The 60th annual Shippensburg Community Fair kicks off Sunday with typical traditions mixed in with some newly renovated facilities.
The fair opens with an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday and a re-dedication of an expanded office and renovated stage area at 6 p.m. That will be followed in traditional fashion by the Shippensburg Band concert at 7 p.m. and vespers service at 7:30 p.m.
The new 25x48-foot office adds more than 1,000 square feet of work space for fair volunteers and provides a relaxing area for fair visitors. It’s the biggest part of the fair committee’s grounds improvement project, which has been ongoing since the close of last year’s fair.
“We’ve done more work on the grounds during the off-season than I can ever recall doing,” said Jamie Rhine, assistant fair secretary/treasurer and public relations and advertising chair. “Some is behind-the-scene stuff, like new roofs, but it’s been no small undertaking in terms of time or budget.”
The office was previously dedicated to Frank Lerew, who served as fair president for its first 50 years. It will be rededicated this year in memory of Lerew, who died last November.
The new office features a foyer, handicap-accessible rest rooms and ticket booth.
“We needed more space. … We issue a lot of prize money — thousands of checks get written,” Rhine said. “This gives people working with the fair a place to come in and take a break for dinner, and it’s a more secure place to handle money.”
Rhine said the original part of the building was also renovated with new flooring and ceiling paint, and the upstairs dressing rooms for stage performances “got quite a facelift, too.”
On Monday, the new stage area will host one of the fair’s most popular events, the fair queen and Little Miss pageant.
“Monday evening is always a big night,” Rhine said. “We have the fair queen contest, and it’s opening night (for rides).”
Rhine and other fair officials also anticipate large crowds Wednesday for the craft show and Kiddies Day, and Saturday, which is also Kiddies Day, but Friday is usually the biggest day at the fair.
“Wednesday is always a big day as long as the weather’s good,” Rhine said. “It’s a chance for parents to look at crafts and kids to ride with special prices.
“But on Friday we have the big truck and tractor pull … and we don’t charge anything other than parking. Sometimes we come close to running out of parking places. I think everybody’s just looking forward to getting out after the work week.”
This year’s craft show, now in its 48th year, will feature several new vendors. Their crafts will include distressed pine furniture; hand-painted tiles; original fine art paintings, prints and greeting cards; small woodworking items like pens, bottle-stoppers, bowls and cutting boards; and log bed frames, benches and tables.
Craft show chair Patty Rhine said she is still getting calls from crafters who are interested in attending.
“So far, we have about 35 vendors who are registered,” said Rhine, who has chaired the show for the past 10 years. “We usually have 35 to 40. We get a lot of returning vendors, but there’re a lot of new ones this year, too.”
Attendance is traditionally good as well.
“The turnout depends on the weather — last year the weather was so hot that some of the vendors even canceled, but we usually have a good turnout,” she said.
A new attraction this year will be the Fearless Flores.
“It’s a family that does a motorcycle thrill show,” said Jamie Rhine. “They get in metal cages and ride around in circles.”
He said the group will present two shows daily with extra performances Wednesday and Saturday.
The fair runs through July 29.