Event planners are all ready promoting next year's Erie County Fair. That's because next year will mark the 175th anniversary of the fair.
Organizers began planning six months ago to make it a special event. Promotions began last week, during the 2013 fair, when officials announced that daredevil Nik Wallenda will pull off a stunt at the fair in 2014.
But that's not the only special event planned for the Hamburg fairgrounds next year. Director of special events Marty Biniasz says the fair will be packed with activities to bring fairgoers back for multiple visits.
He wants to create a demand and build excitement over the next year, "We're going to be going to fairs, festivals, car shows and farmers markets in our mobile vehicle and tell the story about the fair for an entire year leading up to next year," he said.
The goal is to build long term excitement. "We're not only preparing for our 175th," he said. "What we're doing next year will impact what we're doing 25 years from now when young kids walking around the fairgrounds will be parents at our bicentennial."
Biniasz says right now, the Erie County Fair is the 15th largest fair in the entire country, surpassing many state fairs in size.
Studies show, according to Biniasz, that between the fair, the fairgrounds and the casino, more than 3.5 million people head to Hamburg each year to take part in festivities.
Now he says the goal is to expand that, create a demand for opening day, share the fair heritage and its mission of agriculture.