It didn’t take long for Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair patrons to recognize Zach Spaw on Tuesday.
Just two days earlier Spaw was named the Grange Fair Idol winner after a two-day long event where he performed “Let it Be,” by the Beatles and “The Way You Look Tonight,” by Frank Sinatra.
As he was eating fried mushrooms, a flock of people approached him.
“It’s cool, but it’s not that big of a deal,” he said.
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Spaw, of Pleasant Gap, is entering his junior year at Bellefonte Area High School, where he is a member of band, orchestra and choir. He focuses on percussion.
Last year, he finished the competition in second after performing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” while playing the ukulele.
“You just go up there and have fun, and nothing else matters,” Spaw said. “I don’t think about winning, just enjoyment.”
He specializes in a classical style of music, while his father, Roger Spaw, said his son’s singing is also “eclectic.”
“He does a little bit of everything,” Roger Spaw said.
Zach Spaw started singing and performing in school musicals in late elementary school. He started taking voice lessons a couple years ago when his voice matured.
“It’s something I really enjoy,” Spaw said.
He hopes to pursue music in his future, and has aspirations of getting his doctorate in music education.
Spaw’s older sister Alyssa, 21, also competed in Grange Fair Idol a few years ago where she placed second and third in back-to-back years, Roger Spaw said.
Along with bragging rights, Zach Spaw was also given a $150 check from the Grange Fair.
Braden Riley, 7, was able to ride a teacup-type ride six times in a row without spilling his lunch.
When rides opened around noon, crowds of people flocked to the area where the mind-erasing began.
Riley said he was ambitious, with a goal to try every ride at the fair.
“I’ve probably been on five so far,” he said.
The fair has about two dozen rides that includes the most popular Ferris wheel, said Darlene Confer, fair manager.
Rides vary in cost, but the Grange Fair offers all-you-can-ride with the purchase of a wristband.
Jerry Brown the Monkey Man was monkeying around with his buddy Django, a capuchin monkey.
For a dollar, Sydney Michaelson gave the monkey the buck for a kiss. Django grabbed the dollar from the 6-year-old’s hand and put it in a cup.
“Now make sure you are very, very still,” Brown told Sydney before Django pecked her nose.
When Brown asked Sydney if she also wanted the monkey on her shoulder, she hesitated and then thought again.
“Yeah, OK,” she said.
Django gracefully hopped from Brown’s arm to Sydney’s shoulder and looked around while Brown was trying to capture the monkey’s attention for a picture with Sydney.
And in a random moment, Django stole another kiss that Sydney wasn’t expecting.
“That was pretty funny,” she said afterward.
Brown and Django teamed up more than 20 years ago with the mission to “bring joy to kids,” he said.