Summer. School’s out. Cumberland County families can be found enjoying local fairs and festivals every weekend in the beautiful July and August weather. Agriculture fairs have been a tradition in the United States for over 200 years. The Cumberland Ag Expo in Newville has been entertaining and educating fair goers for over 100 years. Did you know that it is the continuation of the Carlisle Fair from the 1980’s? Everyone has a favorite part of the fair. For me, it is really more of an experience - the smell of the food stands, the taste of funnel cake and French fries. Homemade ice cream –Leo’s Homemade, to be specific – and some burgers and sausage from the local butcher shop, grilled to perfection, leave me planning a return visit later in the week.
As a youth involved with Future Farmers of America – FFA for short, I was fortunate, because we had to go to the fair daily to look after the project animals we would show. Today, although not as many kids grow up on a farm, and consequently not as many animals at a fair, FFA and 4-H youth still raise project animals and put significant time into club projects. They enjoy taking these projects to the fair to earn ribbons and rosettes and some premium monies as a reward for their efforts. Contest winners wear titles like Miss Cumberland Ag Expo, crowned Tuesday, or Little Miss, chosen Friday, as ambassadors to the community to remind us all of the American fair tradition.
Entertainment varies from local favorites to young talent to Nashville artists on the rise. Last year’s crowd favorite, the PA Alley Cats play Wednesday evening. Lee Anna McGuire of Nashville graces the stage Thursday night. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy these up close and personal shows. And tractor pulls, on Saturday afternoon and evening are where the tractors go for fun, when they are not working hard putting food on YOUR table. We honor veterans on Saturday with the SFC Randall ShughartMemorial 5 Mile Run, and multiple shows from the PA Air National Guard Band, including an evening performance by the “High Altitude” rock ensemble. Our friends and neighbors are some of the most talented quilters, artists, photographers, gardeners, and bakers I know. I enjoy the fruits of their labors at the orchard stands and farmers markets around the county and am proud to see the prize winners at your county agricultural fair, while enjoying a night out with the family. And I love watching the excitement on our children’s faces when they wear the crown, or win the race, or merit the blue ribbon with their drawings, cookies, or something they grew from a seed in their garden. Here’s to another great summer!
-Scott Lemmon, President, New Carlisle Fair Association