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‘Fair’ly awesome Near-perfect weather forecast could lead to record-breaking crowds this week
DENA REEDY Review Staff
, Staff Writer
When the 80th edition of the Ephrata Fair Parade steps off tonight at 7 p.m. from Ephrata High School, the thousands and thousands lining of the streets of town may have already started to take the near-perfect weather experienced here so far this week for granted.
The organizers of the 95th Ephrata Fair certainly will not. In addition to what many would view as ideal "parade weather," calling for some sweaters and blankets with another forecast of highs in the ’70s and lows in the ’40s, the rest of the week looks nearly flawless as well.
"We are hoping for our biggest crowd in years," said Galen Kulp, president of the Ephrata Farmers Day Association, the organization which runs the fair each year. "They are calling for the best weather we have seen in years."
Kulp is also predicting record crowds for the parade.
The Millersville University Weather Center is predicting no more than a 10 percent of showers through Saturday, with highs of 72 predicted tonight, Thursday and Saturday. The evenings however will continue to call for jackets however, with lows of 44 tonight, 48 on Thursday and 44 again on Saturday. Friday appears to be the "more chilly" day of the week, according to MU, with a high of 77 and a low of 40 predicted.
As of presstime Wednesday, expectations were sky high for an extra special parade, with the weather being the crowning touch to a great line-up of attractions, highlighted by more than 100 entries including the 300-plus member Liberty High School band.
The fair got underway Tuesday and runs through Saturday.
Kulp said one of the biggest changes to this year’s fair is the relocation of the vegetables from uptown to the agriculture area in Grater Park.
"We just thought it was something we’d try this year," he said of the change."We thought we’d try something different."
There’s lots to see and do at the fair on Thursday, especially from noon to 6 p.m. as Kiddies Day features discounted pricing on many rides, a candy scramble, and appearances by Smokey Bear and the Chick-fil-A Cow. Sneakers the Clown will create some wonderful balloon art as well as dazzle the crowd with his magic show. Bob’s Critters animal program will run from noon to 3 p.m. and the Eastland Alpacas will be onsite from 1-5 p.m.
Tent City wraps up on Friday with many family-friendly events such as the Antique Tractor Pull and DKers Juggling at 6:30 p.m., followed by family fun contests for "children" of all ages. This is also the last chance to see the animal and other exhibits. Saturday morning, bright and early, the quoits and cornhole tournaments take place in the park at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. respectively.
Saturday, don’t miss out on the creative entries in the 57th Annual Ephrata Fair Baby Parade starting at 1 p.m. on Lake Street. Children under 7 are welcome to participate in several categories. Some walking, others in decorated strollers, wagons and floats -but it’s surely a good time to cheer all participants and marvel in the imaginative minds of their parents. Even children ages 7-10 get in the act with a decorated bicycle category just for their age group.
As stated, this is the 95th year for the Ephrata Fair, which Kulp said started as a welcome back for the veterans of World War I.
"It takes hundreds of volunteers to pull this together," he said. "There wouldn’t be a fair without volunteers."
Kulp said the fair is about the community and giving back.
"It gives people a chance to see someone they have not seen in a long time," he said. "It also gives churches and non-profits a chance to raise some money."
He said it’s all about giving back and that’s the reason "I become involved."
Kulp has served on the fair board for four years and has been president for one.
"I’ve seen a lot of changes but the fair always appears the last week of September."
More FAIR, page A15