CENTRE HALL — Under blue skies and bathed in bright sunshine, tenters put finishing touches on their temporary homes Wednesday in anticipation of today’s opening of the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair.
The traditional move-in-day rainstorm Sunday didn’t bring excessive mud or power outages, just some traffic congestion as hundreds of campers streamed in to set up their porches and kitchens.
Fair General Manager Darlene Confer was among those watching the skies Wednesday as the rides and booths were being prepared for the thousands of visitors headed their way.
Now it’s time for funnel cakes, 4-H displays and the rest of the Grange Fair’s many attractions.
“We’re ready to go,” Confer said Wednesday. “I looked at the extended forecast this morning and it’s looking really great.”
She added: “We’re in pretty good shape. We have 2,500 families moving in and 99 percent of them know exactly where they need to go and how to get there.”
The fair’s opening ceremonies are set for 6 p.m. at the Grandstand, followed by the Fair Queen coronation at 7 p.m. at the Southside stage.
Horse and tractor shows will be among today’s featured activities.
The 138th fair continues through Aug. 30.
The tradition of families passing down tents for generations helps avoid move-in problems from year to year, Confer said.
“Even if they don’t remember their tenting address, they know what row they’re in and that their tent is next to a tree,” she said.
Clean and safe
While the fair committee is always in contact with the Centers for Disease Control about various issues that could affect activities and fair-goers, the swine flu tops this year’s list.
When animals begin arriving today, Confer said veterinarians will check them for symptoms before they’re allowed off the trucks. Vets will check animals daily.
“If a pig has a cough or a sneeze, they won’t be allowed to disembark,” she said.
Confer said, as usual, hand-washing posters and stations will be on the fairgrounds, and hand sanitizer is available at both ends of the barns.
“The big thing is for people to act responsibly around animals,” she said. “They need to know you don’t take your food in the barns. You just don’t eat around the animals. You wash your hands when you leave.”
Confer said it helps that the Grange Fair only allows animals from Centre County, decreasing the likelihood of problems.
While West Nile Virus has been a problem around the state, Confer said no samples collected from the fairgrounds have turned up positive.
For those who can’t get enough of the fair, or can’t make it to Centre County this year, a Web cam set up in the midway area is available for viewing with the Dropcam application on iPhone or Android smartphones.
Verizon Wireless also has installed a temporary repeater near the grounds to provide additional network capacity for those camping at the fair.
Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter