Queens County Fair brings simple life to big city

Families were able to have a day on the farm at this year’s annual Queens County Fair.  Eagle  photos by Amanda Salazar

Families were able to have a day on the farm at this year’s annual Queens County Fair. Eagle photos by Amanda Salazar

By Amanda Salazar

Families from all five boroughs stepped back in time last weekend to a place where the apple cider is fresh, the corn grows high and the cows always come home.

 The Queens County Farm Museum hosted the 37th annual Queens County Fair on Sept. 21 and 22, across its 47 acres of rustic barns and sparkling fields. 

Carnival rides and midway games gave way to food trucks that served festival favorites, as well as a taco truck and a Greek cuisine cart. Past the Con Edison ecology exhibit were arts-and-crafts demonstrations and medieval reenactments.

There were corn husking and pie eating contests, and children’s sack races. Fairgoers could walk through rows of judged livestock, agriculture and crafts.

But more valuable than all of the activities and attractions was the fair’s ability to bring attendees together for one day of family fun.

“There’s something to do for everyone. We have a toddler who’s four, [an] eight year old and adults, everyone has something to do,” said fairgoer Adrian Serrano of the Bronx.

“I like the diversity in the place,” said Queens local Anthony Licciardi, who was at the fair with Mayle Lantigua and his son, Matthew. “Everyone getting together, it’s just very family-oriented. Politics and everything else aren’t a part of this whole thing. It’s nice.”

Kids from different races and ages played together by the food trucks as their parents ate funnel cake and “tornado potatoes.” An acrobat from China followed a performance by a Canadian magician. 

Children could take photos with people dressed as NYC compost bins and lawn trimming bags.

Children could take photos with people dressed as NYC compost bins and lawn trimming bags.

The festival’s official focus was on nature and ecology, and many activities reflected this.

Lining the main pathway were booths giving out reusable bags and teaching people about compost. Children could take photos with people dressed as NYC compost bins and lawn trimming bags.

Also present was a group of student-aged volunteers from John Bowne High School, which is home to an agricultural program and a farm that the students learn how to work, along with several of their goats, chickens, rabbits and reptiles. 

They promoted their school to passersby and showed children the right way to pet the animals.

“It feels like I’m doing a good deed to my community,” said 15-year-old volunteer Sarah Joseph, who was supervising the goat pen. “Because I’m getting to see all of these people happy, petting all the animals, and all of the kids interacting with them.”

Though one of the fair’s goals was to make residents more environmentally conscious, no one could forget the central reason for being there: to have fun. 

“We actually are enjoying it. There’s a lot of things to do here and it’s a lot of fun,” said Danee Williams, who was at the fair for the first time with Salter Hutchinson their daughter, Maliyah. “We did the petting zoo with her; she got a chance to feed some llamas. We fed all the llamas first and then ran out of stuff to feed all the other animals. Then she had a pony ride and we just came from the hayride.”

Maliyah seemed to agree with her mother’s sentiment, recalling her earlier adventures at the “Petting Zoo Fun Zone.”

“I had [fun] on the horse riding, because I got to ride a pony,” she said. “[My favorite part was] feeding the llamas.”

The Queens County Farm Museum has around 250 laying hens.

The Queens County Farm Museum has around 250 laying hens.