Harmony Grange Fair will kick off on Tuesday|
Saturday, September 15, 2012
By Dianne Byers Staff Writer
WESTOVER - "We're ready to make it happen," said Shae Harkleroad speaking about preparations for the annual Harmony Grange Fair that opens Tuesday and continues through Sept. 22.
Harkleroad, who is in his sixth year as the fair's manager, said without the many volunteers who freely give their time to prepare the grounds in the weeks prior to the fair and who work in the booths during fair week it would not be possible to put on the community get-together.
Many of those volunteers have been employed in the agriculture, timber, coal and trucking industries and the fair is paying homage to each of those job sectors during the week and through its theme "Celebrating 100 Years of Rural Heritage." Acknowledgements will be held on the fair stage prior to each evening's entertainment and those in attendance will be invited to march in the Sept. 22 parade, he said.
Harkleroad said for many years and continuing through the present, those four industries provided a majority of jobs for area residents and the fair board felt it was important to recognize the contributions of each. Most of the current board members are the second and third generations of their families to be part of the group that plans the fair, he said, adding. "Our parents and grandparents were the originators of this fair in 1955. Not only did our friends, family and neighbors found the fair, but they also, along with many others, built the local community. We want to pay tribute to industries the Harmony area was built on. Agriculture, timber, coal and trucking are the blue collar, blood, sweat and tears industries this area was founded on ... We're looking forward to recognizing those people and letting them know without what they've done we wouldn't be where we're at," he said.
Visitors who enjoy the beautiful floral displays at the fair will be pleased by the appearance of the new show area in the hall where exhibits are housed. Harkleroad said donations were given to the fair by the family of the late Helen Boyce who served as the fair's long-time floral superintendent.
The area has been designed to resemble the front porch of a home with a roof where hanging baskets will be displayed and a rail encasing the exhibits. Harkleroad said the floral department was the only section of the display hall that had not been remodeled and the board is grateful for the family's contribution that will provide better viewing and perimeters for the fair's visitors and also the work of Doug Weaver, Clair Stiffler, Nancy Stiffler and Rorabaugh Lumber Co., Burnside, who provided the components and the skills to put the design together.
Harkleroad said the fair has also taken steps to ensure the safety of its visits after recent minor outbreaks of swine flu among several animal exhibitors at nearby fairs. He said there would be signs encouraging fair visitors and exhibitors to take advantage of the hand sanitizing stations located near the animal barns. "We've taken the precautions to be ready, compliant and safe and we're promoting common sense measures among fair visitors," he said.
Admission to the fair is free. There is a $4 daily charge for parking and weekly parking passes, at a reduced rate, are available. Those coming to watch the daily entertainment on the fair stage are encouraged to bring a chair, as seating is limited.
A schedule of events includes Monday, noon to 8 p.m., registration of exhibits; Tuesday, 9 a.m. to noon, registration of exhibits; noon, the fair opens; 5 p.m., the rides open and the grange's ham dinner will be served; 6 p.m., the opening ceremony and vesper service; 7 p.m., on the track the quad pull, $3 admission; 7:30 p.m., entertainment to be announced.
Wednesday, 9 a.m., exhibit judging, the display areas will be closed to visitors; 5 p.m., the rides open and the grange's lasagna dinner will be served; 7 p.m., antique and open tractor pulls on the track, $3 admission; and 7:30 p.m., on the fair stage, Acoustic Stew - a four-piece band from the Hastings area playing folk and classical rock music.
Thursday, 9 a.m., the fair opens; 5 p.m., the fair opens and grange's barbecue chicken dinner will be served; 7 p.m., tractor pull, on the track, featuring models from 1960 and older, light and heavy weights and hot stocks classes, $3 admission; 7:30 p.m., The Boomers, from the Ebensburg area performing a wide variety of music from the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Friday is kid's day at the fair. The fair opens at 9 a.m.; noon, entertainment by Firefly including juggling, mime, illusions and balloon art; 1-5 p.m., reduced prices matinee rides on the midway; 5 p.m., the grange's barbecue chicken dinner will be served; 7 p.m., the truck pull, on the track, $6 admission; 8 p.m., The Moore Brothers.
Sept. 22, 11 a.m., lawn and garden tractor pull, on the track with the Allegheny Mini Tractor Pullers, and kid's pedal tractor pull; 1 p.m., lineup for the parade; 2 p.m.; the parade steps off onto Ridge Road to the fairgrounds; Firefly will provide entertainment following the parade until 6 p.m.; 5 p.m., the grange's pit-cooked roast beef dinner; 7 p.m., big rig truck and smoker tractors pull, on the track, $6 admission; and 8 p.m., Smokin' Joe and the Wildhorse Band.
Sept. 23, 2-4 p.m., entries may be picked up.