In a village with fewer than 3,000 residents, more than 300,000 visitors are expected to take in Rhinebeck this week while visiting the Dutchess County Fair. As YNN's John Wagner tells us, that influx comes with the good and the bad.
DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- More people, more police complaints and more traffic is making its way to the quaint village of Rhinebeck.
"Everybody loves the fair," said Danielle Borquist, from Winter Sun and Summer Moon shops at Rhinebeck. "It's just kind of one of those, you begrudgingly go, oh, here comes the traffic, but you're happy that it's here."
Locals trade a few inconveniences in exchange for a tourism boom. Many leave on vacation or make fewer trips from home to avoid gridlock.
"They've come to terms with what time the traffic is at its worst and at its best and they kind of rearrange their schedule based on that," said Alana Venezia from the Northern Dutchess Pharmacy at Rhinebeck.
"They go out by 9 O’clock and they're back home by 9:30 because they know the fairgrounds open at 10," explained Sergeant Peter Dunn, officer in charge of the Rhinebeck Police Department.
New this year to alleviate traffic, the fairgrounds are using a different exit and entrance off Route 9. So far officials say it has helped, but with a two lane road, patience still is a virtue.
Crime and traffic violations bump up ten to fifteen percent, keeping police busy but not overwhelmed.
"They'll park in front of a driveway or block a fire hydrant or too close to an intersection, but the people here have become accustomed to it," said Sergeant Dunn.
With the focus on the fairgrounds and its food and wares, stores on Rhinebeck's main streets often get ignored. But what they lose in business that week they make up for in great advertising throughout the year.
"We get a lot of people who are from Dutchess County but don't come to the village of Rhinebeck necessarily and don't even know we're there," said Michelle Cussick-Kelsoe from Periwinkles at Rhinebeck. "But they come here to the fair and meet our products and are a repeat customer at our store."
According to a 2011 economic impact study by Camoin Associates, the annual fair directly and indirectly brings the county more than $34 million and creates 525 jobs.