This Year, Richmondtown hosted Our Island’s 40th County Fair on Labor Day weekend. For a long while, the fairs had stopped, but way back when, the celebration was held yearly. It’s a good thing the fair is happening again. Islanders get to witness just how cool and diverse, culturally, Staten Island has become. Music, food, and fun. A place for the arts to shine brightly. Contrary to what many think, the Richmond County Fair isn’t just an event for kids.
Our own Island brewery was on tap. Bands, DJs, live graffiti, and more, made the event fun for everyone. City kids would be envious; truly, this event rivals anything Brooklyn hipsters or Manhattan culturati might dish up. And, I’m not exaggerating. Staten Island is quickly becoming a place where culture, in all its forms, thrives.
At the County Fair, everything under the sun that’s fun, could be found amongst the ruins of Americana historic buildings, among structures still standing boldly that have weathered centuries of time and the elements. Contests for both kids and grown-ups, alike. The water balloon toss. The three-legged race. Hula hoop contests. Potato sack races and the shopping cart scurry.
Truthfully, I thought this was going to be lame covering this event for the Staten Islander News organization. I was so wrong. I was wowed. And, that’s no easy feat, trust me. Some hokey jokey County Fair? I’ve stayed as far as possible. But when my editor, Mr. Frank, asked if I would cover the event, I couldn’t refuse. Drinking local beer while toiling away? How could that be so bad? It would be, at the very least, tolerable. Now, I can’t wait for next year’s County Fair.
There were two giant sound stages with ample sound. A live-broadcast SI radio station. Other bands playing in smaller (yet no less cool) areas. Pie eating contests. Hot dog eating contests. Meet and greets. Industry panels. Artist networking. A US Armed Forces Veterans Tribute ceremony. I couldn’t possibly report on it all! I attended the fair on Saturday, so my photos are from that afternoon.
Richmond Town, USA. This used to be where Islanders would have dealt with the law, the center of Staten Island municipal government, until St. George became our new center for such matters. This is where the old Borough Hall yet towers. We usually pass through trying to get somewhere else, barely paying attention to what includes the oldest buildings in the United States.
Drivers usually hiss under their breath, uttering words we’d have to bleep out, as they wait to ascend the winding Snake Hill Road to get to the Mall or home after work. Few look around to appreciate all Richmondtown has to offer. But think back to elementary school class trips, and you will surely recall a day of incredible fun. The period actors love the visitors, and love what they do, imparting an impassioned realism that can’t be questioned.
If you’ve never been to the Richmond County Fair, maybe think about going next year. It’s only going to get better. It’s authentic Staten Island fun at its best. Don’t miss the craziness. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you still think Staten Island is a “sucky bedroom community” as an ill-informed Brooklynite hipster (recently transplanted from Ohio hah) told me recently at a Brooklyn bar, you’re living in an illusion. Time to get up to speed. -Pat.
Video From RichmondTown Richmond County Fair 2019 Credit: StatenIslander.org