Vermont State Fair in Rutland sees high attendance

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 4:10 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2022 at 6:49 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - The Vermont State Fair is open once again in Rutland. The 176th annual event kicked off Tuesday, and the fairgrounds are busy.

Wednesday is Children’s Day, so anyone 12 and under gets in for free. But visitors we spoke with say you don’t need to be under 12 to have fun at the fair.

The Vermont State Fair has spun its way back into Rutland, and so far, people have turned out for it.

“Last year was a good year, but this year, coming off even more COVID things I think and more COVID restrictions, we had a great start. All of our gates were up which was exciting.” Vermont State Fair President Robert Congdon said.

Congdon says it was a busy start, especially as people turned out for a ‘90s throwback concert on opening night.

Now, people are coming from all over for a few days of agriculture, entertainment, food and fun.

“We’ve seen a lot of cars, Massachusetts, we’ve seen a lot of New York cars,” Congdon said.

We found one couple from Ticonderoga, New York, enjoying the entertainment at the fair.

“The barnyard chickens because they sing and they’re cute and they tell silly jokes,” Michele Heyde said.

Aside from the humor, these visitors were happy to find some sunshine.

“Turned out to be a very nice day. It was supposed to rain but look at this! This is great. Lot of fun,” Helmut Heyde said.

If you aren’t there for the funny chickens, maybe you’re there for the fried chicken as folks flock to the fairgrounds for a taste of that greasy midway cuisine.

“I like working it because it puts a smile on people’s faces and it just makes me happy seeing other people be happy,” said Toby Casiano, a fair vendor.

After a few rough years financially, fair organizers say they’re happy to see so many people back and wandering around, calling this a renaissance for the Vermont State Fair.

“It’s exciting for us to have regrown and I think we have a great following in the community and a great following and support in Rutland and beyond,” Congdon said.

With new additions to the fair lineup this year, they hope people will come from far and wide to check them out.

“Take the time to visit every nook and cranny,” Congdon said. “Take the time to dive into all the exhibits, to dive into all the buildings, check all of it out.”

Among the new additions this year-- a real live blacksmith shop and the return of the bike giveaway. They’ll be giving away 60 bikes Wednesday night for kids in the area.

They also built their own butterfly exhibit this year.

Historically, the butterfly tent has always been brought in by a company, but this year the Vermont State Fair decided to make its own.

Enter the greenhouse and you’re greeted by all different types of butterflies, including monarchs.

There are tons of plants and snacks for the little critters to land on, and opportunities to get up close and personal with them.

The butterflies come from local nurseries that brought them in.

When the fair ends, they’ll be released in an effort to help dwindling numbers.

Staffers say the butterflies have been a big draw.

“Probably just being able to be so close to them, touch them, yeah. I mean like you don’t get to see them that close in the natural world anymore. I mean, I haven’t. So, I think it’s pretty cool to come in here and chill with butterflies all day,” said Dakota Marchinkowski of the Vermont State Fair.

When the fair ends on Saturday, there will have been 159 little butterflies flying around the tent.

The butterfly tent is open until dark and will be there until the fair ends.

It’s just one of many fun things to do here at the Vermont State Fair this week.

Click here for all the details on the Vermont State Fair.

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