Dawson Grange Community Fair to kick off 34th year of tradition

| Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

For the past 34 years, the Dawson Grange Community Fair has celebrated the area's rich agricultural tradition while providing affordable family fun.

The fair will kick off on Monday at the fairgrounds located along Chaintown Road in Lower Tyrone.

Dawson Grange Community Fair Board Secretary Janet Smith said throughout the week, between 6,000 to 7,000 people will visit the popular fair.

“It's a great place for families. It's free to get in and free entertainment, free arena events and free parking. If you go to one of the bigger fairs, it can cost a lot to get in if you have three or four kids,” Smith said.

The theme of this year's fair, which will be held Monday through Saturday is “Harvest Your Dreams.”

“It's really an agricultural fair. We have many displays of vegetables, flowers, canned goods and fruit,” Smith said.

In addition to the agricultural displays there are also craft and baking entries for youth and adults.

There are also baking contests including the popular PA Preferred Cake Contest. Smith said in this event, contestants must bake a cake using ingredients grown or made in Pennsylvania. She recommends contestants check the list of approved ingredients on the PA Preferred website papreferred.com or get a partial list in the fair office.

Linda Mellinger of Dawson has been entering items in the fair since 1993. She has entered baked goods, wildflower arrangements and vegetables.

“It's fun and I like the competition. I usually do pretty good, either first, second or third place and I've won the chocolate cake competition a few times,” Mellinger said.

She said her son, Jason Mellinger, 41, enjoys being able to enter items in the category that is especially for those with developmental disabilities. She said he has entered baked goods as well as vegetables.

“He looks forward to the fair each year,” she said. “He loves the ribbons and usually his are all blue and each year I write on the backs of the ribbons what they were for and he keeps them all in books.”

The fair has entertainment each night including hometown boy and local country star Chris Higbee Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

There are many events held throughout the week. Smith said the truck and tractor pulls are the most popular.

This year the fair will hold a balloon launch at 7:15 p.m. Monday. This is only the second time the fair has held this event. The last time was for the 25th anniversary of the fair.

“We decided to do it again this year because we thought the kids would like it,” Smith said.

There will be three age groups: 9 to 12, 6 to 8 and age 5 and younger. Each balloon will have a card attached that if found prompts the person who finds the balloon to mail it back to the fair office. A monetary prize will be awarded for the balloon that comes back from farthest away in each age category.

“Last time we did this we actually got a card back from Berlin, PA,” Smith said.

Children must register before the event that will take place in the arena about 7:15 p.m. Registartion will take place at the table beside the D&K Sales booth and will begin at 7 p.m.

Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer.

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