Award winning performers, lumberjack competition to entertain at Grange Fair

Martha King participates in the standing block chop during the 2017 Lumberjack Competition at Grange Fair.
Martha King participates in the standing block chop during the 2017 Lumberjack Competition at Grange Fair. Centre Daily Times, file

From award winning country musicians to lumberjack competitions, this year’s Grange Fair will be jam-packed with entertainment fun for the entire family.

Entertainment committee chairwoman Kris McCloskey has new plans for this year’s entertainment, as per usual.

“Everything we have is basically new,” she said. “Our Grandstand entertainment is always new.”

This year, country music legends Shenandoah, Southern rock band Georgia Satellites, country singer Tracy Lawrence and many more artists are set to headline the 8 p.m. slot at the Grandstand stage.

On the first night of the fair, award-winning country group Ricochet will take to the Grandstand stage to perform personal hits including “What Do I Know” and “Love is Stronger With Pride.”

Christian rock group Building 429 will close out the fair with songs such as “Where I Belong.”

Of the wide variety of music genres, country music has remained a crowd favorite, according to McCloskey.

“This year, we have Morgan Wallen, he’s a newer country artist, and Natalie Stillwall,” McCloskey said. “She’s an amazing fiddle player and does country.”

In addition to Grandstand acts, the fair has two other venues where festival-goers can soak in the live entertainment — Jubilee Grove and Southside Stage.

This year, Jubilee Grove will mainly feature soloists, duos and trios. As a result, new up and coming artists have the opportunity to perform, according to McCloskey.

“We have a lot of new and young people there,” McCloskey said. “We have Buffalo Mountain Bluegrass, Flipside, Goodish, The Corner Brothers and so many more.”

Over at the Southside Stage, Velveeta, Josh Gallagher and other artists are set to perform.

Among those artists, a duo known as Alleycats will perform.

“They’re two little guys from Millheim, they’re like 9 or 11 and they’re amazing instrumentalists,” McCloskey said. “They play all kinds of instruments — violins and fiddles and they make some of their own instruments and they do their own bluegrass kind of music.”

Beyond the music, fair attendees can partake in a variety of alternate entertainment.

Food connoisseurs can indulge at the Celebrity Chef Farm to Table series. During each session, attendees can sample food created by local chefs.

Chefs like Kirsch McMaster from the Nittany Lion Inn and Erin Snyder from the Red Horse Tavern will be featured in the five day culinary series.

On Aug. 23, the festival will be at a standstill for the annual Grange Fair Parade.

“When the parade goes on, the rest of the fairground is pretty quiet, because everyone is watching the parade,” McCloskey said.

Scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Grandstand stage, the parade features five high school bands from around the region, twirling groups, floats and more.

On Aug. 25, a Lumberjack Competition will be held at the Competition Track from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Competitors will perform a variety of tasks to showcase how sharp their skills are using chainsaws and axes. Some of the tasks include undercuts, standing block chopped and jack and jill saw.

“There is so much going on at our fair, I honestly tell people ‘if you can’t find something at our fair to do, you probably just don’t know what’s out there in the world,’ ” McCloskey said, laughing. “There’s just so much going on.”

With a large variety of activities to partake in, McCloskey said to check out the fair’s brochure to map out where to go for the day.

Picking out a favorite aspect of the fair is hard for McCloskey, as she loves every part of the nine-day event.

One part that excites her, however, is being able to watch her “tent neighbors” grow up throughout the years.

“So many people have tents, so you have the same neighbors every year,” McCloskey said. “So you watch families grow. First it was the grandkids there, now it’s great-grandkids and the great- great-grandkids.”

The main goal for McCloskey can be simply summarized: to make the fair runs smoothly and for people to have a fun time to make memories.

“I think that’s what we are — a memory making machine,” McCloskey said.