It's time to finalize your Franklin County Fair entries

SHAWN HARDY, The Record Herald shardy@therecordherald.com
Kinzee Hudson Greencastle showed her Holstein calf Angel at last year's fair.

WILLIAMSON — The Franklin County Fair is still a month away, but the entry deadline is Saturday, June 18.

The fair will be held Sunday, July 10, to Saturday, July 16, at the Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club on Williamson Road.

Belt-tightening

The theme of the fair is "Good Things Are Growing," but expenses this year were cut 15 percent across the board because of last year's state budget impasse — reimbursement still hasn't been received for the 2015 fair — and uncertainty about what's in store for 2016-17, according to Robert Eckstine, fair president.

Most of the cuts to pare the budget from $72,000 to $60,000 were behind-the-scenes, such as repairs to buildings and radio ads.

In addition, monetary prizes may or may not be given for winning adult entries.

"If no funds are allocated in the new budget to pay premiums, all entry fees paid by adults will be reimbursed," reads a notice in the fair booklet, which is available at a number of locations across the county. "If funds are put in the new budget to support fairs, all premium monies will be paid."

Eckstine noted the Franklin County Fair is unique because it does not own the property, only the buildings.

Other fairgrounds can be rented out for concerts and other special events to make money, but Eckstine says, "We have one shot, one week. It has to happen that week."

At the fair

And a lot does happen during that one week.

The gates open Sunday for a horse show at 10:30 a.m. and the annual vespers service begins at 6:30 p.m.

The Franklin County Fair Queen, Princess and Little Misses will be crowned Monday evening.

The week is jammed with animal competitions and exhibits, from dairy cattle to rabbits and from goats to poultry.

In the clubhouse, fairgoers will find entries including food (preserved and fresh), flowers, needlework and arts and crafts. Winners of some youth and adult baking contests are eligible to test their skills at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

On stage and in the arena are karaoke contests, an appearance by The Fabulous Hubcaps, a talent show, a skid loader derby, a tractor pull, pro wrestling and the Barnyard Olympics.

A new company will supply rides beginning Monday night, when rides are $1 each. Other nights, fair-goers can buy an armband and ride all night for $15.

It wouldn't be a visit to Franklin County Fair without something good to eat. A number of local organizations have their own specialities which they sell at the fair, including country fried ham sandwiches and ham and bean soup, barbecued chicken and homemade ice cream.

Back in time

A book about the history of the Franklin County Fair and its predecessors is in the works and people are asked are being asked to share their favorite fair photos.

John Z. Shearer, former Penn State Extension agent who help organize the fair in the 1960s, Gerald W. Reichard, former fair president and retired Waynesboro Area School District vo-ag teacher, and Chrystal J. Reichard, with assistance from Rev. Lee E. Daywalt of Preserving Our Heritage Archives and Museum in South Mountain, are working on "A History of the Agricultural Fairs and Expositions That Have Been Held in Franklin County, PA, since 1853."

"People, including myself, are interested in the history of the fair,"Eckstine said, encouraging people to share photos and stories. "Things have scattered, but John Shearer and Gerald Reichard got together last year to gather information."

Photos can be mailed to Eckstine at 2723 Welsh Run Road, Mercersburg, Pa. 17236 or dropped office at the fair office during fair week. A form can be found in the fair booklet and at the fair website.

The book is can be ordered with an early bird special price through the final day of the fair. It will be available in the fall.

More information about the Franklin County Fair can be found www.franklincountyfair.org and the fair is also on Facebook.