Harford Fair ends run

Local children have a ball on the ‘Jumpin’ ride that lifts then drops them on the Midway of this past week’s Harford Fair. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

School was only a few days away forMountain View High School biology teacher Roger Thomas, but don’t try to tell area kids that at the Harford Fair.

They lined up in droves Wednesday evening to try their hands at shearing sheep.

“That’s cool,” cousins Corey Vanderfeltz of Rushville and Caleb Dolan ofVirginiaagreed.

Thomas had set a 100-pound plus sheep on its hind legs and in less than 10 minutes had most of its coat off with clippers.

Then, one by one the kids got to take turns getting the rest of the wool coat off.

Fifty feet away in the cattle arena, newly crowned Harford Fair Queen Daisy Matulevich got to pose with the winners of the Master Showman competition.

“There’s something always going on and it’s great fun to be a part,” Matulevich said.

Elsewhere, Jim Barber of Friendsville equated his act at the Harford Fair to being part lion tamer and part snake charmer.

And then tended to ignore the hundreds of bees that swarmed around him in a screened enclosure while talking to about 30 people about raising honey.

Harford Fair director Cindy Reynolds said people like Thomas, Matulevich, Barber and fair director Bill Tyler – a veteran of 41 years service to the fair who was recognized Wednesday  morning with a Fair Ambassador Award from the state Department of Agriculture – seem to be fearless in their passion for making sure folks just have a good time at the fair.

She also only had good things to say about the 154th installment which ended Saturday night under cloudy skies and the threat of rain.

Although not at record levels for the week, Reynolds said the crowds this year were “very good” on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

And even though a 10-minute shower had just eclipsed the fairgrounds while she talked Saturday afternoon, the night’s big entertainment – a Demolition Derby involving 35 cars and a huge payout – was a sellout and would bring more people back out.

The proRodeo on Friday was also a sellout.

Reynolds said food vendors were also very pleased that sales were up this year.

Not everyone was happy with the food prices, however.

Mary Wall of Tunkhannock said she thought that $2.75 for a single roasted ear of corn was a bit pricey.

But, she thought that the bluegrass music in Wednesday’s first ever ‘Fiddlin’ at the Fair’ headlined by Louie Setzer and the Appalachian Mountain Boys was worth way past the price of admission.

Reynolds said, however, that the bluegrass event didn’t attract the following that the fair directors had hoped.

She said that entries in most traditional fair competitions were up this year, but also noted that the number of entries in most of the sewing and handcraft events were down again this year, probably just because fewer people do that kind of thing any more.

“I used to make all my own clothes, but hardly anyone does that today,” Reynolds said.

“Students don’t take home ec any more,” she added. “They take consumer science now, and I guess that takes a toll here.”

The retired veteran teacher said she was pleased, however, that Hurricane Irene was kind enough to wait until Sunday to approach the area, but noted that fair directors were already taking precautions withSusquehannaCountyemergency management officials about travel on Sunday.

Normally, persons who entered the vegetable, floral art, fine art and school house exhibits pick their entries up starting on Sunday mornings. That got changed to Monday.