New admission policy boosts Franklin County Fair attendance

August 25, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Franklin County Fair 2011 Little Miss Victoria Hutchison, 10, St. Thomas, Pa., munched on a slice of watermelon preparing for a watermelon seed-spitting contest at Old Fashion County Fair Day on Thursday night.
By Roxann Miller, Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Attendance is up at the Franklin County Fair this week and Fair Board Chairman Robert Eckstine couldn't be happier.

On Thursday night, Eckstine said this year's $10 per carload admission has been a boon for fair attendance.

"Attendance has been real good. It's been a lot better than last year," Eckstine said.

But, even with the increased attendance he said fair officials are still hoping just to break even.

"The revenue is going to be less, because the $10 a car load is not going to get you as much revenue as what a charge per person will bring," said Eckstine.

But, ultimately he believes once more people visit the fair they will keep coming back year after year and increase revenues.

"You have to start somewhere," he said.

The fair continues through Saturday, but Eckstine said Friday's tractor pull at 7 p.m. would draw the biggest crowd of the week.

Classes will include 11,000-pound Pro Farm, 1,850-pound Mini Rods, 4,000-pound Small Block 4x4 Trucks, 8,000-pound Open, 8,500-pound Modified Turbo.

Admission on Friday is $10 for 13 years and older and $3 for ages 5 through 12. Five years old and younger is free.

The admission price returns to $10 a carload on Saturday.

Amanda Hutchison of St. Thomas, Pa., has been at the fair every day. Her oldest daughter Victoria, 10, is Franklin County Fair 2011 Little Miss and has "royal" duties to perform at the fair on a daily basis.

"Even though we have to be at the fair, I would still be here everyday. I like to be here — it's fun," said Hutchison. "It's nice for a family to come to. You don't worry about seeing inappropriate things, and it's age appropriate no matter how old you are there's always something you can do."

Even though Victoria already had a tiara from being crowned Little Miss, she was making herself a homemade one at Old Fashion County Fair Day on Thursday night.

"Some like shoes, some like purses. She likes crowns," Hutchison laughed about her daughter.

"I'm making another one. You can never have too many crowns," joked Victoria.

Hutchison, her daughter Victoria, daughter Carlea, 4, son Gage, 1, and family friend Kaden Peters, 7, were going to participate in the watermelon seed spitting contest at Old Fashion County Fair Day under one of the pavilions at the fair.

This is the third year for Old Fashion County Fair Day and Tom Bryson, fair board entertainment chairman, said the events are all about having fun.

"We felt that we needed something additional where children could make their own fun. It's good to be entertained, but it's good to be able to entertain yourself, too," said Bryson. "It's a time where kids can be together, and with their parents, to do some simple but really fun things."

Some of the events were a watermelon seed-spitting contest, eating a glazed donut off a string competition, an egg-toss contest, a three-legged race, crown making project and a water balloon throwing contest.

Ronnie Troskoski's watermelon seed spitting technique blew away the competition.

"I was practicing beforehand and I took the deepest breath as I could and just let it all out and went for it," said the Greencastle 18-year-old.

His best of three attempts sailed past the tablecloth and landed in the dirt. Several judges rummaged through the dirt searching for the tiny black seed. His seed spit measured a distance of 180 inches.

"I thought it would be fun (to enter the contest) because I don't usually do this type of stuff. I couldn't get on the rides so I thought I may as well have fun," Troskoski said.

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