WESTOVER — It’s almost time to put out the welcome mat for another Harmony Grange Fair. The annual celebration of agriculture and the community coupled with food and fun has been drawing crowds for more than 65 years.
The Harmony Grange Fair opens Tuesday, Sept. 17, and concludes on Saturday, Sept. 21. The grange and fairgrounds are located at 5386 Ridge Road, Westover.
The annual fair is sponsored by Harmony Grange No. 1201 of Westover. Manager Shae Harkleroad said, for many that plan, carry out or attend the fair, it is more than an event – it’s a homecoming.
“I say this every year but this fair could not exist without the generosity of people who give their time and talents to make this fair what it is. There are a lot of little neat things that happen here and it’s the community and everyone working together to put on an event that happens one week out of the year. We are very pleased to be able to offer a good event here and it is because of our volunteers and our visitors that we can.”
The theme for the 2019 fair is “Our Fair Makes Memories.” Harkleroad said in regards to the Harmony Grange Fair there could not be a truer statement. He said the majority of the fair board are second or third generations of families that started the fair as an indoor agriculture exhibit in 1953. Families that gathered and shared their recollections of former fairs and hopes for years to come.
Since its beginnings the fair has grown and added new activities but has never lost sight of its main purpose – to involve the community.
Harkleroad said one of the ways the fair is doing that is through social media. In addition to a Facebook page that it utilizes for announcements, giveaways and live feeds from many of the fair’s exhibits and activities, it also broadcasts using resources such as Instagram and Snapchat.
One of those who assists with the social media is Curtis Chambers who with his wife Chelsey document all the happenings during the five days of the fair. “We are using this to bring a new audience. People around here know the fair and love it but we want everyone to know just how great it is,” Chambers said.
Harkleroad reported the board and volunteers have spent the weeks leading up to the fair improving infrastructure on the grounds. He said this year, electricity and water supplies were upgraded for vendors stationed at the midway.
A section of the animal barn roof was blown off during a winter’s storm and it had to be replaced. Also upgraded was a walk-in cooler utilized by the grange and volunteers to store many of the foodstuffs needed to cook foods offered during the grange’s nightly dinners and at its food stands.
Another big advance for the grange is that it has completed the sale process to acquire the land where the fair’s track is located. Harkleroad said a ribbon cutting is planned for Tuesday as part of the opening ceremony to officially celebrate and a second ribbon cutting will be held prior to the annual truck pull on Friday, Sept. 20. Harkleroad said after many years of waiting, the purchase of land from the Harmony Area School District was finalized earlier this year.
He said the transaction took longer to complete than anticipated because of some wording on some of the legal documents that had to be corrected prior to completion of the purchase.
He expressed thanks to the grange’s attorney Timothy Durant of Clearfield and the district’s solicitor David Consiglio the difficulties were worked through. “We would like to thank the patrons to the fair that made it possible for the grange to save and build funds for the land acquisition.
Harkleroad said he is hoping for good weather during the fair and based on this summer’s weather believes he will see full display stands in the fruit, vegetable and floral exhibits.