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Fair’s Sesqui-centennial collectible holds triple the historical significance

By Carol Sones Shelter - | Jun 29, 2021

Carol Shetler/The Luminary A limited number of crocks fashioned by local pottery maker Cody Sones (left) was commissioned by the 150th anniversary committee of the Lycoming County Fair. Michael Bieber (right) is credited with suggesting the local artist provide the collector’s items for the fair’s sesquicentennial 2021.

HUGHESVILLE – A collectors item in the form of a crock, notes the 150th anniversary of the Lycoming County Fair. Made by local artist, Cody Sones, the pottery pieces are from the hands of a descendent whose family arrived here from Berks County prior to 1792, preceding even the fair’s founding.

Cody’s family farms includes the original acreage purchased by Johan “Peter” Sones, about two air miles from the fair grounds, located north-east of Clarkstown. The census lists the family progenitor as a farmer. County fairs were established as a way of displaying the best of harvests, and at Hughesville, it began as a poultry show.

What may be considered as triple the historical importance begins with the items itself; second from a local artist; and third if buyers are among the numerous Sones descendants.

Over the years, the Sones family has been involved with the fair. Dale and the late Raymond Sones, two of Cody’s great-uncles, participated through the Future Farmers Association at high school, were award winners in annual fairs, advancing to wins at the State Farm Show. For years, Cody’s uncle Barry Sones had been in charge of the race track having been at the grounds at a young age with Dale and Raymond.

Although the part of the Sones family remaining on original lands continues in agriculture, they have diversified, offering spacious areas to hunting and building farm storage silos.

How the choice of Sones as the artisan to fashion crocks came about as a happenstance. Michael Bieber, a member of the fair’s Board of Directors and the 150th anniversary committee, had been attempting to engage a Lancaster area pottery firm to no avail. It was at that time the Jan. 27 issue of the Luminary appeared with Cody’s story. Subscriber Bieber’s suggestion of Cody designing and making the speciality item was approved thus bringing together all the possible triple motivations for purchase.