The Wyoming County Community Fair kicked off its 31st season this week with more vendors, bigger shows and a new name.
Formally known as the Kiwanis Wyoming County Fair, the event moniker now features the community that makes the event what it is, said fair secretary Pam Burke.
“We wanted the fair to represent all of the community members that have been involved for the past 31 years,” Burke said of the name-change.
Burke explained that the Tunkhannock Kiwanis Club was instrumental in starting the fair up again in 1986 (it had shut down during the WWII era), purchasing and moving the grounds in the 1990s to the plot of land where it currently is staged. But over time, the Kiwanis members became less and less involved in the Board of Directors and other aspects, so a nonprofit was started for the fair and the new name followed.
Aside from the name change, new additions have also been added to the grounds, which include a revamped Veteran’s Memorial Pavilion.
On Saturday, many veterans, volunteers and fairgoers gathered around the structure to unveil the project, which was the brainchild of volunteer Jeff Cox. All veterans received free admission to the fair Saturday.
Funded by the Wyoming County Room Tax Fund and Endless Mountain Visitors Bureau, along with help from the American Legion and other donors, a new flagpole was installed next to the pavilion along with handicap-accessible ramps. At the end of the ceremony, the Endless Mountain Chorus Barbershop Quartet sang “God Bless America” while audience members joined in.
The afternoon provided picture-perfect weather for fairgoers, as many families walked the grounds, enjoying a variety of foods, rides and games.
More than 130 vendors set-up shop this year — a significant boost over years past — selling a plethora of items, from foods such as funnel cakes and apple dumplings to handmade home goods to recreational vehicles.
Near the entrance, attendees were able to stop by the Wyoming County Republican and Democrat Committee stands, each filled with their own merchandise supporting Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
As Laura Schulberger and Erin Rapp made their way through the admission stands, they were eager to see if a certain attraction came back to the fair this year.
“I want to go on a camel,” Rapp said. “They had the camel rides last year.”
The duo drove from the Bethlehem area to attend this year’s fair, camping at a nearby location.
Schulberger said it’s her first time at the event, although Rapp attended last year.
“The kids love it,” she said of the experience. “And the (demolition) derby is always fun, which was last night.”
There may not have been camels present this year, but Burke said board members have been busy adding new entertainment to the lineup.
“Tonight we have the Roots ‘N’ Boots Tour,” Burke said of Saturday’s live entertainment, which featured Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye and Joe Diffie.
Daily shows and events include a petting zoo, hay rides, “Pirates of the Columbian Caribbean” — an aerial high wire show — and “Pork Chop Revue,” an animal show featuring pigs.
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