Jokes, smiles are tradition for ticket taker

Matthew Dunlap started working at the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair gates, collecting tickets and money when he was 14. Eight years later, he is still doing it with a smile on his face.

“I’ll do it ‘til they put me in the ground,” he said.

Dunlap gets to greet smiling faces as they enter the fair each year, many times seeing familiar faces from previous years pull through his gate.

He sometimes likes to have fun exchanges with people, making jokes or greeting them in a playful way.

“I only see them once, and it’s this time of year,” he said.

Other favorite parts of the job include talking to his co-workers and snacking on some of the free food for employees.

When he gets to leave the gates after his long shift, Dunlap’s favorite part of the fair is getting milkshakes and chicken on a stick.

Effort to save Colyer Lake

While many fair attendees are getting food, riding rides and seeing sights, Centre County President Judge Thomas King Kistler is trying to raise awareness for saving Colyer Lake.

He said there is no way for the group of volunteers to raise the more than $6 million needed to repair the dam, but by spreading the word, he hopes the General Assembly will put it at the top of the priority list for projects of that type.

“We’re trying to raise awareness so if the legislators find money, it gets allocated to Colyer Lake first,” he said.

As the county’s president judge, Kistler is not allowed to directly raise funds, so his wife, kids and other volunteers have manned the booth for the hundreds of people who stopped by each day.

He communicates with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission on a weekly basis and will continue with the effort as time goes on.

“I think it’s very encouraging that we have so many people interested in the lake,” he said