Sometimes smaller is better. Sometimes it’s more intimate. Less complicated. and well, just more friendly.

The Northumberland County Fair, dubbed the “Biggest Little fair in Pennsylvania,” will take place Wednesday through Saturday at the fairgrounds at 522 Seven Points Road. outside of Sunbury.

“This year, we have many new musical acts,” said Mary Anne Troutman, fair board member. “We like to feature local talent on both our main stage and our pavilion stage. and as always, our exhibits are new each year. Come by to see who and what won prizes and what talented people we have entering our competitions.”

People return year after year to see and participate in the fair’s nightly competitions, Troutman said. Wednesday evening the Mid Penn Tractor Pullers will return for the sixth year for Garden Tractor Pulls. This event is open to all, with prize money for the top five in each class.

“One of the highlights for me for the week is Thursday evening when we have our Mutton Bustin’ event,” she said. “We invited kids from ages three years to 70 pounds to sign up and ride a sheep. This event is open to the public and we invite everyone to come cheer on your favorite kid (or sheep) during this event that has become a fan favorite. This is for bragging rights (and fun) and is free to enter.”

Friday evening offers the annual Pet Parade and the Farmer Triathlon, which consists of pedal tractor pulls, bale throwing and bale stacking. Both events are open to the public free of charge. Saturday morning the fair opens at 9 a.m. for a full day of animal judging events, a horse show that includes riding demonstrations and competitions, more Farmer Triathlon and many musical acts. The fair will end with a fireworks display.

Jane Rebuck, secretary of the fair board, said she enjoys seeing animals, from a newborn litter of piglets and bunnies to brushed-clean cows, horses and goats, as well as the local exhibits of produce and crafts.

“I do like to see all the exhibits, the handiwork and the fruits and vegetables that are grown,” she said.

Last year’s fair was canceled due to COVID restrictions.

“One of the toughest decisions for us, as a fair board, was making that call last year to cancel the fair,” Troutman said. “Believe me when I say, we went to the last minute to actually make that call.”

Fair board members are thrilled to be able to bring the fair back this year, she said, noting the amount of work and time that goes into producing the event each year.

“When we were able to have our first meeting for this fair, we made the decision to go ahead with planning this year’s fair, not knowing what the situation would be like in August,” she said. “We are tickled to be two weeks away, and we’re busy putting the finishing touches on what is shaping up to be our best year yet.”

“It’s amazing to see what is shown and done here in our local area,” Rebuck said. “People don’t realize what we can grow and do in this area.”

Until six years ago, Troutman didn’t even know Northumberland County had a fair.

“But, the first time I was there, I was hooked,” she said. “This fair is different than other fairs, as we are a small fair. We like to think of ourselves as the Biggest Little fair in Pennsylvania.”

She pointed out that, because of generous sponsors and a dedicated group of volunteers, the fair is able to offer free admission, parking and nightly entertainment.

“Looking for your kids to be able to pet a goat? We’re your fair,” she said. “Looking to sample some of the finest baking in Northumberland County? We’re your fair. Wanting to listen to some wonderful local artists? We’re your fair. Looking for some of the best eats around? We’re your fair! You will be surprised what you will find and who you will see by coming to the Northumberland County Fair.”

Cindy O. Herman lives in Snyder County. Email comments to her at CindyOHerman@gmail.com

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