At this year’s Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair, one camper, Kyle Royer, will be specially honored for his years of dedication to and love for the fair.
On Oct. 20, 2011, Royer was killed in a truck crash at the age of 24.
Royer’s parents, Wayne and Annie, have donated funds for the new bleachers at the competition track at Grange Park. The bleachers will be dedicated in memory of Royer prior to the truck pulls on Aug. 22.
The 140th annual Grange Fair, Aug. 21-28, will feature livestock, music, amusement rides, a variety of contests and food that fair veterans anticipate all year.
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In 1874, Leonard Rhone saw a need to promote and advocate local farming and farmers. After learning about the Grange movement, he organized nine subordinate granges and invited them all to a picnic at Leech’s Woods near Linden Hall.
This became an annual event, and a permanent home for the picnic was bought in 1890. These fairgrounds now consist of more than 264 acres that host an annual crowd of more than 200,000.
Darlene Confer, tent camp secretary and general manager for the fair, said she expects at least the usual 200,000 visitors and hopes for an increase this year.
Since its beginning, the fair has grown to include 1,000 tents, 1,300 RVs, hundreds of concessions and more than 7,000 exhibit items.
A new event this year is a tent- and RV-decorating contest. The winner will pay no rent for his or her tent or RV for the week.
The fair provides the tents for renters, and they cost $210 for the week. The RV rentals vary based on the size of the vehicle, but range between $190 and $230 for the week.
The ticket costs remain the same as last year — $6 for one-day parking and admission, $15 for weekly admission and $16 for weekly parking. Admission is free for children younger than 11.
Single-day tickets go on sale Aug. 22.
Other entertainment will include truck pulls throughout the week, ending with a BMX and FMX thrill show featuring Brody Wilson.
The 2014 Grange headliners include The Boomers, Bill Anderson, Nashville Bluegrass Band, The Swon Brothers, Jason Crabb, Chubby Checker & the Wildcats and The Outlaws.
New events this year include a meet-the-doctor series, a health fair, a senior citizens scooter pull and a mounted shooters exposition in which participants ride horses and shoot at balloons.
There also will be special events to celebrate the 140th year of the fair, Confer said.
As always, pets are not allowed in the fairgrounds, no alcoholic beverages are permitted and open fires, including charcoal or gas barbecue grills, are prohibited.