The Washington Times - September 7, 2008, 04:27PM

by Jacquie Kubin, editor and writer, Donne Tempo Magazine

York, Pennsylvania (September 7, 2008)…The sounds, the lights, the flapping flags and those wonderful smells – it is time for the York County Fair!


Located just over the Maryland/Pennsylvania border, a little more than an hour outside the Washington Beltway, The York County Fair, September 5-14th) reigns as the longest running county fair in the nation.Which makes it the original county fair of our great nation.

First held in 1765, the early fairs were two-day agricultural markets designed for farmers and their families to take a break after the summer growing season for a bit of socializing and, well, marketing.

The York County Fair (Photo by Jacquie Kubin)

That rural family gathering has grown over the last 243 years and today the fair includes acres of midway rides, carnival games, fair-food, 4-H members and contest entries by those that grow, sew, can, knit and raise livestock.

It is a lot of fun.

Walk beyond the zipper lights, midway rides, carnival games and food vendors and marvel at what is nothing less than a celebration of rural life.  Here things that grow big are judged for shape, size, color and weight.

Cows, cakes, corn and carrots – are just a few of the things to see and marvel at.  For the “city folk” it is a reminder of where the grocery store shops.

First Place!

Patricia Watson, York, displays a winning entry (Photos by Jacquie Kubin)

Here and there a yellow, red or blue ribbon hangs from a quilt or a painted object d’ art, such as an old wooden ironing board painted in the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish style with a large pineapple – referencing the Pineapple Hex – or symbol – for welcome and hospitality.

A quilt adorned with a snowman’s winter wonderland takes Best of Show while Mrs. Patricia Watson of York takes delight in showing a pair of socks, knitted with a sparkling array of beads on the ankles.

“I have been coming to the fair for a very long time,” said Mrs. Watson, a fair volunteer. “It has always been great fun and I enjoy seeing the needle work and the judging.  The antiques, animals and canned goods.  It is always great fun.”

There are plenty of animals, including some of the biggest milk cows I have ever seen.  Holsteins I believe.

Dairy goats judging (Photo by Jacquie Kubin)
In the agricultural barn we saw dairy goats being judged and other than being prized for large mammary glands and teats, they are held to many of the same traits as a pedigreed dog.   The goats are judged on their appearance, showmanship, physical characteristics and the herdsman – the individual that is showing the animal and their appearance, ability and care of the animals.

This is where 4-H comes in.  These young people, from a very early age, learn how to care for their animals, hopefully raising one that will work with them to win best of show. 

This is a true test of the symbiotic relationship between man, or child, and beast.

Ashley of Lost & Found Horse Rescue (Photo by Jacquie Kubin)
Another interesting animal exhibit were the rescued horses including the white Appaloosa, Ashley, who was rescued by “Lost & Found Horse Rescue”. 

The group was there, right next to the pony rides, hoping to raise awareness of the need for people to stand up for horses and demand their humane treatment.

Like many of the horses rescued by Lost & Found, Ashley was bound for slaughter at the dog food factories, and if you were to meet her, you would realize what an awful thing that really is. 

She is a sweet young horse with a remarkable personality. 

Braelen K., York, enjoys a pony ride (Photo by Jacquie Kubin)

Braelen K. of York was at the pony rides, a county fair draw for the eleven year old whose parents sat and watched as she and her brother walked atop their mounts beneath the shade of a tree. 

“I come to the fair for the horses,” said Braelen. “And the food.  The funnel cakes!”

Just down the way from Braelen and Ashley, sits Lori Kollar from Clydesdale Ridge, a Clydesdale sanctuary located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.  The Clydesdale horses are the big, one-ton draft horses made popular by the Anheuser-Bush Company.

Clydesdale Ridge runs a “six-hitch” team, meaning six Clydesdale horses that are harnessed together in gleaming black and silver halters to pull a smart red wagon.  The team is prized for their ability to work together as well as their equine beauty.

The star of this tent is Ultra, a six-year-old Clydesdale horse that was destined for the slaughterhouse when he became sick with an illness that kept him from working.

“We fell in love with the breed and we now have a six-up hitch team that travels around spreading the word about horse rescue,” said Mrs. Kollar.

“We recently won third in a World Competition and we have taken first place in five U.S. competitions.”

Mrs. Kollar was at the fair in hopes of increasing awareness of their work and raising donations for the publicly supported group. 

For more information or to make a donation, call Kevin Kollar at 610-906-6877

Traveling to York from Hedrick, Kansas were the Hedrick’s Racing Pigs.  These little porkers, with celebrity spoof names such as Lindsey Loham and Britney Squeals, take off out of the gate for a quick turn around the track in hopes of being the winner of the Oreo cookie.

Hedrick’s Racing Pigs (Photo by Jacquie Kubin)

As a spectator, one quickly believes that they are having as much fun as the cheering crowd that urges them on.  And with ears bouncing and hooves off the ground, they really do move!

The show is part pig-race and part silliness as Professor Swineheart and Earl introduce the pigs, and explain how the three races work (throwing in a plug for Hedricks Bed & Breakfast.) 

Those little piglets do seem to be having a raring good time.

For many, fair food is a mighty good draw. 

At the Culinary Corner visitors will find a variety of Baking and Cooking Contests.  This upcoming week there will be a Rutter’s Pumpkin Dessert and Hershey’s Cocoa Cake contest on Monday, Brown’s Orchards Apple Pie contest and a “Go Hog Wild” pork contest on Wednesday and a York Fair Sticky Buns contest on Friday, September 12th.

These are just a few of the culinary contests being held daily through the end of the fair.

Winning Fruit (Photo by Jacquie Kubin)
Food for eating abounds.  The midway vendors have everything from smoked meats and BBQ to cotton candy and funnel cakes. A decision to have a Santillo’s Philly Cheese-steak was not the best as it was dry, chewy and the “cheese” was a melted, cheese product, not a nice slice of mozzarella as expected. 

The better choice would have been any of the smoked house meat vendors or the Altland House of York caterer’s indoor – read air-conditioned – buffet.   Go early or late to avoid the lunchtime rush and let me know if the apple dumplings are as good as promoted!

Everyday at The York Fair brings plenty of fun and entertainment.  Musical entertainment includes ZZ Top, Brooks & Dun and Daughtry on the Grandstand Stage while free country music shows are held every day at 6:30 0n the Great Country Radio Stage.

Take a break and visit the Welde’s Big Bear Show, petting zoos, the Wild World of Animals and The Grandpa Cratchet puppet show.  

And after a long day at the fair spend the night at The Yorketown Hotel where a bit of luxury, and the excellent cuisine of Chef Mark Pawlowski will help wash away the memories of that midway cheese-steak!