Fair Committee plans celebration of a century

By on March 29, 2017
A rooftop view of the Ephrata Fair circa 1930. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the popular event. Photo courtesy of the Ephrata Fair Committee

A rooftop view of the Ephrata Fair circa 1930. 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the popular event. Photo courtesy of the Ephrata Fair Committee

In 1919, Ephrata welcomed home its war-weary soldiers from the battlefields of Europe with a celebration on Main Street. This day-long event has expanded to become the largest street fair in Pennsylvania.

With 2018 marking the Ephrata Fair’s 100th anniversary, a special committee, commissioned by the Ephrata Farmers Day Association, has already begun plans to celebrate the occasion. The group is working to organize a series of events and activities to honor the Fair’s past and celebrate its future. The committee has already approved a 100th anniversary logo to represent the upcoming milestone.

“We are proud to honor an event that has endured for 100 years,” said Galen Kulp, president of the Ephrata Farmers Day Association. “But we also want to celebrate the future. The children that come to the fair are the future of our community, and they will be the ones to keep this fair going for the next 100 years.”

An entire week of celebration will start with a weekend kickoff beginning Saturday, Sept. 22. A gala ball will feature dinner and dancing at the American Legion, a timeless venue that has been in existence almost as long as the Fair, and where big bands performed in years gone by.

Sunday, Sept. 23, will offer an opportunity to honor patriots, past and present during solemn ceremonies, including a wreath laying observance and speeches from decorated officers.

Tent City, the endearing name given to the Farm Show and Fair activities held under tents in Tom Grater Memorial Park, will burst with the excitement of special events and dignitary visits.

“Technology has really up’d our game in entertainment,” said Beth Quickel, 100th anniversary committee chairwoman. “We’re working on securing a light show production of a caliber that Ephrata has never before experienced.”

The committee does not want to reveal too much now, but during the course of this year, the 100th anniversary will become a major theme. Stay tuned for social media campaigns, website updates and merchandise — all in the spirit of promoting the 100th anniversary.

Attendees of the 2017 Ephrata Fair will see some sneak peeks of the century celebration to come. This year’s fair goers will have an opportunity to pre-order a commemorative anniversary book filled with pictures and stories of past fairs. Also, a quarter toss game, an activity harking back to simpler times, but featuring a completely modernized design, will allow fair visitors to challenge themselves as it serves as a fundraiser for the 100th anniversary celebration. Even the famous Ephrata Fair Parade will show signs of change with the inclusion of a 100th celebration category.

“This is truly a community event,” said Quickel. “So many area businesses and individuals are stepping up to contribute to the celebration. The Ephrata Fair has set Ephrata apart and has stood the test of time.”

If you would like to make a donation toward the festivities or sign up to volunteer, visit ephratafair.org/contact.

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