Focus for Franklin Co. Fair goes back to agriculture, community
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — With a new president at the helm, this year’s Franklin County Fair, set for Sunday, July 9, through Saturday, July 15, at the Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club on Warm Spring Road.
At 21, Brett Reichard is the fair’s leader. Reichard is the grandson of the late Gerald Reichard, who headed the fair for four decades.
Brett Reichard took some time from putting the “hammer down” during the Fourth of July holiday to prepare for this year’s fair to answer some questions via email for What’s Nxt.
The Franklin County Fair is undergoing many changes for 2017. What are some highlights?
Some highlights include free admission with a $5 parking (fee) all week, including the big tractor pull nights.
This year we are going back to our roots, back to agriculture with more displays and equipment to see. We have our beautiful full-color glossy paged fair books out and distributed to local businesses. There are also more food vendors here this year that are from Franklin County.
We are regaining community support, which is a true blessing.
Brett, you have been involved with the fair your entire life. Can you share a favorite memory or activity from previous years at the fair?
I have been around the fair ever since I can remember. As a kid growing up, I could not wait until the Franklin County Fair was going on. I am now 21 years old and I still can’t wait for the fair to start! My favorite memories include: helping my Pappy (Gerald W. Reichard) and Dad (Gerald J. Reichard) with various tasks at the fair. I enjoyed helping Dad hang lights in the show tent and cleaning out the midway stage and then enjoying the show by watching tractor pulls. I viewed the people that volunteered to help put on this event as my second family. I learned a lot from people there, too.
What is the one aspect you are most excited about for this year’s fair?
I am most excited to be working with the amazing executive fair board.
I have enjoyed meeting with this group on a weekly basis since I became president. I would not trade these teammates for anyone else in the world, we work together effectively and have the most fun too!
We have a common cause: we want to give back to our community a place where people can learn about agriculture, cultivate a possible interest in our ag programs, and a safe family friendly environment just like most of us remember.
I am truly blessed to have Carl Hartman as vice president; Ernie Stewart (secretary); Angie Heefner (treasurer); Bonnie Mellott (assistant treasurer); and show managers Jamie Hartman, Ivan Hissong and Stan Flenner.
How many exhibits are you planning to have?
We are still getting many inquiries on exhibits, so I do not know an exact number. We have seen a lot more excitement this year than I ever have though.
How many people do you hope to see attend the fair?
That is a tough question. This is our transition year. This is the year we prove to everyone that the Franklin County Fair is the place to be.
The fair has had declining attendance for so long, but as much support as we are getting this year, I would hope that at least half of Franklin County would show up. Our Facebook views has gone well into 38,000 hits. We are a 100 percent volunteer organization, we are excited and are hoping to see a packed house every night.
We have made it affordable to come to the fair and I hope that is appealing for much of Franklin County.
The ride structure is different this year. Can you tell us what kinds of rides will be offered?
We are contracted with Phantom Shadow Entertainment. The owner, Donnovan Yaukey, is a Franklin County native that is looking forward to helping his community fair succeed. He will have things like a mechanical bull, rock climbing wall, obstacle courses, a stunt jump where you can jump off a structure into a giant stunt bag, dunk booth, and many other attractions. Armbands to ride all night only cost $7. Kids of all ages can enjoy the attractions along with the parents and grandparents.
Why should someone who’s never attended Franklin County Fair come this year?
Those who have never attended the fair should come this year because we are promoting our local agriculture and community. This gives kids an opportunity to ask questions and get involved with 4-H and other organizations. The fair has family friendly entertainment that will draw families together just as it has done in the past 52 years at the Rod and Gun Club. There are many events to participate in like the barnyard Olympics and a cornhole tournament.
Anything else you would like to add about this year’s fair?
You will not find a better representation of what Franklin County stands for than at the fair.