Memories bring them back

By on October 1, 2014

If you grew up experiencing the Ephrata Fair, you developed a connection.
Picture a bungee chord or a boomerang. If you left the area, you felt it tug on you in September. You knew you’d come back, and last week you did.
That’s what happened to 73-year-old Wanda Elder, of Seattle, Washington. She saw more than just the fair as she crossed the country by Amtrak train. The destination was her cousin Nancy Vogel and the Ephrata Fair.
It also happened to 66-year-old Poncho and 71-year-old Sandy Cox of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Sandy grew up in Rothsville and had not been to the fair for 19 years. She saw it last Wednesday with her sister Mae Fischer of Cleona and Mae’s husband Fred
Former Shopping News photographer Joe O’Hara, who celebrated his 68th birthday Saturday at the fair, also came back this year.
“My wife Esther and I developed the photography contest and ran it for 25 years in the basement of the former J.J. Newberry building,” (Now the Ephrata Review),” O’Hara said. “We had to get permission from Mayor Lloyd Gerhart. It’s still my favorite stop at the Fair.”
The Cox’s fair list was topped by the parade experience. Poncho’s daughter competed for a majorette group in Virginia.
“I took her all over the state because she was one of the few that twirled fire,” he said. “This parade in Ephrata is the biggest one I’ve ever seen.”
Vogel also had a soft spot for the parade.
“I played clarinet for the Ephrata band.”
She and her cousin had a firm schedule for Friday afternoon.
“We’re getting French Fries and then we’re going to see the animals,” Cox said.
The memories that pull them back the strongest were developed years ago. O’Hara’s voice carried a new spark as he remembered the Miss Lancaster County Pageant, once held during the fair.
“I even had the opportunity to meet Ephrata’s Evelyn Ay, the former Miss America,” he said.
Sandy Cox recalled coming as a child.
“The Tilt-a-Whirl was the favorite when we were kids,” Cox said.
“Now it’s more about the food, says Mae Fischer. “Steak sandwiches and fries.”
“Sammy’s Steaks,” added husband Fred, quickly.
It was quite a chat on both Wednesday and Friday afternoons, knowing that they will be heading back to points south and west. But, they’ll be back, because the tug of the Fair is too strong.



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