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Farm living, fun featured at Queens County Fair

The Queens County Farm Museum opened its doors to the community once again last weekend for the 26th-annual Queens County Fair.

A celebration of the agriculture and history of the borough and its people as well as a showcase for some of its more exciting and eclectic entertainment, the two-day Floral Park event was a hit with residents young and old.

Employees at the museum, which has existed as a working farm for centuries, say the fair is a rare, important opportunity for children and even adults to be exposed to animals and farm life.

“The three-pronged mission of the farm is to promote agriculture, history and education. So obviously a county fair celebrating these three things makes a lot of sense,” Gary Mitchell, the farm’s straw hat-wearing, pipe-smoking operations manager said Sunday. “It’s an unqualified success this year. As you can see, people are enjoying themselves. There’s a plethora of attractions: Besides the juried agriculture and livestock tent, we’ve got pig races, the Bavarian garden, petting animals, hay rides and a magic show. We’ve literally run out of space to pack anything else in.”

One of the largest draws this year was the New York Arm Wrestling Association’s annual championship. Sunday’s competition brought many of the state’s best arm wrestlers to the farm.

Men with Popeye arms tested their macho wills in quick, tense contests. The matches had little motion, but contenders’ veins popped and their faces grimaced as they tried to impose their strength on one another in pursuit of first-place honors.

Audience members let out collective moaning cheers from their makeshift hay bale seats whenever a loser’s wrist hit the wood, leaving the table open to the next masters of muscle.

“Tough matches today. As you can see, nobody wants to lose these matches. The championship’s on the line today,” Gene Camp, the association’s president and founder announced through speakers as two opponents were getting ready. “This is a great match-up. Both of these guys are unbelievable wrestlers.”

While the feats of strength continued across the farm, the Provenzano family waited for the “frog, bug and animal show” to begin.

Sophia Provenzano, 3, was perched on her father Chris’s shoulders to eke out a better view, while her mother, Monika, watched over Sophia’s 2-month-old brother, Chris.

“For Sophia, it’s great to see the animals. We don’t get to see animals every day, of course, so she’s fascinated to see them,” Monika Provenzano said. “She’s seen a chicken, a cow and a sheep on TV. Now she can actually see and touch them.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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