Dutchess County Fair: Portrait of an American Tradition

Overview

Eighty-two contemporary black & white photographs by documentary photographer Molly Ahearn, plus maps, antique historical photographs and memorabilia, bring to life this delightful history of the Dutchess County (New York) Fair, an annual highlight of the Hudson River Valley summer season since 1842, with almost half a million visitors now passing through its gates each year, making it the 2nd-largest agricultural event in NYS. Author Ahearn traces 166 years of fair history with such highlights as visits by ...
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Overview

Eighty-two contemporary black & white photographs by documentary photographer Molly Ahearn, plus maps, antique historical photographs and memorabilia, bring to life this delightful history of the Dutchess County (New York) Fair, an annual highlight of the Hudson River Valley summer season since 1842, with almost half a million visitors now passing through its gates each year, making it the 2nd-largest agricultural event in NYS. Author Ahearn traces 166 years of fair history with such highlights as visits by Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, NYS governors Thomas Dewey and Averill Harriman, a "Talent Search" that discovered singer/songwriter Don McLean, and a colorful cast of stunt performers, snake charmers, "hootchy-kootchy" girls, and carney side-show acts. Photographer Ahearn captures the timeless memories of the fair--farm kids showing their animals and sleeping beside them in the tents, zany and hilarious sights on the midway, a draught-horse team thundering by, pig races, elephant rides, and summer fun as American as milkshakes and Ferris Wheel rides.
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What People Are Saying

Michael Christensen
"Molly Ahearn definitely wins the blue ribbon for this wonderful account!"--(Michael Christensen, co-founder of the Big Apple Circus)
Tom Odak
"Every one of these photographs holds thousands of memories. This is a book I will keep close at hand to share with family and friends, and to remember my own good times at the Dutchess County Fair."--(Tom Odak, Fair Manager/Secretary, 1979-2006)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781883789558
  • Publisher: Black Dome Press, Corporation
  • Publication date: 7/5/2007
  • Pages: 122
  • Sales rank: 1,432,849
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Molly Ahearn has been photographing personally and professionally for more than 20 years. Long term personal photo essays include the Dutchess County Fair, Rodeo Cowgirls and Disappearing Farms of Westchester County. In 2006, Ahearn's images of the Dutchess County Fair were the subject of two exhibitions. Her photographs have been published in several publications including Bioscience, Inside Out and Taconic Weekend. Professional assignments include documentary photography for Saint Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY, documentary work for the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY, and a broad variety of studio and portrait assignments. She will serve her third year as a judge for the amateur photography competition at the Dutchess County fair in August 2007. A member of the Rhinebeck Arts & Culture Commission, she is working hard to encourage the growth of arts opportunities in northern Dutchess County. Ahearn studied at the International Center of Photography in New York City and worked as assistant to acclaimed Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson on his personal photo essay of Central Park as well as his professional assignments.
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Table of Contents


Foreword   Tom Odak     1
Prologue: The Fair and the Circus   Michael Christensen     2
Acknowledgments     3
Time Line of Fair History     4
The Early Years, 1841-1887     6
History of Photography-in a Flash     10
The Poughkeepsie Years, 1888-1918     16
Reorganization and Relocation, 1919-1944     24
History of the Dutchess County 4-H     30
The Prosperous Post-War Years, 1945-1978     34
Evolution of the Society's Logo     42
The Return to Agricultural Roots, 1979-Today     54
Getting around the Fairgrounds     58
Wait a Minute; the Numbers Don't Add Up     68
Portrait Gallery   Molly Ahearn     74
About Molly Ahearn     121
Index     122
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    A Present!

    I grew up in Rhinebeck, NY and have gone to the fair every year since I was 7 (I'm about to turn 50)! My church once had a food booth there and I used to help clean up tables for $.25 tips (which thrilled me as a youngster)...I LOVE the 4H Booth chocolate milkshakes (the best there ever will be) and enjoy so many other things too...I bought this book for my parents...In a few months they will be married 51 years and though they have moved to Florida, they still have very fond memories of taking my sisters and me to the fair so they are getting this book as an anniversary present...

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