162nd Bloomsburg Fair opens this Saturday
BLOOMSBURG – What’s new at the Bloomsburg Fair this year? A media conference was presented on September 6 to introduce some new experiences at one of the largest events in central Pennsylvania. The weather looks promising for opening day on Saturday, September 23. This will be 162 years of fairgoing, and most certainly a tremendous economic impact according to President, Paul Reichart. “Our goal is to get close to 500,000 people this year.” Reichart also stated that there are 85,000 followers on Facebook.
An announcement was made to get the kids to the fair on Tuesday for a contest on ‘How to Improve Pennsylvania with Water’. Eight high schools will be competing that night with a STEM (Science, Technology, Education, Math) presentation. These technology students will be judged at 7:30 p.m. and the winning high school gets $10,000. The money, designated for scholarships, has been donated by the Central Susquehanna Foundation. Also on board that day will be Ronald McDonald House and every admission will benefit one dollar to fight children’s cancer.
Scott Edwards, superintendent of the horticulture building introduced the new theme this year for the garden displays. “Hooked on Books” was an idea that came from the eight participating garden clubs, he said.
They met earlier in the summer to discuss the theme and exchange ideas. It will be a challenge according to Melinda Bender, President of the Muncy Garden Club. There are six classes and each one needs to be designed by a specific book. “We like to participate every year so we don’t lose our place,” Bender said. Not only are there premiums for awards, but also for the entries. “The prize money is $500 just for entering,” Bender said and there is a waiting list of garden clubs who want to enter. The mantle is based on “The Secret Garden”, the table is “Betty Crocker”, the low pedestal is using “Little House on the Prairie” and the high pedestal will be “Mary Poppins.” Muncy Garden Club member Lois Velkoff said they were looking for a large carpet bag purse for the floral arrangement for the “Mary Poppins” display which must use only fresh or dried flowers, or a combination of both and no artificials. All of the classes are ‘Designers Choice.’ Class 600 which is the door will be based on “The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe” and Muncy club members have designed a secret door for their arrangement.
Rules state the arrangements must be extraordinary with no dead leaves or foliage. “This is a good fundraiser for the club,” said Bender and members met each week for a month prior to the delivery date of this Friday. There will be five prizes total and the entry forms had to be submitted by September 16. Judging will take place this Saturday for the floral exhibits. Edwards said there will be live demonstrations every day during the fair in the Horticulture Building.
In the livestock area of the fair, 1400 animals will be there and anyone under 50 pounds will be able to ride a sheep. “It’s free for kids,” said Jeff Giger, superintendent for livestock. He added that 4,000 blocks of cheese made from the actual milk gathered and produced at last year’s fair will be on sale at this year’s fair in front of the dairy cattle barn. “Kids will like the collectable penny press with four different designs this year,” he said, “And a Gypsy Horse will be there for the first time.” This is a rare breed descending back to Ireland.
Visitors are encouraged to spend time in the historic Caleb Barton House, the Columbia County barn and antique farm museum. The barn is almost 100 years old and spotlights a display of antique farm instruments and crafts made 100 years ago. Deborah Coleman, Fair Secretary, said, “Items will be made on site as they were a century ago.” On Saturday a dulcimer musician will be strolling the grounds, and on Tuesday, there will be an enrichment program portraying the Barton children.
Fifty-three events are scheduled in the outdoor arena, and the agriculture department expects a 1500 pound pumpkin to display.
A sleigh from the 1850s will be featured in the Christmas Cafe with a “live size horse pulling it” making great photo opps.
For the food enthusiasts, some new items will be introduced this year. Look for edible cookie dough in a cone, Carribbean jerk chicken, a variety of handmade deep fried dumplings, candy french macaroons, walking tacos and some fried ice cream.
On Monday, September 25 seniors will get in free showing proof of age 65 or older, and all military personnel, past and present, also will be admitted free with proper identification. High school students 13 to 18 will get in free on Tues. Sept. 26 and Fri. Sept. 29.