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'A real treasure': Washington County Fair is a go
'A real treasure': Washington County Fair is a go
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Washington County Fair

'A real treasure': Washington County Fair is a go

From the Washington County Fair series

Operation Adopt a Soldier makes fair its home for the week

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EASTON — Monday afternoon was the calm before the whirlwind.

Walking around the poultry barn of the Washington County Fair, Easton resident Rich Stiles had a chicken in each arm. Turkeys were escorted in, ready for placement in their respective cages, and a rooster crowed with such a long note, it sounded like a wolf howl.

Washington County Fair

Haley Spiezio, of Greenwich, tends to Ashlynn, the cow, Monday at the Washington County Fair in Easton.

Down the midway, Haley Spiezio, of Greenwich, and Schuylerville resident Hansen Peck, were tending to Ashlynn, the cow. They shaved off a few bits of her hair here and there, primping her for a big show.

By 4 p.m., fair officials announced the opening of the big week, along with multiple young adult leaders representing organizations from Washington County 4-H to Future Farmers of America.

“This is a real treasure to our area,” said Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury.

The Upper Hudson Maple Queen Lauryn Streicher and Washington County Dairy Princess Erin Armitage, let the audience know all of their efforts promoting agriculture, carrying on a family and community legacy.

Jackie Czub, a deputy commissioner from the state Agriculture and Markets Department, also highlighted the thousands of dollars in state grant funding Washington County has received to make needed upgrades to the fairgrounds. Next on the list will be the replacement of water lines and bleachers.

Also in attendance were several Washington County supervisors including Bob Henke, Dan Shaw, David O’Brien, Brian Campbell, Bob Shay, Sue Clary and Dana Haff.

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake and state Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, also were in attendance and spoke about the gem that is the fair and the importance of agriculture to the county.

While many of the speakers at the opening ceremony said the fair was a staple to their home, the fair literally became the home of members of Operation Adopt A Soldier.

The building the organization leases in Wilton caught fire Saturday afternoon, but founder Cliff Seguin said they had luckily already packed a trailer with their items for the fair. Operation Adopt A Soldier is a nonprofit that collects personal hygiene and other items for soldiers serving overseas and delivers them in care packages.

“This is all that’s left,” said Gordon Dilmore, past president of the organization, as he sat behind a booth. “This is like our temporary home this week. We never expected this to happen.”

Seguin said the organization is looking for a building and does have insurance to cover some of the costs. But they lost all of their office supplies, tables, chairs and donation items already collected. They even lost the computer that had their contacts for donations.

Still on a mission, Seguin is hoping the public will make any donations, including from non-perishable foot items to hygiene products, to support soldiers. He added that any office supplies or help getting the organization set back up would be nice, too.

Washington County Fair

From left, Gordon Dilmore, Phyllis Seguin and Cliff Seguin, stand in their tent for Operation Adopt a Soldier Monday at the Washington County Fair in Easton. The nonprofit organization recently lost everything except what they had packed in a trailer for the fair after a fire hit their building Saturday. 

Dilmore and Seguin aren’t too worried. With about two dozen devoted volunteers, including Seguin’s wife, Phyllis, and a track record of serving more than 300,000 soldiers since 2003, they feel confident that they will be back on their feet.

“We’re still here,” Seguin said.

For more information about Operation Adopt A Soldier, go to operationadoptasoldier.org.

Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.

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