See Exactly What the Orange County Fair Was Like 45 Years Ago
Watching this incredible footage of the county fair taken in 1978 is like stepping into a time machine.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. That's certainly true when it comes to the fair. For generations, the Hudson Valley has come together in a celebration of food, agriculture, music and amusement. There's nothing quite like the county fair.
We unearthed some fascinating footage of the Orange County Fair from 1978 that shows the sights and sounds from the fairgrounds in Middletown, New York.
The half-hour film shows many of the rides that were at the fair that year including an elaborate Ferris wheel, a giant slide, bumper cars and flying rockets. The fair also included the same games of chance that it does today, like the ring toss.
One thing that you don't see too much of at the Orange County Fair is the livestock. Local farmers used to bring their horses, goats and cows to show off in front of the crowd. In addition, there were lots of exotic animals at the 1978 fair. Kids are seen in the old footage walking around with giant snakes wrapped around their necks and riding elephants and camels. Those rides cost only a fraction of what a bottle of water costs today.
While many of the attractions at the fair haven't changed in the past 45 years, there are a few things that you just don't see anymore, including an actual organ grinder and a monkey. The video shows children being entertained by a man cranking the portable music player while his pet monkey dances along. The animal, dressed in a costume, is trained to take tips from the crowd. A sign, however, asks fairgoers not to give the monkey any pennies.
One of the most fascinating scenes shows something that certainly couldn't be done today. The fair used to feature a quick-draw artist who would take the stage and show off his shooting skills. Using real pistols and rifles, the old man shoots from the hip and blindfolds himself while aiming at plates and targets. There's no way a live gun would be allowed on the fairgrounds today, let alone having it shot off by a blindfolded old man in front of a packed crowd.
It[s possible that many of the children featured in the film are still living in the Hudson Valley today. All grown with children and maybe grandchildren of their own, they can watch this video footage and remember the days at the Orange County Fair when life was simpler and the organ grinder's monkey was happy with receiving a nickel.
What's your fondest memory of the county fair? Drop us a message on our app and let us know what you remember. Better yet, if you have any old pictures or videos you can upload them to us through the app as well.