Like many local folks, Betty Ann Castelli knows exactly where she’ll be during fair week in Shippensburg. She’ll be at the fair, now in its 60th year, either volunteering at the VFW Post 6168 Ladies’ Auxiliary food stand or enjoying the sights and sounds of the event.
“It’s a nice tradition,” the Shippensburg woman said.
Castelli said she goes to the fair every year and looks forward to playing a few games, seeing the animals and enjoying the food.
“I like to see the different vendors and the different foods — it’s always a big decision on what food to get,” she said with a laugh.
“It’s a nice place to gather. It’s different. It involves two counties. I find it unique. By going there, you are supporting your community — churches, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts. When you go to the fair, you’re giving back to your community. People look forward to it every year.”
About seven years ago, Castelli’s neighbor, who serves as the ladies auxiliary treasurer and chair of the beverage side of the fair food stand, talked to her about volunteering. Castelli agreed immediately.
She volunteers for about 40 hours during fair week and said she is happy to help out longer if needed.
“I do it for the veterans,” she said. “I know a lot of veterans. The auxiliary does a lot for the VFW and for the community … and it’s the only fundraiser they have.”
Going to the fair is also a tradition for April Fitz, and the craft show is especially meaningful.
Fitz, of Shippensburg, said that for as long as she can remember, she and her mother, Gloria Wrights, attended fair events every night of the week.
“She would take off on vacation every year for the fair,” said Fitz of her mother, who died in 2013. “My grandma always brought my mom to the craft show, so this is really a third-generation tradition.
“Every Wednesday, we had to make sure we came to the craft show. … We came early for the crafts, and then she’d take me to Kiddies Day.”
Before the day was over, Fitz and her mother always ate Big Boy hoagies and won a few glasses in the dime toss game.
Today, the craft show is a tradition Fitz shares with her mother-in-law, Sana Fitz, of Chambersburg, and one she hopes to share one day with her own children.
“I’m just trying to keep the tradition alive,” she said.
Sana Fitz said she looks forward to seeing the crafts and spending the day with her daughter-in-law.
“I schedule it every year so I can take time off work,” she said.
The fair is also a tradition for the Rhine family of Shippensburg.
Patty Rhine has been chairing the craft show committee for the past nine years. Her husband Jerry, their son Jamie, and Jamie’s wife Reine’ are also fair volunteers.
“Jamie started to help with the fair before he was out of high school,” Rhine said. “Then he got his dad on the entertainment committee, and it wasn’t long before I got on the craft show committee. We’re all fair board members, too.”
Like most people, Rhine enjoys the assortment of fair foods.
“The food — I think that’s everybody’s favorite part of the fair,” she said.
“Of course,” she added with a laugh, “it gets me out of cooking for the week.”