Franklin County Fair set in motion

August 18, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The Scrambler, the Ferris wheel and the miniature cars remained motionless on Sunday afternoon at the Franklin County Fair. Fresh straw stayed fluffed in the livestock areas without cows to trample it.

Yet, signs of life began to present themselves as the fair's first of seven days kicked off.

Money changed hands as the first Italian ice treats and sandwiches were sold. Judges' instructions from the youth horse show echoed from the arena while fair queen, princess and little miss contestants practiced for tonight's competition on the main stage.

Reigning 2007 Franklin County Fair Queen Katy Mitchell and her alternate, Joy Kiefer, assisted in the rehearsals for this year's four queen contestants.

"The first day of this fair is the last day, as far as our court," Mitchell said.

Most of the advice from Mitchell and Kiefer concerned the public-speaking portions of the competition.

"Enjoy the speech and have fun with the audience," said Kiefer, 18, of Fayetteville, Pa.


Mitchell, 18, of Fort Loudon, Pa., took the emphasis on fun with her to January's state competition, in which she won top honors.

"It was a great competition, and I would've had a wonderful time, even if I didn't win," Mitchell said.

Katelyn Carey, 12, of Chambersburg, has been gearing up for a different type of competition. She has spent months clipping and washing her Holstein, Angelica, for the 4-H events that she's competed in for three years.

"I've been getting first in showmanship," Katelyn said, explaining that the showmanship classes judge how well the handler works with the cow.

Fair official Gerald Reichard, of Waynesboro, Pa., watched for years as his children participated in events like Katelyn's.

"My kids were all raised here during fair week. It's a small-town, rural setting, and everybody watched out for everyone else's kids," Reichard said. "I have a lot of good memories."

New for 2008 is the Battle of the Bands competition scheduled for Saturday.

"It's a new venture for us, but past battles of the bands in other areas have been real crowd pleasers," Reichard said.

If you go ...

What: Franklin County (Pa.) Fair

When: Through Saturday

Tonight: 7:30 p.m. horse pull, 8:30 p.m. fair queen contest

Where: Fairgrounds off Pa. 995 (Warm Spring Road), eight miles south of Chambersburg, Pa.

He said the county's first fairs were held in the 1850s, although the tradition ended and was revived several times. The fair format used today originated after World War II.

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