‘Treasure the memories’

County fair opens Sunday, Aug. 3

County Fair Writer

Fruits and vegetables, grains and hays, horses and cows, little bunnies and large market steers, homemade sweets and canned goods, handcrafted projects, all forms of the arts

– these and many more will be proudly exhibited by local youth and adults at the 2014 It is a tradition, which began at the county seat of Huntingdon in 1831. The tradition continues and the fair is an opportunity to “treasure the memories,” the 2014 state fairs’

“It is an inheritance from our forbearers,” said Jim Davis, president of the Huntingdon County Agriculture Association, better known as the fair board. “From generation to generation, the volunteers who want to see it perpetuate make sure it happens.”

Pennsylvania has 109 county and community fairs and festivals in 62 counties that operate from March to October. Next to the Pennsylvania Farm Show, held in January, the Huntingdon County Fair is touted as the largest agricultural exposition in the state.

“Put on your boots and get back to your roots with the timeless magic of a fair.” A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs said as this year’s Day one is Sunday, Aug. 3, traditionally when people come to the fairgrounds “to see and be seen.” Cravings for foot-long hot dogs, monkey bread and hot sausage sandwiches are “Many people come to the fair for the food,” said Debbie Keppler, fair board secretary.

The fair offers something to satisfy all tastes – antiques at the Farm Museum and vintage tractors in a parade around the grounds, animals to pet at the barns, gold fish to win, Ferris wheel and bumper cars to ride, country and rock music to clap to the beat, beat-up cars with daring drivers to watch smashing and crashing, horses and riders to cheer on as Huntingdon County Fair Queen Katie Anderson and popular music playing and singing duo Dan and Galla will host the annual fair queen pageant, beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Midway Stage. There are four young women vying for the title this year.

The Midway Stage is also the venue for nightly entertainment, all part of the $5 gate admission. This year’s special guest is Georgette Jones, daughter of the late George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Georgette plans to be at the Midway Stage Friday evening.
The grandstand features nightly motor sports involving demolition derbies, antique and garden tractors and large and smaller trucks. There is an extra admission charge for some
Wednesday is Senior Citizens Day, one of the most popular at the fair. All adults 65 or older are admitted free of charge to the grounds. There are activities from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for the seniors at the Midway Stage.

“Our program will include music by Dan and Galla, a square dancing demonstration, games and a selection of a king and queen,” said Sylvia Goodman, program volunteer. “Area Agency on Aging representatives will be present with brochures and to share the latest information on Medicare.” Goodman’s granddaughter has been coming from Virginia since 2009 to help her with the woodworking department and senior activities, creating treasured memories for Gramma.

The popular Talent Show returns to the Midway Stage at 7 p.m. Wednesday. As a prelude, members of the Huntingdon Area High School Band will be on stage at 3 p.m. to provide musical entertainment. Ilona Ballreich, director of the Huntingdon County Arts Council, hopes this band concert will be the start of an annual tradition with another high school band jumping in next year in this slot.

The fairgrounds are busy from early morning until 11 p.m. each day, Sunday through the calling of ticket numbers Saturday evening, Aug. 9. Visit Laney and Neary halls to see exhibits and vendors and check out the new paint jobs in Owens and Johnson halls. The walkways are nearly all paved, making spaces accessible.

The Huntingdon County Fair is held on its own property along Fairgrounds Road in Smithfield Township, about two miles south of Huntingdon Borough. Parking is free and gate admission for adults is $5, children 12 and under, free. Local residents have enjoyed the Huntingdon County Fair at this 69-acre site for about 85 years.

Youth in 4-H clubs and FFA chapters, starting at age 8, compete for cash premiums in livestock contests Sunday through Wednesday evenings. The livestock showmanship

and weight class shows are held in the large and small arenas. Visitors are welcome to take in the shows or visit the livestock barns for close views of dairy and beef cows,
rabbits, swine, goats and sheep. Horses are housed in an area of their own and riding and showmanship competitions are held from Sunday through Thursday.

Friday is reserved for the 4-H and FFA Junior Livestock Sale, starting at 9 a.m. This all-day sale is an opportunity to purchase top quality market stock and to support the efforts The 4-H County Council hopes to collect 1,500 pounds of nonperishable food items to be distributed to the four county food banks. Help with this cause by donating one or two or
more food items when you pass through the gate during fair week.

The fair is a time to learn, for parents to show their children “where things come from” and see what others are doing to keep busy. This year’s day sponsors are JLG, Monday; Valley Rural Electric Cooperative, Tuesday; The Daily News, Wednesday; DuBois Business College, Thursday; Michael F. Dilliard Auction Co, Friday; and Majik Rent to Own, Saturday.

Visit the fair’s website at www.huntingdoncountyfair.com or Facebook and Twitter for an updated schedule or comments. There are amenities at the fairgrounds, such as an ATM, on-site medical personnel and a QR Code on display to be read electronically with the right personal tool to view each day’s entertainment schedule.

Volunteers will answer questions on the phone weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the remainder of this month and during fair week at the fair office, either by stopping in or by calling 643-4452. The email address is huntfair@verizon.net.

For everyone’s safety, no dogs are permitted on the fairgrounds.