Kelly Beck carried out the solemn duty of the Centre County dairy princess Monday
Her task: creating the giant ice cream sundae to celebrate kid’s day at the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair. Beck dumped 60 gallons of vanilla ice cream into two baby pools and started mixing in chocolate syrup, pineapple topping and cherries.
When she turned around, there were dozens of hungry youngsters waiting for a free sundae.
“Whenever I was little, we’d always come here,” Beck said Monday, taking a break from leading the charge and handing out treats. “It’s great that now instead of eating the ice cream, I can actually serve it to everyone else.”
A half hour in, Beck had handed out too many cups to count. Her helpers, including Centre County commissioners Steve Dershem and Chris Exarchos and state Sen. Jake Corman were scooping away.
“Somebody has to keep the production line in order,” Dershem said.
The kids around the fairgrounds had less to say: They were too busy enjoying their treats.
Let it go
The snowman, tinsel icicles and Christmas tree that surround Tina Allamon’s tent weren’t an attempt to beat the heat that settled on the fairgrounds Monday.
Instead, it was an ode to “Frozen,” the wildly popular Disney movie released last year. Allamon’s young granddaughter, Riley Minear, is a big fan of the film and came up with the idea, her family said.
“She was just at the age — that’s the first movie (she loved),” said Allamon, of Warriors Mark. “She knows every song. She sings. It’s the entertainment here.”
The decorations haven’t gone unnoticed. The family won first place for best lighting in the tent decoration competition, thanks to the work of Riley’s father.
“The reason we won is because my son-in-law wrote a computer program that makes the lights on the tent blink to the soundtrack,” Allamon said.
Made in the shade
Those running for tree cover Monday on a warm, sunny day at the fair might want to take note.
Fair officials had to cull 15 trees this year, because of disease and the emergence of the emerald ash borer, according to LeDon Young, a senior fair leader.
Young said her annual budget for trees is $10,000. This year alone she spent $30,000, in part because of the trees that had to be removed — an atypical amount, partly attributable to the invasive ash borer “that is doing-in Pennsylvania’s ash forests all over,” Young said.
Now officials are trying to raise money for a new crop. McDonald’s has partnered with the fair on a series of fundraisers to help with the effort, and Young said Grange officials will continue to accept donations moving forward.
It’s an act not unlike the one carried out by the very first Grange fair participants.
“The very first act they did in 1890 when they bought the fairgrounds (was plant),” she said. “You have to understand trees are usually anathema to a farmer. He tears them down so he can plow. Well, all these Grangers came in and planted them so we could have a park.”