Fayette fair deemed a success
Even with traffic backed up and one day of bad weather, officials say the 2010 Fayette County Fair was a success.
"Over all, it went extremely well," said Bill Jackson, president of the fair board, adding that while it will take a few days to get the total numbers in terms of attendance, many people came out this year for the fair.
Popular events this year included The Clarks playing for the first time in the Outdoor Arena and The Fabulous Hubcaps. The Bulls and Boys Rodeo had the biggest crowd in years, and Sunday was a busy day with people bringing in their church bulletins for free admission.
Jackson reported one bad weather day out of 10. That's when a thunderstorm hit the area, left thousands of people without power and damaged property.
"We had a little bit of damage to some tents, but nobody was hurt, and we didn't lose power. If we would have, we would have had to close the fair," Jackson said. The weather did lead to the cancellation of the Monster Truck Races, which is normally a dig draw.
While the weather is always a concern, numerous road construction projects this summer, including the resurfacing of Route 119 near the fairgrounds,brought worries. But fair organizers rolled with the punches as traffic backed up on Route 119 a few times, having some events delayed so all or most of the participants could make it. Deadlines were also extended to hand in the church bulletins on Sunday.
The day of the bad storm was also the day of the semifinals of Fayette Idol 2010, which was new this year and showed to be popular enough that Jackson said fair officials may expand the countywide competition next year.
The finals for the competition were held on Friday. Beth Stenger of Connellsville came in third place, Taylor Hackley of Gans came in second and Megan Peebles of New Salem came in first place.
Along with receiving a cash prize, Peebles was the opening act for The Ultimate Tribute featuring Mike Albert and the Big "E" Band on Saturday.
As things were winding down at the 4-H Youth Building, which is used for storage during the year, for the 10 days of the fair, it's the center of many 4-H programs and club displays.
Of the 22 4-H clubs that are represented at the fair, Cathy Brady, an extension educator with the Penn State Cooperative Extension Office, said the Sunshine Bunch, which creates wooden lights, T-shirts, candles and ceramics, has become very popular.
As for events this year, Brady said the 4-H Olympics continued to gain in popularity. There were about 130 members participating. The annual benefit auction brought in less than the $13,000 from last year, but it still did well. Bringing in cheerleaders for the first time for a pep rally was well attended as was the annual 4-H Horse Show.
Also new in the 4-H Youth Building were displays and signs from the College of Agriculture at Penn State from Pine Grove Mills near State College.
Brady said continuing to being the new and more professional agriculture materials and programs to Fayette County is something the extension office wants to do in the future as well as increasing the 4-H store and bringing in more demonstrations like Cooking with Chief Richard Horn from Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts.
"It's a lot of fun, just like last year," said Sarah Scully, the 2010 Fayette County Fair Princess, about all that the fair had to offer this year. "You hear people say it's going to be a good time, and they never let you down."
Scully, 19, of Dunbar was also crowned the 2009 fair princess, so she experienced the last two fairs as the fair's princess; she said her first year was spent learning confidence in addressing crowds and her second year as princess was learning responsibilities and becoming more of a people person. Both years were spent making new friends.
"Both queens I was with have been fantastic," Scully said. Jessie Ross of Connellsville, the 2010 Fayette County Fair Queen, was not available on the fairgrounds Saturday.
Even though the fair has ended for the year, it's not the end for Ross and Scully, who will spend the rest of the summer and the rest of the year up to next year's fair participating in parades, attending other fairs and fair queen contests.
Scully is hoping to again take part in the Dr. Seuss Week, reading to toddlers at The Cub's Den at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus.
"I like to do whatever I can to promote the fair," Scully said.