Franklin County Fair offers family fun close to home

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Lots of youngsters like these at a previous fair are busy preparing for the 2009 version of the Franklin County event.

Affordable family fun close to home is on tap for visitors to the Franklin County Fair being held Aug. 16 through Aug. 22. This year’s full schedule of activities for the 102-year-old county fair brings back many of the most popular attractions but includes a dozen new events for 2009. Fair books are now available and complete details and all entry forms can be found at www.franklincountyfair.org

Entry deadline is Aug. 1, 2009.

There is no charge for parking and special $3 admission nights have been included in this year’s schedule: Tuesday evening for those with a military ID and Thursday for high school students with ID.  Saturday evening is half price for senior citizens born before Aug. 15, 1950.

“One of the things that makes a county fair stand out from all other events is that it isn’t something you observe; it’s something you get involved in,” said Robert Eckstine, fair board president.  “The Franklin County Fair has lived to celebrate more than a century because people get immersed in it.   Whether they are exhibiting livestock or home-grown produce or supporting their friends and neighbors while they put their skills and talents to the test on the stage and in the arena, people come here because they want to be part of something.”

From a chili cook-off to square dancing instruction, new events this year give fair-goers lots of opportunities to be part of the fun. One addition is Old Fashioned County Fair night set for Thursday, Aug. 20. Visitors will have a chance to make their own entertainment by joining in on old time contests such as watermelon seed spitting, egg toss and wheelbarrow races.  There will also be balloon animals, face painting and craft activities for the kids. Ben Franklin will be making a special appearance sponsored by the Franklin County Visitors Bureau.

Photographers young and old are encouraged to bring their cameras and compete for prizes during a new week-long photo contest designed to capture the special moments of this year’s fair.  Photos taken during the 2009 fair week will be exhibited as they are submitted and winners will be announced Saturday evening, Aug. 22. Awards will be given in three age categories for photos that best capture images that promote the theme:  Fun at the Fair. All visitors will be asked to help select the People’s Choice Award.  This event is sponsored by Photo Gem of Greencastle and the People’s Choice winner will receive a Canon A-series digital camera. All winners will have the chance to have their work showcased on the fair website and considered for the 2010 fair book.

“For less money than it takes to see a two-hour movie, visitors to the Franklin County Fair can enjoy an entire evening at the fair in a safe and family-friendly environment,” Eckstine added.  “One admission price includes all the entertainment on the stage and the arena, including the tractor pull, demolition derby and gospel concert — and it’s all close to home.”

The fairgrounds is located in the heart of Franklin County at the Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club grounds, eight miles south of Chambersburg on Route 995. The mapping address is 3725 Warm Spring Road, Chambersburg, PA, 17202.