Crowds once again filled the Kutztown Fairgrounds for Dutch food, live music, animals, crafts, contests and rides.
“The audience came out in full force,” said Ginger Chappell, director of the Cooktown Fair, on the final day of the fair on Saturday afternoon. “This year, the number of participants in our sheep has increased significantly. The youngsters are eager to show off their farm animals.
The 151st annual Cooktown Fair was held daily from August 8 to August 13, concluding with Children’s Day.
“For 151 years, the fair has been a great place for the community to come together, to gather with friends and family,” Chappelle said.
While the pandemic canceled the 2020 show, the Kutztown Fair celebrated “150 years of spectacular shows” in 2021.
“Regarding the cancellation of the pandemic, we only canceled one year which is 2020. In 2021 and this year, the epidemic has had a positive impact on our fair. This is our second show in a row since the outbreak,” Chappelle said.
This year, the 151-year tradition of the fair continues in the fair.
“This year we had great weather, fun midway acts, a variety of rides, great music on the main stage and beer garden,” said Chappell.
Circus Incredibles, featuring 2nd and 7th generation circus acts, features midway performances. Simon Arestov, originally from Moscow, Russia, dazzled audiences of all ages with his jaw-dropping acrobatics and balancing acts as Lyric Wallenda of the “World Famous Wallenda” Family demonstrates aerial art of grace, beauty and strength. For more information, visit www.circusincredible.com and https://www.facebook.com/Circusincredible/.
Main stage entertainment includes Night Flight, featuring songs from The Beatles to Bon Jovi, and The Rehrig Brothers Band performing classic country music, while the Kramer Brothers Band plays their traditional country style, while Smith Yard Band, Nashville Music Company Band and Pure Country.
Local artist the Hannah Violet Trio performed in the beer garden as well as local music group the Zeptones and the Junior Grades Band.
During the week, cattle, goats, sheep and pigs competed for the Grand Champion title. In the year On August 10, the animals dress up for the fair with their handlers for the Animal Mardi Gras Show in the show ring. This year’s Celebrity Animal Obstacle Course featured local celebrities leading their animals through an obstacle course in the show ring.
This year’s fair featured contests in addition to rides, games, evening entertainment, agricultural education, dutch roasts and birch beer and exhibits. Competitors competed in the highball throwing competition, each weighing between 40 and 90 kilograms. There were also the popular pedal tractor pulls, as well as pie eating contests, egg toss and iced tea grabbing contests. The fun continued with DJ Chicken Nug leading the line dance.
Kids’ Day includes a ring toss, scavenger hunt, bubble gum blowing, water balloon and sack race.
It includes agricultural education exhibits and demonstrations such as sheep shearing, wool spinning and wool weaving.
“New this year, we had horse-drawn carriage rides, ax throwing and a home-brewed beer competition. We had a corn hole tournament for both beginners and competitive players,” Schappelle said.
Horse-drawn carriages from Steiner Artisan Farms offer rides from the White Oak Street gate to the Kutztown Historical Society across the street from the original Kutztown Fairgrounds.
The story behind the Kutztown show
The Kutztown Historical Society gave a history talk to share more about the history behind the Kutztown Fair.
According to Brendan Strasser of the Kutztown Area Historical Society, the origins of the Kutztown Fair date back to 1870 when the first official Kutztown Fair was held in Kutztown Borough.
In the 1810s, early 1820s, there were a lot of veterans who liked nothing more than getting together every year, raising a few beers, pointing a few guns at a target, and occasionally pointing at each other. (a few chuckles from the audience) and have a good time,” Strasser said of the cover of the 150th Kutztown Fair.
These events became known as The Battalion Days and became very large in the 1820s and 1830s.
“They were supposed to be very noisy, multi-day affairs, and finally, during the Civil War, the city council decided they had to stop. It was causing a lot of chaos and the city council eventually banned these battalion days from happening,” Strasher said.
These events brought many people to the city and people from distant areas used to come to Kushtown to celebrate for a few days every year, he said. Even though Battalion Days was banned, people showed up anyway.
In the year In 1871, the Kutztown Fair was organized and held by the Keystone Agricultural and Horticultural Society. The first fairs were held on the south side of Kutztown between White Oak and Baldy Streets. The original fairgrounds included exhibition buildings, a one-third mile racetrack, and a nearby hotel.
“That fair really sparked the idea of the Kutztown fairs that we were able to understand, hundreds and thousands of people coming into town every year,” Strasser said.
The fair was eventually so small that the association sought other land but lacked the membership to sustain it. The fair ended in 1903 and the fair was sold for construction, he said.
“The town, without a fair in 1904, began to stir for a new Cooktown fair,” Strasher said.
In 1905, Jacob Esser was the main man behind his support for the founding of the Kutztown Fair Society and becoming president of the Fair Society. It was a familiar name to most Kutztown residents, as were Esserians when the town was founded in 1850. Jacob was a third-generation owner and Kutztown veteran and owner of a publishing company.
The fair association quickly sold shares and secured 32 acres of land where the Kutztown Fairgrounds is now located. Later, about 20 more acres were added.
From 1905 until today, except for 2020, a fair has been held almost every year.