Grange Fair expands with 17 new tent spaces

Sherie Homan and her family are no longer Grange Fair nomads.

After taking tent spots of those families that decided not to come one year to the next, the Homans this year have a permanent place to call their Grange home.

Sherie and Ralph Homan, of Centre Hall, are one of the families this year that were offered 17 newly opened tent sites in south row No. 12. It used to be parking, and it’s now the first row of tents facing the parking grounds and Gate 4.

“We’ve floated for five years,” said Sherie Homan on Wednesday, the last move-in day before the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair starts Thursday. “We kind of are enjoying this location right now.”

Homan’s tent was one of a few of the newbie tents in S-12 that had been done up Wednesday afternoon. Her tent had bunk beds, a mini-fridge and microwave, seating, and when her mother and brother arrived, she turned on the fans for some reprieve of the hot afternoon.

On the porch sits a bronze pig. It’s symbolic for her husband, who is on the fair’s swine subcommittee and spends a lot of his time at the hog barns.

There’s no TV, though.

Her husband also forbids it in the family tent.

“He says you’re not here to watch TV,” she said. You’re here to enjoy the outdoors.”

Sherie Homan said her set up started on Saturday with the kitchen. It has an ice chest to keep drinks cool, and they have a small frying pan for easy meals such as hot dogs. They’ll eat their breakfast or lunch in the tent and find dinner among the dizzying number of options surrounding the midway.

“For the main part, our kids like to come and eat out,” she said.

Monday, the Homans’ tent will be packed for her granddaughter Hailey Kreps’ ninth birthday. They’ll celebrate with the whole shebang — cupcakes because they’re easier to deal with than cake, presents, a birthday song and family and friends.

A small breeze lifted open some of the flaps of the tents down the row from the Homans’, showing the inhabitants had yet to move in.

Homan, though, came to arrange some chairs.

“I’m pretty much good to go,” she said.