Grange Fair concludes with parade; organizers thrilled with turnout

LeDon Young doesn’t have a favorite Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair event because she said every one yields picturesque moments that define the fair.

Whether it’s an elderly couple dancing during a musical performance, a child sound asleep in a stroller or just someone smiling and enjoying themselves, Young cherishes all the moments.

“They’re all different yet somehow all the same,” said Young, a fair committee member and the event’s longtime secretary.

The 139th edition of the long-standing Centre County tradition wrapped up Thursday with events including an afternoon parade through the grounds.

Young said the parade dates back to the first year of the fair, and it’s a tradition she looks forward to even though it marks the last day.

“It’s always bittersweet because that signals the end,” she said.

Though the last day was sad for some, Itzy tried to make people smile.

The clown made the rounds through the parade on a Segway because he said he got tired of walking.

It’s his 61st fair, with more than 10 as a clown and he keeps going for the smiles.

“It’s just to try and make someone’s day a little better,” he said.

The fair was also a good one from a managerial standpoint, General Manager Darlene Confer said.

An unofficial total of about 200,000 people went through the gates during the duration of the festival, which is pretty typical. But Confer said the Friday and Saturday totals of about 25,000 each day could be records.

She said many of the vendors she talked to reported good numbers. The junior livestock sale was also an increase from last year, with 341 animals sold for a total of $288,315.

Confer said her favorite part of the fair this year was the 17 new tents that were put up, giving several more people and families the chance to experience Grange Fair camping.

And now it’s time to start preparing for next year. Confer and committee members will begin going through the good and the bad, dissecting everything and preparing for the year to come. She said they got fewer complaints this year from attendees and they will look to ride that wave into next year.

Young said she is confident that the fair will continue to thrive and grow because the passion of all the young attendees that seem like they will keep coming back.

“There are so many thousand young people with hope and drive and verve and moxie,” she said. “It’s an exciting time to be in Centre County.”