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Man on the street
Life on Main Street is back to business as usual after bidding farewell to the 94th annual Ephrata Fair festivities. With the news that came out in last week’s paper, there is no doubt many taste buds will miss Sweigart’s Cheesesteaks, which now joins the ranks of retired fair foods and attractions. With this in mine, The Review moseyed down the Midway Friday afternoon to reminisce with fairgoers, asking about what fair favorites they’d bring back if they could or what they’d miss in addition to Sweigart’s if a fair favorite was gone.
The Review caught up with Norm, a Lezzer Lumber retiree, as he relaxed with friends at a picnic table on the sidewalk adjacent to the Lions’ toasted cheeseburger stand.
When questioned about what he misses most from fairs gone by, "The Orange Julius Stand" was his response. "You waited in line," he said, but admitted that "it went faster" than the line at the toasted cheeseburger stand.
"Now that I’m retired I can come here during the day," he said.
Dave, Jen and Jax Dougher of Camp Hill
Parked on a bench along West Main Street sat a young couple with a handsome little guy named Jax, their 6-month-old son. The pair hails from Camp Hill but has enjoyed the Ephrata Fair for the past several years.
"It’s a little dead now," said Dave, referring to the late afternoon calm before the evening storm. Because much of the fair has remained the same since he and his wife started coming, he revealed what he’d miss most if it was gone: the chocolate sandwiches. "You gotta get the club," he said, "get the peanut butter on there."
The two had a scare last fall when they thought the treat had been retired.
"Last year we looked everywhere for them and we finally found them," said Jen, relieved.
Lew and Suzie Bachman of Schaefferstown (farmers)
An Ephrata native, Suzie has the fair in her blood. She probably starred in a baby parade or two, but her memories begin at age 5 when she marched in the parade as a baton-toting mascot for her neighbor’s band.
"She must have been a nice-looking baby," doted her husband, Lew. "She still is," he said smoothly, reaching his hand toward his wife for a high-five. What a sweet talker.
"I liked the cars," said Suzie, referring to the long-time tradition of raffling off cars at midnight, when asked about fairs past. "I guess they stopped that in the 60s. My uncle had won a Studebaker, so you knew that was a long time ago," she joked. "I also liked the double ferris wheels."
Lew and Suzie own a farm in Schaefferstown, but they return to Suzie’s roots for the fair every year.
"One thing you can always say about farmers," said Lew, "they’re outstanding in their field."
Mary Ann Eisemann of Ephrata and Donna Wise of Denver
Mary Ann shared memories of the parade traveling right down Main Street, squeezed between vendors on either side that remained open during the event. Imagine how crowded it must have been!
Like Suzie, Mary Ann remembered a big ferris wheel, a favorite fixture of the fair spinning in the center of all the excitement.
Hidden from the camera is a jar of peppermints she’d won by guessing the number of wrapped mints tucked inside. More STREET, page A19