Here we go!Ephrata hopes for ‘fair’ weather as 93rd grand event begins

By on September 21, 2011

By: ANGELA CABEZAS Review Staff, Staff Writer

Smiles were all around, even if only one was directed at the camera, when Denver's Josh Zimmerman won his heat Tuesday during the greased pig chase on the opening night of the Ephrata Fair in Tent City. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)Smiles were all around, even if only one was directed at the camera, when Denver's Josh Zimmerman won his heat Tuesday during the greased pig chase on the opening night of the Ephrata Fair in Tent City. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

With an eye on the sky and the forecast for the week, the 93rd Ephrata Fair got underway Tuesday under threatening clouds.

But that didn’t deter hundreds from making their way onto the midway for the first taste of fair food, the first game of skee ball, or the first look at the many contest exhibits.

"It’s not going to rain," joked Merv Esh, Ephrata Farmers Day Association board director and former president. "But if it does, I don’t anticipate it will keep people away. The biggest thing is if there’s severe weather. The past few years it was really hot, but this year, with the colder weather, there may only be showers."

"Unfortunately, it’s a very unsettled weather pattern setting up for the next four or five day," said meteorologist Eric Horst of Millersville University. "Scattered showers will develop late this afternoon or evening — it’ll be a close call for the parade — and continue off and on right into the weekend. It certainly won’t be raining all the time, but I do expect a few showers — and perhaps an isolated thunderstorm — each of the next five days," he warned.

"Temperatures will be mild through the period with highs in the 70s today and Thursday, and upper 60s to near 70 degrees Friday and Saturday. It’s NOT a washout…but still, it would be wise to have an umbrella or rain coat in hand, for the occasional passing showers."

Rain or no, a number of fun events are planned for fair week. Tuesday night was highlighted by the events in Tent City, including the pork chop dinner served at 5 p.m. and the greased pig and rooster chases starting at 7 p.m.

Agricultural demonstrations will take place at tent city from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, followed by the much-anticipated parade at 7 p.m. leaving from the high school and traveling the streets around the midway, passing the Lake Street judges’ stand on the way.

On Thursday, children will enjoy a day off of school to celebrate Kiddie Day from noon to 6 p.m. and enjoy reduced-price rides available on West Main Street, the Fair Office lot, and the Review lot.

Friday is Family Fun Night at Tent City in the Grater Park, and Saturday will feature a quoits tournament at 8 a.m. as well as the first-ever cornhole tournament at 9 a.m. Both tournaments will be held in Grater Park.

Exhibits will be open all week for people to admire the artwork, crafts, baked goods and other items on display. While the total number of exhibitions was down slightly this year according to Esh, many exhibitors who were disappointed by the cancellation of the Denver Fair took the opportunity to bring their entries to Ephrata.

Produce, wines, preserves and canned goods will be displayed in the Ephrata Fair office; 4-H projects and needlework in Borough Hall; artwork and models in the Review office; flowers, crafts, baked goods and photography in the Pioneer Fire Hall; and livestock, grains, and farm machinery in Tent City/Grater Park.

"As Denver didn’t operate, some of those exhibitors came here, and we’re glad to provide a place for them to show," Esh said. "All of Denver’s animal shows are being held concurrent with our own."

Another exciting element of this year’s fair is the number of new stands and merchandise. The 2012 Ephrata Fair calendar, featuring pictures from the largest street fair in the state, will be on sale at the Ephrata Fair Office for $10, as will commemorative crocks at a price of $25 and official Ephrata Fair tote bags/backpacks.

A silent auction will be held for the 2010 Quilt Block Contest quilt in fall colors, and the fair will accept bids through Sept. 24.

The Ephrata Farmers Day Association has also added several vendors, concession stands and other attractions to the section of Main Street at the end of the midway.

One of the most interesting of these additions is a three-room house carved out of the trunk of a 119-year-old redwood. "It’s a really unique thing," said Esh, "and it’s going to be here for this year only."

Another fair newcomer is "Hog Wild," a "motorcycle" kiddie ride.

More information and details about the 93rd Ephrata Fair can be found in the fair books in the Ephrata Fair office at 19 S. State St. and The Review office at 1 E. Main St. More FAIR, page A15

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