Stunt-bike show to replace pig chase

By on September 7, 2016

Touring group will bring anti-drug, anti-bullying message to Tuesday night fair crowd

Ephrata Fair organizers filled the open pig chase slot Sept. 20 at Tent City with Dialed Action Sports Team, a BMX stunt show which also incorporates an anti-drug and anti-bullying message. The canceled pig chase would have marked its 40th anniversary at the 2016 Ephrata Fair.

Ephrata Fair organizers filled the open pig chase slot Sept. 20 at Tent City with Dialed Action Sports Team, a BMX stunt show which also incorporates an anti-drug and anti-bullying message. The canceled pig chase would have marked its 40th anniversary at the 2016 Ephrata Fair.

Officials have replaced the scratched rooster and pig chases with a high-flying proxy at the 2016 Ephrata Fair.

The Ephrata Farmers Day Association board announced Tuesday it filled the open Sept. 20 slot at Tent City with Dialed Action Sports Team, a BMX stunt show which also incorporates an anti-drug and anti-bullying message.

Described as “action-packed” and “thrill-seeking,” the BMX group takes the stage in place of the extremely popular pig chase which would have held its 40th annual event at this month’s Ephrata Fair.

Organizers say safety concerns and protests by animal-activists fueled the decision to cancel the pig chase. That decision has not been popular with many Ephrata residents.

“The show was chosen as a new activity with excitement and great messages on anti-bullying and anti-drug,” said Sue Pfautz, who oversees the park activities.

Several social media posts responded to the choice to replace the pig chase Tuesday night. Rob Mackey questioned the relation of BMX and the usually farm-themed event at Tent City.

“Isn’t it the Farmers Day Association?” he asked. “All that is fine and dandy but what does it have to do with farming?”

Keena Alfinito said the BMX show was a good alternative.

“They’re really good and entertaining,” she noted. Give it a chance people. It’s a lot of fun and excitement for all ages. Change happens. It’s part of life. I think this is a great idea. The entire fair is not about agriculture.”

Still, another resident poked at the anti-bullying messages that accompanies the bike stunts.

“Funny,” she wrote. “Ephrata Fair Committee was bullied out of having the pig chase.”

Ephrata Fair attorney Richard Young announced last week: “Sadly, after 39 years, the Board of Directors of the Ephrata Farmers Day Association, has decided to suspend the annual Pig and Rooster Chase at Tent City,”

The news brought both joyful and blistering responses from residents and non-residents, whom many locals blame for ending a local tradition which spanned three generations of competitors.

On the Ephrata Review Facebook page, Michele Newswanger called out non-Ephrata residents who can’t appreciate how the event unites the community and gives kids a thrill.

“But for real, it stinks that a few people can change a 39-year tradition and most are not even from Ephrata,” she said. “So making a few people happy has now broken the hearts of children who look forward to this family fun event each year. This event brought the community together.”

It all started by a scene which marred last year’s pig chase event. Several angry spectators verbally scolded protester Kelly Lehman, who had jumped the fence to enter the chase area during the final 16-and-over event.

Carol Ann Sirchio on Facebook last week praised Lehman for her diligence in facilitating the end of the pig chase this year.

“Not a few, hundreds of us, thousands. Even PETA, and one brave, compassionate girl who started this movement of kindness to animals,” she wrote. “As she said, compassion has no zip code.”

The Ephrata Farmers Day Association board initially voted to cancel the adult pig chase, which had drawn the most criticism from protest groups. The decision to cancel this year’s event came only days after protest groups launched efforts to target fair sponsors and a group of about 15 people demonstrated Aug. 13 and posted online photos with protest signs in front of Ephrata National Bank, one of the fair’s main sponsors.

Pig chase comments have continued for a week on social media, the Ephrata Review website, letters to the editor and telephone calls to the newsroom.

Louise Laukhuff, formerly an Ephrata resident who lived on 1800 block of West Main Street, felt compelled to call the Ephrata Review from Richmond Va. Tuesday afternoon.

“All I can say is yeah!” she said. “I’ve been waiting 20 years for that pig chase to be canceled. Animals sometime have more sense than people.”

As the replacement entertainment, “Team Dialed offers some of the best BMX riders, rollerbladers, skateboarders and free-style motocross riders who will perform some of the biggest tricks in their sport,” according to a press release sent Tuesday by Ephrata Farmers Day Association.

Many of their riders have competed in the Dew Tour, X-games and various other contests around the world.

Dialed Action Sports Team, which has seven years of experience entertaining with its stunts, will perform two shows at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20. For more information, please visit their website at www.dialedactionsportsteam.com.

Also on Sept. 20, there will be draft horses and miniature horses on exhibit with 4-H members available to educate and answer questions.

Throughout the week at Tent City, there will be hatching chicks in the new poultry exhibit tent. Be sure to visit to catch a glimpse of a hatching chick! Also, Barnyard Academy, a petting zoo, lots of farm animals, a free concert by Easily Amused, delicious food and more will also be available throughout the week. Check the schedule in the fair book for dates and times or visit the Ephrata Fair website at www.ephratafair.org.

Ephrata Farmers Day Association noted it encourages the public to continue to visit Tent City and “support the agricultural background of Ephrata.”

Limited parking is available at Tent City and for fair-goers who may go to the up-town portion of the Ephrata Fair first, free transportation is provided between the midway and Tent City on Tuesday from 4-10 p.m.. Bus stops are located at the corner of Arch and West Main and at Vine and King streets

Patrick Burns is social media editor and staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *