Huge crowds pack opening night of 97th Ephrata Fair, 50th Tent City

By on September 23, 2015




In a week20150922_092357 20150922_092422 20150922_092514 where “fair weather” fans are very welcome, a rainy late Monday night gave way to a beautiful Tuesday and set the scene for a big opening night for the 97th edition of The Ephrata Fair and the 50th anniversary of Tent City.

The midway was full by 5 p.m. and the crowds in Tent City had swelled by that point as well, awaiting the famous pork chop dinner and ever-popular greased pig chase in Grater Park.

Fair organizers can expect more of the same weather they were blessed with Tuesday according to the Millersville University Weather Information Center. In fact tonight’s gala parade should have an ideal setting with MUWIC calling for mostly sunny and warm with a high of 78. But parade-goers love taking a blanket to snuggle and they should be able to with lows Wednesday night dipping down into the low ‘50s. Kiddies’ Day on Thursday, with the Ephrata students off school, also looks almost picture-perfect with sunny skies forecast and highs 76-80. Friday they are calling for a mix of clouds and sun and highs 70-74 with the first call for some possible showers coming that night into Saturday, but evidently more of the isolated variety.

After just a few slight glitches with set-up Monday night, the rain did indeed hold off long enough to get all vendors and rides in place for the big week which runs through Saturday night, Sept. 26.

Tuesday business was brisk downtown and at the opening night of the historic year for Tent City. The Young Farmers pork chop dinner filled many bellies while there were a host of activities for young and old alike leading up to the highlight event of the evening — the greased pig chase. With no rooster chase this year due to the Avian Flu, the chase took center stage on the old softball field of Grater Park.

The Ephrata Fair Pig Chase as usual drew a packed crowd and throngs of contestants. While a group of animal rights activists on Facebook threatened an organized protest, a single female managed to temporarily disrupt the event by rushing inside the chase area toward the end of Tuesday night’s competition. She was escorted off by Ephrata Police.

Police reported the arrest of Kelly A. Lehman, 29, of Lancaster for disorderly conduct.

Lehman’s picture is posted on a Facebook page as “Kahdashia Adams, of Reading.” The page urged people to protest the Ephrata Fair Pig Chase and its sponsors.

Police said officers met with Lehman at the start of the event and cautioned her not to interfere with or disrupt the event. Prior to the end of the event Lehman jumped the fence and entered the pig chase area disrupting the event.

Lehman was arrested and removed, charges will be filed, police said.

The schedule for the remainder of the week includes:

  • Wednesday will feature Senior Citizens Day from 10-2 and of course is highlighted by the massive parade which steps off from Ephrata High School at 7 p.m., and makes its way around town before ending near South State and Queen streets.
  • Thursday is the ever-popular Kiddies’ Day from noon to 6 downtown, but there is also plenty going on at Tent City, including the livestock sale at 6 and tug-of-war at 8.
  • Friday is another big time in Tent City with a candy scramble, antique tractor pull and family fun contests.
  • As things start to wind down Saturday, the baby parade takes center stage downtown at 1 p.m., followed by one last big day with families enjoying all the rides, games and food on the midway.

There is also live entertainment at the Whistlestop Plaza each night, generally starting at 7 or 8 p.m.

For more information and details on all the action, as well as much more information on contest entries and schedules, pick up a copy of this year’s fair guide around town, go on the website ( or call 733-4451.

See you at the fair!¶


Photos by Preston Whitcraft

By 5 p.m. Tuesday, huge crowds had already formed all over Tent City.


No it’s night Friday night at the football game, it’s Tuesday night at the greased pig chase and hundreds and hundreds packed into the bleachers to watch the action.


The protestor who appeared just before the final race is approached by an Ephrata police officer.


Sneakers the Clown tries to convince this young Tent City visitor that the secret to the magic trick is just getting a bigger wand.


The youth pig chase contestants seem more than ready to start as the huge crowd forms in the stands to watch the action.


Ephrata’s Hannah Zimmerman wins her age group.


The kids chase is on!

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