Westmoreland Fair bills itself as ‘A Timeless Tradition’
The 65th edition of the Westmoreland Fair celebrates “A Timeless Tradition” with some new attractions and the return of some old favorites Aug. 16-24 at Westmoreland Fairgrounds, Mt. Pleasant Township.
“Here in Westmoreland County, agriculture is huge. This is agriculture’s time to shine,” says Sarah Sphon, in her first year as fairgrounds secretary. “For those who are not involved in agriculture, our carnival and other daily entertainment makes for a great family day event or date night.”
Sphon of Mt. Pleasant Township says she volunteered with a food vendor at the fair for many years and regularly attended the event before taking on her new position.
The Big Show Circus
“Every year we like to switch it up from the traditional demolition derbies and truck and tractor pulls,” she says. “This year we will have The Big Show Circus by Cincinnati Circus on Aug. 19.” The one-ring circus show features a flying trapeze, wheel of death, aerial acrobatics, magic and clowns.
“The show includes lots of volunteers and audience participation; the whole audience becomes a part of the action,” Sphon says. There will be two performances, at 6 and 8 p.m., in the Peoples Grandstand Arena. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children 3-12 and can be purchased at the arena ticket booth.
Another attraction this year will be “Daddy’s Nightmare” monster truck rides on a 13.5 foot tall, 14,000 pound monster truck for $5 per seat. Riders under 36 inches tall must be seated on an adult’s lap.
“We also are welcoming back the Marvelous Mutts as a daily attraction,” says Spohn. “This thrilling dog sport showcases some of the world’s finest canine athletes” that have appeared on national television.
Part Time Cowboys
Among the entertainment highlights at the fair will be a performance by the Part Time Cowboys at 7 p.m. Aug. 17 in the Excela Health Show Arena. The group comprised of local singers and musicians from around Westmoreland County specializes in classic and modern country hits and classic rock and is led by Andy Hresko Jr. of Mt. Pleasant.
Hresko is a guitar and fiddle player and sings with the group that started as a backup band for his mother, singer/songwriter Anna Jane Allen, who performed at the fair several years ago and still sings occasionally with the group, he says.
The group was named after a record she made in 1972 in Nashville that featured songs titled “I Had All I Wanted” and “Part Time.”
Hresko says the band “isn’t a full-time gig” and members have other jobs; he works as an accountant. His son and daughter, Andrew and Kayla, both in their 20s, also perform with the group. Part Time hopes to record an album within the next year.
“We try to keep our show family-friendly, for everyone from kids to grandmas,” he says.
Monster trucks and a rodeo
Other attractions will include, on Aug. 16, Rafter Z Rodeo, with sanctioned events in bull riding, barrel racing, saddle bronco riding and bareback riding; Aug. 17, monster truck races with Quad Wars; Aug. 18, 21 and 24, Demo Derby with various vehicle classes; Aug. 20, farm tractor pulls; and Aug. 23, Super Stock 4×4 trucks and farm tractors.
In the Fair Entries portion of the fair, Spohn says a fun one to check out is the Pie and Cake Showdown. “It is very popular with $100 prize money up for grabs with a chance to advance to the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg for a prize of $500,” she says.
Westmoreland Agricultural Fair’s 3rd annual “Ultimate Bash” will take place at the Excela Arena on Aug. 24 (additional $10 charge) with music by the Andy Davis Band.
A notice on the fair website says that “due to the threat of African Swine Fever, the Open and 4-H Open Breeding Hog Show has been canceled for 2019.”
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.