feature much of the same as the former Rochester Fair, but is looking to expand its agricultural focus and its geographical reach.

"Regardless of the name change, it's still a local community fair," Dean said between taking a slew of phone calls concerning last-minute opening details. "With the Granite State name, we're just looking to broaden our exposure."

And the fair recruited some top talent as well with New Hampshire-based Recycled Percussion, a sensational alternative and inventive percussion group that uses a variety of unorthodox percussion tools for their one-of-a-kind concerts. They play the grandstand at 8 p.m. on Friday.

There will also be a late-scheduled demonstration of State Police enforcement dogs on Saturday by the pulling rings, Dean said.

Added also was a grandstand saloon featuring live entertainment, a cornhole tournament and helicopter rides on weekends.

Of course the exhibition hall will be back with its multitude of vendors and exhibits featuring some of Rochester's fines photographers, artists and artisans.

The fair operates today through Sunday and again Sept. 23-26.

The fair and midway is open Thursdays and Fridays at 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m., with weekend midway hours beginning at noon.

Fore more info click here.

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