Grange Fair vision remains strong

Ben Haagen is the president of the Grange Fair.
Ben Haagen is the president of the Grange Fair. Centre Daily Times, file

The purpose of the Grange Pic-Nic (now known as Grange Fair) from its inception sought to educate friends and neighbors about the Grange organization, as well as promote and share ideas about agriculture. As fair president, I sincerely hope we never lose sight of Leonard Rhone’s vision for the Grange and continue to be a showcase for Centre County agriculture for generations to come.

Our fair continues to bring in visitors from across the United States and beyond. Did you know that agriculture is the No. 1 industry in Pennsylvania and tourism is No. 2? Grange Fair is a perfect blend of these top two industries and has an economic impact of $2.5 million on our local economy. I am proud to be a part of this fair, which provides a balanced display of livestock (rabbits, poultry, goats, lambs, swine, dairy cattle, beef cattle and horses) and agricultural exhibits, as well as educational contests, Grange displays, youth exhibits, art and hobby displays, 4-H and FFA projects — the list goes on and on.

Hopefully, after spending a day or two — or quite possibly a week — at the fair, you will be drawn in by the “hometown atmosphere,” a tent and RV city within the town of Centre Hall. One thousand tenting families and 1,500 RV families call Grange Fair their home for a week each August.

Come and help us celebrate the 142nd Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair by attending the queen pageant on Wednesday, as last year’s queen, Alissa Woomer, crowns a successor. Come back again Friday night when we officially kick off the 2016 fair at the Southside Stage during opening ceremonies. In addition, our list of headliners at the Grandstand begins Friday night and includes the following top-notch entertainment: Jana Kramer, Adam Yarger, James Wesley, William Michael Morgan, Matt Maher, Stayin’ Alive, Parmalee, Collin Raye and RaeLynn ... not to mention the other great acts appearing at Jubilee Grove, the Southside Stage and acts strolling the fairgrounds.

If you need another reason to come to Grange Fair, consider the more than 300 concessionaires who provide you with delicious mouth-watering fair food as well as various items for sale where you can shop to your heart’s content. If it’s the thrill of a ride you enjoy, then consider visiting one or both of our outstanding ride amusement areas. As if that’s not enough — if it’s the roar of engines and the sight of smoke you yearn for — plan to attend the truck and tractor pulls at the Competition Track.

This fair is a huge undertaking and would not be possible without the fair committee, general manager, office and computer data entry staff, grounds foreman, grounds crew, nursing staff, EMS personnel, chief of security and security crew, parking crew, gate attendants, building watchers, businesses and sponsors, exhibitors, 4-H and FFA members and leaders, legislators and our many fair vendors. These people are all heroes who continue to make our fair a huge success each year. Say a big “thank you” if you rub shoulders with one of them during fair week.

Remember to check us out on Facebook or visit our website at www.grangefair.net for a full listing of Grange Fair activities and events. Whatever your reason for attending the Grange Fair, we hope to make you feel welcome as a member of our Grange Fair family! Hope to see you soon!

Ben Haagen is the Centre County Grange Fair president.