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.
On Wednesday, August 1st at 11am, the Fair Train will arrive at the historic Erie Railroad Depot in the Village of Hamburg as the Strates Shows begins its 94th season with the Erie County Fair. The depot is located at the corner of Union and Scott Streets (4 Scott Street).
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 Erie County Fair Marching Band, Fair Bear, members of the Strates family 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.
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 94th 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.