We're fast approaching an annual milestone that molds our university culture with those in the rural realm around us. Each year, people come together for a week from far and wide in the only town in Pennsylvania to celebrate: the Bloomsburg Fair!
I’m from the small town of Benton, about 20 miles north of Bloomsburg. The fair is a huge attraction for us rural neighbors, mainly because you have to drive to Bloomsburg to do anything exciting in the first place. Also, because the surrounding high schools have the whole week off for the fair. If you have never been to "The Fair," I implore you to try it out! Especially if you’re a fan of greasy, fried comfort food on a stick.
Animal lovers have their place at the fair too. There are plenty of barns where you can check out horses, goats, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, rabbits, and even dogs (if you’re willing to pay a small fee). If you have an interest in antiques, gardening, or art, you should check out the four large, brick exhibit buildings located parallel to the sky ride. The best shopping and knick-knacks are located under the grandstand.
Of course, those aren’t the only attractions at the Bloomsburg Fair. There’s also the area around the track that houses all the carnival games you loved to play as a kid.
Have $10 and some serious carnival skill?
You might just win your significant other the most ginormous teddy bear ever. Or if you’re lacking in the skill department, you could win a keychain … I guess that’s nice too.
If you want an adrenaline rush, try out the carnival rides! The adrenaline comes from the ride, but also from the knowledge that it could (jokingly) break at any second. They are also mostly located at the far end of the track. In all seriousness, the rides are extremely safe, because they have to be inspected so many times for only one week of operation.
The food ... I mean, the food!
The food at the Bloomsburg Fair is possibly its biggest attraction. The food may seem very uniform, but every stand has a specialty, and a group of customers it attracts. Sure, there are TONS of fried food, but there are other delicious options that aren’t batter dipped and fried in oil. There are an abundance of stands selling cheesesteaks, gyros, pizzas, calzones, seafood, and some things you’ve never even heard of.
A few years ago I bought a foot-long hotdog with macaroni and cheese as a topping. There’s a stand where you can purchase a turkey leg. You read that right, you can walk around looking like a Viking. There are also some places that have more of a restaurant atmosphere where you can sit down and eat. Places like these usually have some of the best desserts.
Did you say dessert?
Yes, there are so many choices. There are the typical ice cream stands, and the not-so-typical Penn State Berkey Creamery stand (AKA the most delicious, non-homemade ice cream ever). The fair is also during peak apple season, so apple dumplings are a necessity and are available all over the fair. Another one of my favorites are flavored honey sticks. They’re basically like pixie sticks, but with dozens of different flavors of honey. There are multiple stands with taffy and other candies as well.
As if food and desserts weren’t enough, there are also some great beverages available at the fair. Kohr’s orange juice stands are everywhere, and it’s unlike any orange juice you’ve ever had. There are also multiple local cider mill stands where you can get delicious apple cider. Big Ben’s sodas (blue birch beer in particular) are also very yummy.
Last but not least ... the entertainment
No, I don’t mean people watching, although that has its entertaining moments as well.
There's a free stage located near the main entrance, where plenty of bands, musicians, and performing artists play from mid-morning until the fair closes each night. Marching bands also perform at different times throughout the week.
This year there are eight musicians and performing artists at the grandstand — ahem, Cole Swindell and Brett Eldredge to name two — and there’s also the always competitive tractor and truck pull and the popular, entertaining demolition derby.
Grandstand entertainment requires a ticket, which can be bought on the fair’s website. Got my ticket for Tuesday night and already itching to get there early, so maybe you'll see me down there!
— Dallas Kriebel, senior mass communications major #AGreatPlaceToBeYou