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A Summer Full of Festivals

Summer may be a favored season for many reasons, but the countless activities have to be my number one. I especially love festivals of all kinds, as they are a chance to celebrate culture, arts, and entertainment -- not to mention they usually entail great food and drink.

Upstate New York has an abundance of summer festivals, all unique in their own. It seems there is always something to do and a new adventure to be found. Read up on some of my favorite, unique festivals going on this season in New York State:

Steuben County Fair is the oldest, continuously running county fair in the United States! Since 1819, the fair has showcased the area’s many agricultural strengths, and the true spirit of rural America. Celebrating its 197th anniversary this year, the festival will be held from August 16-21. There will be a carnival, pie-eating contests (my favorite to watch as I have a bit of a sweet tooth myself), harness racing and truck pulling, among other events. Come for these unique activities, and stay for the live music!

New York State Festival of Balloons is taking place September 1-5 this year, and you don’t want to miss out on this beautifully colorful experience. You’ll see a sky full of hot air balloons on your drive to Dansville, where the 35th festival will be held. You can hitch a ride on a balloon, or release your own glow balloon to partake in the festivities. With arts & crafts vendors, free entertainment, amusement rides and delicious, international food, it’s hard to beat a day spent at the New York State Festival of Balloons. Plus, admission is only $5 per person (and children get in free!).

For a very different festival experience, you have to explore the First Niagara Fringe Festival. Held in Rochester from September 15-24, the visual and performing arts festival lasts 10 days and boasts 500 events across 33 venues, meaning you can pretty much create your own experience. There are both ticketed events and free ones, but any and all will leave you in wonder.

There’s still time for a summer trip to New York. Make your trek across the border for a memorable trip by visiting these one-of-a-kind festivals!