Let the good times roll 94th Fair has huge opening night; new ride plan a big hit

By on September 26, 2012


Timna Crowther of Ephrata holds on tight, clearly excited to have caught a pig in Tuesday night's chase at Tent City. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

A couple blocks away from the bustle of the street fair, kids and adults alike were getting down and dirty Tuesday night for the annual greased pig chase at Tent City. Groups of eager competitors filed into the ring surrounded by enthusiastic spectators waiting for a champion to emerge.

"The first one got away from ya though, didn’t it?" said Tommy Zartman to his nephew, Austin Brass, as he wiped the slime off of his arms after winning one of the 6- to 8-year-old heats. "And then they had a restart, and then he got it the second time," said Zartman.

"Uh, greasy," was Brass’s answer when prompted about how the pig felt. And when asked if the task was difficult, he said "not really." Spoken like a champ.

Outside the ring, kids enjoyed the Bungy jump, bounce castle and pedal go-karts. Valerie Becker, of Ephrata, waited at the entrance of the grassy go-kart track watching her 5-year-old son cruise around.

"My daughter wanted to do the pig chase, but chickened out," said Becker. "My son did the rooster." Her family moved to the area five years ago, she said, and this was her first time visiting Tent City.

"It’s nice, you know, we’re not far from here, so it’s nice to be able to basically just walk down and check things out after working all day long, and school," she said.

"Mom, can I do it again?" asked her son excitedly after his first round on the go-karts. They’d already seen the cows, pigs and goats, and planned to hit the streets for more fair fun later that evening.

Matt Smith, president of the Ephrata Farmers Day Association, was impressed with the size of the crowd at Tent City Tuesday.

"The pork chop dinner has become a tradition for many fairgoers," he said. "The ag festivities were very exciting."

Smith was also pleased with the way the first day progressed in light of the footprint changes. Because of the new layout, the kiddie and regular rides are mixed on West Main and South State streets.

"Our ride company, Houghton Enterprises, did a nice job of fitting 22 rides into a smaller area this year," he said. "He also brought extra benches, picnic tables and some classic rides like the Ferris Wheel, Carousel and the Slide."

Smith said the $20 wrist band was a popular addition.

"The presale was a huge success and everyone is excited about the ride specials," he said. "The exhibits look very good and the bake sale was a success."

The president urges visitors to buy their Ephrata Fair raffle tickets to win cash prizes. They can be bought on the midway or at the fair office. The fair office is also selling backpacks and crocks again this year.

In addition to Wednesday night’s parade and entertainment by Beams Music at the Whistle Stop Plaza ongoing throughout the week, the remainder of the fair will be filled with many activities for all ages. The schedule is as follows:


Noon-6 p.m.: Kiddies Day, when all rides are reduced by one ticket

4-9 p.m.: Petting zoo

6 p.m.: Livestock sale

6:30 p.m.: Pedal tractor pull and BERG pedal go-kart race (Grater Park)

7 p.m.: Flying Dutchman Band and Tom Perry and Shiloh (Tent City)

8 p.m. Tug-of-war


4-9 p.m.: Petting zoo

5 p.m.: Rabbit judging

6 p.m.: Peanut scramble (Tent City

6:30 p.m.: Antique tractor pull and DKers Juggling (Tent City)

7 p.m.: Family fun contests


8 a.m.: Quoits tournament in the park

10 a.m.: Cornhole tournament in the park

11 a.m.: Baby parade registration

1 p.m.: Baby parade

Additional information on the fair can be found at ephratafair.org. More EPHRATA FAIR, page A18

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