LAURELTON – The theme for the Union County West End Fair is “Making Memories One Fair at a Time.” This fair might end up being most memorable for taking place at all.
The 95th Union County West End Fair opens Sunday with a car and truck show, exhibit entries, a garden tractor pull and a vespers service. The fair continues through the week, with rides, tractor pulls, kids’ activities and other events ending Aug. 8.
Like other fair associations dealing with pandemic restrictions, West End Fair members weighed the merits of canceling or continuing with the event and decided to move forward, with adjustments for safety.
“I just want people to have the choice if they want to come to the fair or not,” said Dennis Boop, fair association president. Acknowledging that it’s difficult to know how many people will show up, he added, “That’s the people’s choice. If only one hundred people come, I made a hundred people happy.”
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) guidelines for amusement parks, association members made the decision to cancel the daily scheduled acts because most were coming from out of state and would have had to obey 14-day quarantine restrictions.
“So we switched all to local acts this year,” Boop said.
Sunday’s event starts at 6 p.m. with the Vesper Service led by Pastor Jason Mitchell and entertainment by Mercy Run, a country/gospel group. From there, the entertainment lineup is:
The Union County West End Fair Pageant will take place on the main stage at 3 p.m. Sunday.
The smaller musical groups should allow for more social distancing while enjoying the shows, said Ralph Moyer, association member. The association also built plastic shields for ticket booths, is allowing for more space between vendors and is offering hand sanitizer at numerous locations.
“A lot of us will be wearing masks, and we’re recommending them,” he said. “We’re hoping to keep it as safe as we can.”
Baked goods competitions will not be allowed this year. Ride operators will be responsible for sanitizing their rides, and all vendors are responsible for their own sanitizing procedures.
“The Commercial Building will be closed,” Boop said. “We’re moving everybody out to the boardwalk so they can be out in the fresh air.”
Tractor and truck pulls, always a crowd-pleaser, will take place every day, starting Sunday with the garden tractor pulls followed by kiddie pulls on Monday, 4-wheel-drive truck pulls on Tuesday, light farm stock PACE pulls on Wednesday, light farm stock NO PACE tractor pulls and Interstate Sanctioned Mini Rod Pulls on Thursday, Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League and East Coast Sanctioned Truck & Tractor Pulls on Friday and Farm Stock PACE Tractor Pulls at 10 a.m. Saturday and Interstate Sanctioned Tractor Pulls and Farm Tractor at 7 p.m.
Boop encourages people to bring their own chairs for the tractor pulls and musical shows and space out as needed.
“Be respectful to your neighbors or friends when you are at the fair,” he said. “Whether at the tractor pulls, the entertainment or walking on the fairgrounds.”
Fairgoers can enjoy the usual agricultural displays of animals and produce, including an open livestock show, a youth show and a youth sale. Boardwalk, midway and rides open daily at 5 p.m.
Fair officials will spray disinfectant on high-touch areas every morning — more often, if needed, Boop said.
“It’s a small, community fair, and it’s an agricultural fair,” he said. “We try to (run it) for the community because that’s what the community wants.”
People are looking for things to do and places to go right now, Moyer said, and the fair offers a good option.
“It’s going to be outside, which is the safest place to be these days,” he said. “It has good food, and you get to see good shows.”
Cindy O. Herman lives in Snyder County. Email comments to her at CindyOHerman@gmail.com.