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Wallenda, BPO to headline fair, this August

JoAnn Falleta, conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, posed with Nik Wallenda, tightrope walker. Both will appear at The Fair.
HAMBURG — The Erie County Agricultural Society announced the addition of two headline events to commemorate the 175th Erie County Fair this August.

For the first time since 1956, the full Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will headline a performance at the fair. The BPO will officially open the 175th Erie County Fair during a free concert in the Gusto Grandstand the evening of Aug. 6. JoAnn Falletta will conduct a program composed of popular and familiar tunes from American composers. The music will chronicle the fair’s history from pioneer roots in 1819 to its current incarnation as the largest independent county fair in North America.

“We are honored to bring the history of the fair alive through music,” said Falletta. “This is an exciting time for the BPO as we renew a partnership with the fair that began six decades ago.”

Last August, Nik Wallenda toured the fairgrounds and selected the fair as a location for his longest walk of 2014 and one of his most challenging stunts this year. Over the past nine months, Wallenda and his team of engineers have worked on plans for what he calls a “major stunt, worthy of the 175th fair celebration.”

On Aug. 14, Wallenda will walk from the edge of the grounds into the Gusto Grandstand, a distance of 1,400 feet. The walk, almost double his typical walk length, will be 125 feet above the Fairgrounds on a wire that will measure 5/8 of an inch in diameter.

This is a return engagement to the Erie County Fair for Wallenda. As a 13-year-old in the early 90s, Wallenda performed with his family on a high wire at the Erie County Fair. By that time, he had already spent 11 years on the wire and this entire life watching his family perform.

“The Erie County Fair Skywalk has been in the works for well over a year and will enhance what is shaping up to be one of the best fairs ever,” said Honorary Chairman of the 175th Erie County Fair Bryan Whittman. “The past 174 fairs have just been a rehearsal.”

The Erie County Fair also has a new mascot, the “Fair Bear,” who will be appearing throughout the fair, to say hello to attendees, this year.

The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private not-for-profit membership organization. The mission of the ECAS, sponsors of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York state.

The fair strives to fulfill appropriate aspects of the agricultural, educational, entertainment and recreational needs of Western New York.
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