Westmoreland County revs up for 59th annual fair

| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Westmoreland Fair officials aren't counting on just cows and sheep to lure people to the fair this year.

They're hoping high-octane trucks and jet-powered four-wheelers that shoot flames will entice crowds to the fairgrounds in Mt. Pleasant Township.

“We've seen a lot of interest in it,” said Craig Lash, Westmoreland Fair board president. “It's a big attraction.”

The 59th Westmoreland Fair will kick off on Aug. 16 with the theme, “Harvest Your Dreams.” The fair set an attendance record in 2012 with nearly 60,000 people attending.

Officials noted that in addition to all the traditional animal and craft exhibits, the new events this year include a little more metal.

Along with the popular monster truck show, Lash touted two days of tractor pull contests. A second day was added so aficionados can enjoy even more super stock and mini modified tractors.

“At conventions, it got a lot of responses from what people say they enjoy,” Lash said.

At the monster truck races, famous trucks will be pitted against each other in a battle for supremacy, according to a promotional flier. The action will feature monster trucks Black Stallion, Iron Warrior, Higher Education, Hurricane Force and Storm Damage.

A jet-powered four-wheeler will “shoot flames out over 25 feet,” according to the flier. Another act, Freestyle Motocross, will perform stunts in mid-air off the back of a dirt bike.

The trucks will compete in elimination-round racing, a wheelie contest and annihilation-freestyle show to determine the champion.

Fans will be able to meet the drivers and pose for photos with the trucks before the show.

For the first time, fair visitors can take a ride in a hot air balloon to benefit charity. People's Natural Gas will bring its new hot air balloon to the fair and all proceeds from rides will go to the Westmoreland County Food Bank, said spokesman Barry Kukovich.

“We think this will help punch up the fair,” he said. “We're really excited about it.”

For an additional cost ($10 for adults, $5 for children), people will be able to take the tethered-ride up, and then down, in the balloon.

The Farmers Olympics was so popular last year that officials decided to bring it back, Lash said. The free show includes hay hauling, tractor driving, skid loader rodeo and cow milking.

Featured concerts this year include an '80s tribute band, Totally 80's; a karaoke show; a pop music cover band, Switch; and a rock cover band, Twisted Fate.

Daily attractions include Bar C Ranch Petting Zoo and camel rides, magician and balloon artist Dennie Huber, Wambold's Circus, hand spinning and shearing demonstrations, milking parlor demonstrations, beekeeper Curt Fischer and the 4-H Butterfly House.

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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