The Marathon 1890 Union Fair celebrates the American family and is dedicated to the preservation of families and the things they do together. Life in a small town best exemplifies what America is all about. Communities filled with pride and spirit give young people a safe environment in which to grow.
Featuring baked goods, vendors, quilt and garden displays, a raffle and an auction, the annual event brings hundreds of people to Main Street for a day of festivities. This year's theme is "Family."
Keep reading for more details.
Saturday, September 9 from 9am - 5pm
WHAT TO EXPECT
Mark your calendars for Marathon's 1890 Union Fair on September 9th! Organized by the Marathon Union Agricultural Society, the Union Fair was first held in 1879 and continued through the early 1900s. In 1984, much to everyone's delight, the tradition was revived, and the fair returned as a one-day festival. The 1890 Union Fair and parade celebrates small-town life and its agricultural roots. Bring the whole family to explore the days of yore. Mrs. Tilley’s elephant ears will be there with bloomin' onions and snow cones for hungry visitors.
Walk the rows of freshly baked cookies, elegant flower arrangements, glittering jars of preserves, and perfectly ripe produce. Admire carefully crafted quilts, unique antique collections, and hand-crafted items. The festival favorite, the fairy garden exhibit, will return this year to tantalize your senses and spark young imaginations. Judging begins at 9 a.m.
In promoting the theme "family," there will be a Corn Hole competition during the 1890 Union Fair. Families will compete for the title and trophy, which will be theirs until the following year’s competition. The ever-popular children's games are scheduled to take place on the lawn behind the historical society.
MARATHON MUSEUM TOURS
Built in 1861 and brimming with local history, the Marathon Historical Society is hosting a special exhibit this year. The Penny Candy Store display will delight both young and old alike with its vintage jars, goodies, and confectionery nostalgia. The Maple Museum will also be open. Explore the sugaring process and bring home some marathon maple. After all, it's always pancake season!
PECK MEMORIAL LIBRARY BOOK SALE
Twice a year, the Peck Memorial Library opens the doors of its historic opera house for a used book sale. Row after row, under the ornate original ceilings, lies every book and genre you could imagine. Bring a bag and fill it to the brim; the best way to stock up for winter snow days. Not a reader? It's worth visiting just to gaze at the incredible stained glass windows and unique architecture. It's not every day you get to wander around an old opera house!
This antique store and cafe makes its home on one of Marathon's oldest buildings. Originally built as a fire station, it's tower was used to furl old canvas hoses. For over 100 years, it served as headquarters for the Marathon Independent newspaper. Now you'll find all sorts of vintage treasures and a delicious hot meal in this cozy space.
OLD FASHIONED CHILDREN'S GAMES (10:30)
Head over to the greens nearest the Maple Museum to sign up for some good old-fashioned fun. Try your hand (er...foot) at potato sack, three-legged, and wheelbarrow races! It's guaranteed to leave you laughing, even if you don't leave with a ribbon.
THE BIG PARADE (NOON)
Often described as one of a kind, The Union Fair Parade is unique in precluding any motorized vehicles. Beginning at noon, marching down Main Street, you will see horses performing tricks, gentle oxen who give kisses, and historic wagons, carriages, and carts all decked out in their finest. Children decorate their bicycles with streamers and flowers for a chance to win ribbons. Boys and girls, men and women, proudly wearing their uniforms honoring the flag, all make their way down the parade route. The parade will march on, rain or shine, so bring an umbrella and a folding chair to witness this quintessential small-town event.
Want to join the parade? Sign-up begins at 10 am the day of, at the south end of the Civic Building. The first 25 horse entries will receive a gift card from Lilley's Tack & Feed.
TOM SMITH MEMORIAL HORSE PULL (1:30)
Directly following the parade is a show of true horsepower. The horse pull takes place on the green behind the Maple Museum. There, you'll witness a display of horsemanship and brute strength. Stop by the civic building on your way for some burgers and dogs and settle in for a spectacle.
UNION FAIR RAFFLE & AUCTION (3:30)
Join in the fun at the Civic Building at 3:30 for a lively auction. Try to outbid your neighbors for a chance to take home some blue ribbon goodies. Fill your basket with local produce, preserves, pies, loaves of bread, jams, and cookies- all made from scratch. Proceeds support next year's Union Fair expenses, so you can feel good about bringing home an extra plate of oatmeal cookies.
Visit Marathon 1890 Union Fair Facebook page.
Share your Cortland County adventures with us for a chance to be featured!
Tag @experiencecortland and use hashtag #experiencecortland.