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Vt. State Fair in high gear - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. State Fair in high gear

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

It's not horses, but horsepower that was competing on the race track in Rutland Monday.  

At the Vermont State Fair tractor pull the rules are simple. "It's whoever can drag the sled the furthest," said Ron Dennison, who traveled here from just outside Syracuse, New York.  He competes all over New England.  "It's a motor sport. Competition -- I like competition," he said.

And judging by the crowds in the grandstand, Dennison is not alone. Events like these are expected to draw upwards of 90,000 people to the fair grounds during the 10 days it's open.

"They are fun to watch and I would like to pull one," said Derek Little of Argyle, New York. "It looks like fun."

It may be all about the tractor pull on this day, however those who have been working this fair for decades say the Vermont State Fair has, and always will, be all about agriculture.
"The carnival and the concessionaires are here to support agriculture," said Fair Vice President Charles Brothers.

Brothers started volunteering here, parking cars, 40 years ago.  As he gives a tour around the fairgrounds explaining the changes over the years, he says some things will never change.
"Most of these barns are on the Vermont historical preservation list -- early 1920's," he said.

And it's not just prized cows on display. A petting zoo allows families to get up close and personal with rare breeds, and share a little lunch with animals usually only seen from a distance.

"The fair is a great place to have them interact.  Whether it be at the 4H or here at the petting zoo or even the pig races around the corner.  It's a great experience for the young boys," said Stephen Kramer of Londonderry.

But back at the race track, the engines are still running. Screams echo from nearby rides, and the food stands entice visitors.

"The rides are fun and the food is good," Derek Little said.

Whether it's a souped-up tractor or a shined up heifer, the Vermont State Fair has it all.

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