Fair Train to arrive this week For 178th Erie County Fair: Strates Shows is America’s last remaining railroad carnival

By | August 3, 2017

HAMBURG, N.Y. – For generations, the annual arrival of the James E. Strates Shows train has been a highly anticipated occasion for fairgoers and enthusiasts of Americana. The movement of the colorful freight train filled with wagons and amusement rides into the Village of Hamburg is a signal that opening day of the Erie County Fair is just days away.

This Thursday, August 3rd the Fair Train will arrive at the historic Erie Railroad Depot in Hamburg as the Strates Shows begins its 93rd season with the Erie County Fair. The depot is located at the corner of Union and Scott Streets (4 Scott Street). No definitive time of arrival has been announced. Historically arrival is between 11a-2p (updates will be made via Erie County Fair Twitter & Facebook accounts).

The train will begin the final leg of its journey to Hamburg, using Buffalo Southern Railroad trackage that runs from Tifft Street in South Buffalo through Blasdell as it makes it way to Hamburg. As the train arrives at the depot it will be greeted by the Fair’s mascot, Fair Bear, and Erie County Fair officials.

500 limited edition “Train Day” buttons will be available on a first-come basis, one per person, at the Depot prior to the train’s arrival. This year’s button commemorates the 30th year of the iconic Big Wheel. Anchoring the Fair’s Strates Shows midway since 1987, a ride on one of the largest travelling Ferris Wheels in America has become a family tradition for many offering a one of a kind, birds-eye view of the entire 275 acre Fairgrounds.

Over the decades, the logistics involved in moving Strates Shows’ employees and equipment has developed into a precise science. The modern Strates Train consists of over 50 rail cars for rides and equipment and 34 trucks. A designated trainmaster and crew can load or unload the train in less than 18 hours with precision of a military operation. The show travels the United States during a seven-month season.

The exclusive relationship between the Erie County Fair and the Strates Shows, now in its 93rd year, is considered a historical milestone in the modern amusement industry. The relationship between the Strates Shows and the Erie County Fair is the longest continuous run of any carnival midway in the United States.