by Nancy Bishop
One of the highlights of summer in this part of Pennsylvania are the local fairs and carnivals. And whether you’re looking for great “Fair Food,” free entertainment, lots of rides for the kids (and the kids at heart) or even a chance to see the farm animals and the prize-winning pies, you’ll find it this year at the Montour-Delong Fair.
Since the late 1930s, the Fair has held true to its goals of improving the quality of agriculture and home products of the community. It’s a school and community event whose purpose is educational, but it does that while first and foremost being FUN!
The first fair was held in 1935 at the DeLong Memorial School in Washingtonville. Named for Montour County and Frank Emerson DeLong, a philanthropist from Washingtonville, the fair was started to “promote the interests of agriculture and homemaking to raise the standards of school work, encourage the production of better crops and livestock and to promote better standards of living.” No fairs were held from 1942 to 1945 because of World War II, so the 2019 fair is the 80th instance of the Montour-DeLong Fair.
Kicking off the entertainment lineup at the Fair, which runs July 29 to Aug. 3 at the Fairgrounds on Rt. 254 near Washingtonville, is the Midlife Cowboys Band. Described as playing “Cowboy classics with a toe-tappin’ bluesy flair delivered with a wisp of humor,” the Cowboys will present free shows at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Monday (7/29). You’ll be humming “Don’t Fence Me In” all week after hearing their show that takes you back to the days of such artists as Roy Rogers, Patsy Montana and Gene Autry.
Other entertainment during the week includes the Catawissa Military Band on Tuesday; The Less Boys, Wednesday; Home Town Boyz, Thursday; Avenue E, Friday; and the Acoustic Loons, Saturday.
And don’t miss the baking contests! You can see the winning entries from the “Pennsylvania’s Incredible Angel Food Cake Contest,” the “Blue Ribbon Apple Pie Contest,” the “Chocolate Cake Baking Contest” and the “Gingerbread Men Contest.”
Ever since my childhood, though, I’ve enjoyed seeing the prize-winning animals. In the rural area where I grew up, my uncle was the Secretary of its local agricultural fair. Every year my parents took me to the fair and I remember being treated like a princess because I was “Everett’s niece.” If I wanted to sit on one of the sheep or hold one of the rabbits, all I had to do was ask the exhibitor!
At the Montour-Delong Fair, you can see the dairy cows, beef cattle, sheep and goats or check out the exhibits of prize-winning vegetables, fruit and other homegrown and homemade foods.
Then when all that walking around and seeing the mouthwatering baking contest goodies has made you hungry, it’s time to check out the food. Besides vendors offering the usual fair food like cheesesteaks, fried veggies, pizza, chicken fingers and wings, the Montour DeLong Fair Kitchen will be cooking up a different dinner meal for $9 every night from 4 p.m. until they’re sold out. Monday it’s Meatloaf, Tuesday, Ham Loaf; Wednesday, Chicken Bar-B-Que; Thursday, Roast Beef; Friday, Fish; and Saturday, Chicken and Biscuits.
And, of course, to keep me happy, there’s ice cream. The 4H will be making milkshakes and brownie sundaes and the Montour Antique Farm Machinery Collectors Association (MAFMCA) will have an ice cream stand.
Check out all the vendors you can find at the Fair right here.
For those who like to see farm machinery in action, there also are tractor pulls as well as 4X4 vehicle pulls. And Friday night at 9:30 there’s a fireworks show. Put that all together with a Midway by Garbrick Amusements and you’ve got something everyone in the family should enjoy. And to keep it “family friendly,” they ask you to remember that they do not permit any alcoholic beverages or drugs on the fairgrounds.
See you at the Fair!