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Historic Erie County Fair poster unveiled

Eric Adams, of Picture Your Walls, helped to frame the 130-year-old billboard style poster advertising the 1883 Erie County Fair.
HAMBURG — On July 1, the Erie County Agricultural Society unveiled its recently restored 1883 Erie County Fair poster. The process to stabilize and restore one of its oldest and most historic relics began last October and was completed last month. Conservation of this rare, 130-year old billboard-style poster advertising the 1883 Erie County Fair was performed by paper conservator Laura Schell. The work was commissioned as part of the ECAS’s preparations for the 175th Erie County Fair, taking place this August.

“The 1883 poster is one of the oldest pieces of ephemera we have in the Erie County Agricultural Society archives. We are excited, that through the conservation process, this rare artifact will continue to be a window to the past for future generations of Fairgoers,” said Marty Biniaz, special events and brand marketing manager for the historical society.

The poster was originally printed by the Courier Company Show Printing House of Buffalo. It contains multiple vignettes which depict the Erie County Fair’s history, as it was in the 1800s. Folk art graphics illustrate horse racing, livestock, clothing of the day and the agricultural harvest.

The restored poster was on display at the Visit Buffalo Niagara Center Gallery inside the Market Arcade Building in Buffalo until July 7, and will also be available for viewing as part of a historical exhibit during the 175th Erie County Fair. Framing of the restored poster was completed by Eric Adams of Picture Your Walls in Hamburg.

“When I look at this poster printed over 130 years ago, I am most struck by the similarities to our modern-day fair. Harness racing still takes place at Buffalo Raceway, people still compete and take pride in their animals. Continuity of cherished traditions combined with a spirited, forward thinking attitude is a hallmark of the Erie County Fair,” Biniaz noted.

The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private not-for-profit membership organization. Established in 1819, the society is the oldest civic organization in Western New York. The society does not receive funding from New York state or from Erie County.

According to Biniaz, the mission of the Erie County Agricultural Society, 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.

The 2014 Erie County Fair will be held Aug. 6-17.
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