Rhinebeck Mayor blasts Dutchess County Fair critics

The Village of Rhinebeck Mayor’s office released the following letter Monday, August 26:

The 168th Dutchess County Fair has concluded and it was a wonderful week of good weather filled with family fun. Mayor Jim Reardon states “this event has a long tradition of providing first class entertainment for a wide range of people that come from far and wide. A tremendous amount of work goes into the planning and staging of the fair.”

Reardon continues, “Fair management along with representatives from Dutchess County Emergency Management, New York State Police, Dutchess County Sheriffs Office, Rhinebeck Police Department, Rhinebeck Fire Department, Northern Dutchess Paramedics, Fairgrounds Security and EMS, Powers Great American Shows, Accurate Parking and others work for months behind the scenes to put plans in place to be sure this event runs smoothly. I take part in these strategy sessions and rest assured this event does not happen by accident. These people are professionals that take their jobs very seriously and put in place plans that work. Yet there are those armchair Monday morning quarterbacks or steering wheel/gas pedal critics that become quite frankly, abusive, nasty and disrespectful because they seem to think they are “experts” and need to tell the professionals how to do their job. I find this appalling and those responsible should be ashamed of themselves.

The Dutchess County Fairgrounds is located on the northern edge of the Village of Rhinebeck. Ingress to and egress from the fairgrounds is by Route 9 a two lane state highway, or from North Parsonage Street a two lane village street that leads to Route 308 also a two lane state highway.

Saturday there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000-60,000 people that attended the fair. NEWS FLASH: EXPECT TRAFFIC DELAYS! You name a major entertainment venue whether it is a professional sports complex, concert venue, race track etc and put that many people that want to enter and exit in a short period of time and there are going to be traffic jams, period. This does not mean the planning is bad rather that the infrastructure that is in place is
overwhelmed by the volume. It happens and everyone on the planning team knows it will happen.

To put blame on professionals that know their jobs, pay attention to minute details and then execute those plans like clockwork is unacceptable. The public has choices, attend the fair during the week when the crowds are typically smaller, attend on the weekend when the crowds are at peak numbers and accept the fact that you will be tied up in traffic, or stay home. It is that simple.

Also there are those in this community that seem to think that because they are village residents that they should get free admission to the Fair. The Dutchess County Fair moved to Rhinebeck in 1919. So let’s see, 2013 minus 1919 = 94 years. If you are 100 years old you might have some recollection of what Rhinebeck was like pre fairgrounds. If you were here after 1919, you live, or have moved to their back yard. Here is another NEWS FLASH: THEY DO NOT OWE YOU ANYTHING. The decision to move it to Rhinebeck was due to the fact Rhinebeck needed an economic boost and it certainly has and continues to provide that. Six days of the year we have the Fair, two days for Sheep and Wool Festival, two days for the Car Show that at times lead to heavy traffic. There are many communities that would love to have our “problem”. Ten days of the year that perhaps the traffic will be bad. It is a fact of life, accept it, deal with it and plan around it.

In closing I would urge people to consider there is professional team here taking the neccessary steps to exercise the best possible plan that is designed around the infrastructure in place and the conditions at the time. Put yourself in their shoes before you jump to criticize. They deserve your support and respect.”

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