YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — The big banner is up in the center square in Dillsburg, announcing this year’s Farmers Fair. It runs from Oct. 11 to the 16.
“I think people are so excited to see that Farmers Fair is happening this year because we did miss it last year,” Annie Cooke said. She’s in charge of the Fantastic Parade, the big event that closes the fair Saturday night.
“Having a year off was disappointing,” adds Al Kauffman, the parade association Vice President, “But it’s nice getting back into the saddle.”
They had to cancel last year due to Covid, and organizers of the Fair say they’re still being rattled by the aftershocks. In addition to being Vice President, Al Kauffman is chair of the association’s vendor committee.
Get daily news, weather, and breaking news alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here!
“I’m going to have some open spots this year,” he said. “The way our fair works is the spots are reserved for local community organizations, and the organizations have the option of operating the space themselves or subletting to a commercial vendor. We have vendors that have gone out of business because of covid, and I’m having issues finding vendors that are available who are willing or able to come in and work the event.”
They are also having trouble selling tickets for the bleachers they set up for the Fantastic Parade. Apparently, people are reluctant to sit close together. In spite of these bumps in the road, though, there are lots of signs that things are on the rebound, especially after the association’s most recent meeting.
“The tractor committee, the antique cars, the street rods, they all gave reports things are moving forward, pre-registered vehicles, it looks like they’re going to have a good show,” Kauffman said. “Especially during the day, the daytime activities, we’ll find a lot of people out. People are anxious to get out and get back to our community event.”
“Registrations are starting to come in for the parade,” Cooke said. “We have lots of entertainment coming.”
The thing most needed, in times good or bad-volunteers. Kauffman says a lack of volunteers for the community organizations is one of the reasons there will be empty vendor spaces this year.
“Some of them operate the space themselves, but a lot of them have gone to the point where they use commercial vendors because they’re having the same issue as everybody else, finding volunteers willing to work.”
Cooke says they can always use more volunteers, especially the night of the Fantastic Parade. “It takes a lot of volunteers to help with registration that evening, so people will come in, that’s when we do our lineups, get lined up after registration, and step-off time for the parade is 7:30 p.m.”
Fair officials say 2021 will be good, and 2022 will be even better.
“I’ve already made contact with some vendors,” Kauffman said. “Who are willing and want to come but are not available this year. It is what it is for this year, we’ll take what we get and make the best of it, and next year work to make it even better.”
“I know people are coming from as far as Colorado for Farmers Fair,” Cooke said. “Farmers Fair is kind of in our blood. The town of Dillsburg, a time for us to celebrate their farming heritage, have family reunions and class reunions, and it’s just real good to get together.”