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The Long Island Fair returns to Old Bethpage Village Restoration this weekend

The Long Island Fair returns this year at

The Long Island Fair returns this year at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration with a scarecrow competition. Credit: Nassau County Division of Museum Services

Potato sack races replace Go-Karts, homemade scarecrows replace haunted houses, and a beauty contest winner is a fruit at the Long Island Fair at Old Bethpage Restoration Village this Labor Day weekend.

"The fair promotes the idea that life is more than what’s on your cellphone," says Rachel Ferraro, a jewelry-making demonstrator.

The fair began as a "group of farmers together showing off their harvest and the crafts they made" back in 1842, according to fair manager Gary Haglich. Today, with a renewed interest in farm-to-table lifestyles and sustainability, Haglich says the fair has evolved into an educational experience and opportunity to step back in time.

Bringing that idea to life, an exhibition hall on the fairgrounds will be filled with locally grown fruits, vegetables and flowers eligible for blue ribbons. Categories range from the best-looking fruit to the heaviest tomato to the tallest sunflower.

The past and present will blend at the fair, as one section will include local vendors who have created quilts, woodworking crafts, knitted sweaters and more. Another will feature costumed crafters demonstrating spinning, broom making, leatherworking and basket weaving.

Kids will be able to make earrings by stringing beads on wires. "The kids learn the simple skills quickly," explains Rachel Ferraro, who will demonstrate Victorian-style beading. "It lets them try something they’ve never done before, and it’s a nice way to express creativity they didn’t think they had."

The event will also feature animals, circus acts, live music, re-enactments of old-time shootouts, and turkey legs to munch on. "People really get involved, they’re not just walking through," says Haglich. "The fair draws a multigenerational crowd."



At the Canines in the Clouds, dogs will do high-jumps and a frisbee catch in a 15,000-gallon pool. The event runs daily at 11:45 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 3 p.m. There will also be a petting zoo, camel rides and livestock (cows, goats, chickens, rabbits).


The Rough Riders will do a riding/shooting re-enactment. Don’t miss Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root Medicine Show (an old-time elixir hawking show). Ceramist Gia Mars will do a pottery demonstration.


Live music will be at the fair. Catch Wild Magnolias (a bluegrass band), the Old Bethpage Village Brass Band and ongoing traditional 19th Century performances.


Michael Dubois and Viktoria Grimmy perform classic circus stunts that include juggling, aerial silks, spinning plates, hula hoops, whips, slack wire and a unicycle.


Participate in potato sack races, corn husking contests, jewelry crafting and a dancing event. Check out the scarecrow-making competition and enter produce, flower, craft, art and poetry competitions (see website for all entry deadlines at:


3-See Colonial village craft demonstrators: a basket weaver, broom maker, blacksmith, silversmith, Victorian jewelry-maker, leatherworker, spinner, and cook.


The Long Island Fair: Sept. 3 through Sept. 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Old Bethpage Village Restoration; 1303 Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage; 516-572-8409. Admission: adults: $20, seniors 60+: $15, kids 5-12: $10, kids under 5: free. Last ticket sells at 3:30 p.m. daily.

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