Longtime vendor has old, new favorites
Hewlett’s is no stranger to the food scene at the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair.
On Saturday morning, owner Tom Hewlett had a rack full of bread ready to be filled with cheesesteaks, ground beef and hot sausage.
He carted the goods around to each of his four stands that opened at 10 a.m.
Hewlett’s is one of the better-known vendors at the fair. To patron Teddy Lyons, it is “the place to go.”
“I don’t care how early it is, I’m getting my sausage here,” Lyons, of Rebersburg, said.
He was then on his way to get a late morning dessert from Duff’s kettle corn.
Hewlett said his parents started coming to the Grange Fair with their stand in 1954. The Hewlett family is from Bloomsburg.
Sixty years later, the stand was passed down to Hewlett, who said opening up shop at the fair is something he’ll do as long as he lives.
“This place is huge, and I continue to see it grow,” Hewlett said about the fair.
But this year, he hopes to add something different to the menu.
“Unless you’re from Canada, upper New York or Wisconsin or something like that, then you haven’t heard of poutine,” Hewlett said. “We’re going to make our version and probably start serving it next week.”
Poutine is a Canadian dish made of French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds.
Mariah Wilmer found luck at nearly every game stand she stopped at Saturday morning at the fair.
The 5-year-old stood hand-in-hand with her father, Joey Wilmer, of Milesburg, as she took three rings and tossed them gently in an attempt to ring them around a bottle.
She went two for three at the Ring Toss and walked away with two purple stuffed monkeys. One, she said, was for herself, and the other monkey she gave to her newborn brother, Colton.
“She’s a prodigy,” Wilmer joked about his daughter. “I think I tried this game a million times and never, not once, ringed that (bottle). The rings always just bounced around.”
The two then went over to the duck pond game, where Mariah picked two matching ducks with the number 27 — on her first try. The objective was to match a pair by picking two random rubber ducks from a lazy river.
“Unreal,” Wilmer said when his daughter matched them.
Mariah left with a princess crown that she wore the rest of the morning. She said she wanted the crown because princesses are her favorite.
“I like ‘Frozen’ and Princess Aurora (from Sleeping Beauty),” she said.
Power couple celebrates
Carrie Jendra was walking around the Grange fairgrounds Saturday morning wearing a black T-shirt that said “beauty” in white block letters.
Her husband, Mark Jendra, accompanied her wearing a similar shirt, but it said “beast.”
It was attire they coordinated to celebrate their third wedding anniversary.
Four years ago, Mark Jendra got down on one knee at their family’s tent near the fair headquarters and proposed to his longtime girlfriend. They married the next summer.
The couple is originally from Centre Hall, but moved to the Allentown-area three years ago for Mark Jendra’s job.
Every year they make it back to the fair and celebrate their anniversary that doubles as a family reunion.
“We have everyone here on both sides of our family,” Carrie Jendra said. “It’s just nice to be able to come back and celebrate with everyone.”