The term “lucky penny” had a new meaning at the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair.
Not everyone in attendance during the two-week event was lucky enough to win a series of customized Grange Fair pennies, but those who were needed to know their fair knowledge.
Every day, committee member LeDon Young, who is in charge of Grange Fair merchandise, came up with a new trivia question.
It was announced to attendees on a loudspeaker.
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Those who knew the answer were encouraged to go to the information booth or the building that sold fair merchandise to submit their answer.
In most cases, people wrote on a piece of paper what they thought was the correct answer with their name on it.
At the end of the day, one person was selected from the bin where the answers were submitted.
That winner had the chance to get four custom Grange Fair pennies from the Penny Pincher Souvenir Coin machine.
They included pennies with the Grange Fair logo, a recreational vehicle, a cow and pig.
Young said those designs could change next year.
But the mission behind the trivia questions were to get people more involved in the fair.
“What we encourage is enjoyment and engagement,” Young said. “There are some easy questions, but then there are others that force people to figure them out.”
They included questions like, “What are the two creatures on the FFA logo?” “What is the building number for the trailer office?” and “How many copulas are on the building at the Equine Center?”
“Some people might know off hand, but we wanted to get people to figure it out by exploring,” Young said.
When asked where the questions come from, Young pointed to her head.
“It’s just being creative,” Young said.
And it might have paid off.
“We had a really good turnout and saw people were pretty active with it,” Young said.
Colton Duckworth,16, didn’t win, but he said he participated in the trivia contest every day.
“I just wanted to get those coins so I could have a collectable,” he said. “(My family) has been coming here for decades, but we can start to collect things like this to mark each year we’re here.”
The pennies are also stamped with the year of the fair.
But for those who weren’t as lucky, the machine was still available to people who wanted to purchase the coin.
“It’s a big hit just for that reason so people can have those small collectibles,” Young said. “It’s been very busy.”
Grange Fair General Manager Darlene Confer said attendance this year was expected to be 5 percent more than last year.
Last year’s attendance was just more than 202,000, Confer said.
“It’s attributed to the crowd we get our last day,” Confer said. “It’s a nice day, and it’s a weekend, so it bumps up our numbers.”
Committee members are already planning for next year’s event.
Confer said the first thing that needs to get done is grounds and building maintenance. The Grange fairgrounds is home to108 facilities.
“There is a lot of maintenance,” Confer said. “It’s going around now seeing what needs to get fixed, and what we need to do exactly. We already had a group tour of our facilities.”
Fair secretary Art Reede said much of the maintenance also includes repaving the roads and walkways, keeping up the grounds, and finding new ways to drain rain water so there aren’t any floods on the grounds or in people’s tents.
Each year, the fair is host to 1,000 tents and 1,500 RVs.
Flooding wasn’t an issue this year, though it did rain during the first weekend of the fair.
“It’s always something we keep in the back of our minds,” Reede said.
That upkeep is part of the fair’s annual budget, which is about $2.5 million. Most of that comes from gate and parking fees, tent rentals, grants and sponsorship.
“It cost a lot to put on, but it’s worth it,” Confer said. “It’s one of those fairs that’s known around the country, and we’re the last remaining encampment fair in the nation. When you see its history and become a part of it, it makes it worth it.”
Fair campers are expected to be off the grounds no later than Monday.
Reede said cleanup will then take a couple weeks to complete.