People come to the Shippensburg Community Fair for many reasons. For some, it’s the entertainment. For others, it’s the competition — everything from livestock to floral displays and woodworking.
But for nearly everyone, an abundance of food is reason enough for a trip to the fair this week in Shippensburg.
“The food brings a lot of people to the fair,” said Jamie Rhine, assistant fair secretary/treasurer and public relations and advertising chair. “I think one of the unique things we have going for us is that just about all of these food vendors are making things from scratch.”
The menu certainly does not lack variety. More than 20 food vendors offer everything from sandwiches and dinners, to ice cream, pies and snow cones.
Yet some of the organizations that run food stands are known simply for an item or two.
“Some have things they have been selling for years,” Rhine said.
For example, everyone knows they can pick up a Big Boy hoagie at the Church of the Brethren stand, an ox roast sandwich at the Cumberland Valley Hose Company stand, and blooming onions at the Newburg-Hopewell Volunteer Fire Company stand.
“Funnel cakes (St. Thomas Sportsmen’s Association) are a huge thing, too,” Rhine said. “Some have a little more unique things, like the Soccer Booster Club’s walking tacos, and the Football Booster Club has deep-fried Oreos.”
The Girl Scouts and VFW Post 6168 also serve breakfast.
On the lighter side, fair visitors can order baked and sweet potatoes at the Memorial Lutheran Church stand, fresh fruit cups at the Newburg United Methodist Church stand, and salads at the Otterbein United Methodist Church stand.
Food sales bring a lot of money to both the organizations and the fair association.
“Fifteen percent goes back to the fair and is invested back into maintaining the fair,” Rhine said. “If you break it down, we have three sources of big revenue — gate money from parking, rides and food sales.”
Rhine said it takes a lot of work to operate the food stands, but they are the biggest fundraisers of the year for many organizations.
“It takes a lot of people, but they do a good job and they are certainly selling stuff people look forward to every year,” he said.
Food proceeds do, of course, rely on fair attendance, but it seems that not even Mother Nature can keep people away from the fair.
“It’s been tough on some days,” Rhine said. “We have rain and hot weather; we have ups and downs. We are dependent on the weather. But we’ve been relatively lucky over the last 10 years. Sometimes, even if it’s raining, I’m surprised to see how many people are still there.”