July 18, 2008

Purpose of Fair in Sewickley to Promote Agriculture

By Leann Junker, Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.

Jul. 18--In these days of rising price tags, the Sewickley Township Fair is quite a bargain.

Dave Hager, president of the fair board, pointed out a whole family can come down to the fair for just a $4 parking fee.

And there seems to be a lot to do there including checking out produce and baked good entries, enjoying pony rides and a petting zoo and meeting up with friends.

The 73rd annual Sewickley Township Community Fair and Farm Products Show is scheduled for Monday through July 26 at the Sewickley Township Grange along Route 136. Fair hours are 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and inside exhibits are open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and July 25.

In addition to fairgoers, Hager hopes to attract additional exhibitors.

"The purpose is to promote agriculture of the area and more is better. I'd rather run out of room than have empty shelves," said Hager, a Uniontown native who lives in South Huntingdon Township.

What makes the Sewickley Township Fair different from bigger fairs is the sense of community found there.

"There are people who have been going there as long as I have and longer who sometimes you see once a year; you see them at that fair," Hager said. "It's different from the big fairs. There are not a whole lot of little fairs left -- just us, Dawson and Derry."

Hager's daughter, Sara, serves as assistant secretary on the fair board, and she agreed the organizers are dedicated to the promotion of agriculture.

"We also support the interests and hobbies of our community members," she said, pointing out people are given a chance to enter their artwork, crafts and baked goods.

"Most importantly, we encourage a sense of fellowship within the community," she said. "Our event allows family, friends and neighbors to spend quality time together, and have some fun as well."

Norma Petersen grew up going to the fair and she continues to do that now that she has moved back to the area.

Petersen, who was a member of 4-H, helped in the food booth organized by the grange.

Petersen said the cheese fries are a big hit among fairgoers.

"I'm loyal to the grange booth since I worked in it since I was a little girl," Petersen said.

The tractor pulls also bring in a crowd.

"All the farmers in the community would bring their tractors to pull," said Petersen, remembering her sister Eileen was one of the first girls to pull a tractor at the fair.

"They made history, and now there's girls pulling all the time, which is kind of interesting," Petersen said.

Petersen said one thing remains the same year after year.

Children who exhibit at the fair put their entries in on Monday and then the anticipation begins.

"Kids can't wait until Tuesday night to see what ribbons they get," Petersen said. "The kids still do that. They come busting in on Tuesday night to see ... how many blues and reds and whites (ribbons) did they get."

Tuesday night is also special when the judging of baked goods is over.

"After all the baked goods have been judged, we actually cut up the winning baked goods, and we sell those," Petersen said.

"It's a good community event," she said.

The schedule follows:


--6-9 p.m. Entry night

--6:30 p.m. Horse show, including barrels, pole bending (In case of rain, the horse show will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.)


--8:30-9:30 a.m. Entries for flowers only

--7 p.m. Garden Tractor Pull


--6 p.m. Registration for Sewickley Township Fair Dance Challenge presented by Kellie Wilson

--6:30 p.m. Dance Challenge Competition


--6 p.m. Pedal Pull

--7-9 p.m. Merrie the Clown

--7:30 p.m. Dead Weight Percentage Tractor Pull (In case of rain, the tractor pull will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday.)

--8:30 p.m. Pittsburgh Magician David Lawrence

July 25

--6 p.m. Party Ponies & Farm Friends Pony Rides and Petting Zoo

--7 p.m. 4X4 Truck Pull followed by Tug-A-War (Ford fans vs. Chevy fans)

--7-9 p.m. Merrie the Clown

July 26

--6 p.m. Party Ponies & Farm Friends Pony Rides and Petting Zoo

--7:30 p.m. Western Style Tractor Pull followed by Milk Chugging Contest and Tug-A-War (International fans vs. John Deere fans)


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