“Elderly fair-goers recall past events” Part 2
From The Evening Sun, published August 8, 1982. Written by Tom Moczydlowski
Read by Marisa Modugno
A dairy farmer and Borden’s milk factory worker, Robert Warren, 88, I was most interested in the thrill shows at the fair. “There was a man who used to do the loop – the – loop on a bicycle. He started at the top of an incline, did the loop, and had to jump off his bicycle onto a pile of hay at the end,” Mr. Warren said.
The farm machinery and cattle exhibits meant a great Ideal to him since the information he gained from them helped to better his livelihood as a farmer. Mr. Warren said a major change to the fair has been that it is much more expensive today. He also mentioned the scarcity of automobiles at the fair during the time when Norwich was more rural. “As a matter of fact, the first Model A Ford pickup truck in Norwich was mine. It was put on exhibition one year at the fair.”
Steaming To The Fair
Agnes Casey, 87, grew up on a farm six miles outside Sherburne and remembered how special the trips her family made to the fair were. “In 1909 I had my first ride in an automobile ever. It was a steamer. The fair was a major event to our family: We always stopped at the old Eagle Hotel and had dinner during the fair.”
She also recalls that it was at the 1915 Chenango County Fair when she saw her first airplane, one of the early biplanes. “They were giving rides on the plane the first day it was there. You could only go up for a short time since the plane didn’t stay in the sky that long. I wasn’t there the next day, but I read the plane crashed and was all cracked up.”
While most of the people who attend the fair never take center stage, Bill Mossman, 85, did. He was a member of the Rough Riding Team in the early ‘20s. The team worked for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. They started their performing season at the Madison Square Garden in New York City and worked their way west to Norwich and other towns throughout Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio.
“I’m not blowing my own horn, and I’m not the kind of man that does, but you had to be good to be in the show,” Mossman said. As part of the horse-riding feats involved. with their act, Mossman would do handstands, drags, jumps from one moving horse to another, and a front shifting around the horse’s neck as it was galloping.”
I named my horse ‘Wondrous’ because it was a special horse that surprised me about how good it learned the tricks.” Mossman also trained elk and deer to pace and prance.
Besides from his years in show business, Mossman was a member of Troop “C” in the New York State Police patrol division which is based in Sidney. He is an overly modest gentleman for one who was deservedly in the spotlight for many time.
Throughout its history, the long Chenango County Fair has meant a boost in entertainment, commerce to the area, and a yearly source of worldly farm and home knowledge. More than all those things, it has brought memories, which seem to linger on well after the customary shouts are issued on the end night for the last turns on the amusement rides each year.