With the sound of motorcycle engines from the Luzerne County Rolling Thunder Motorcyle Club, the 2010 Carbon County Fair roared into action.
A large crowd, under sunny skies and warm temperatures, was on hand as the cyclists gunned their engines on Mageline Ligenza's cue.
Ligenza, a member of the fair board, served as master of ceremonies for the opening ceremony of the 11th annual event. The fair, which continues through Sunday, offers plenty of food vendors, rides, exhibits, displays, animals and entertainment.
During the ceremony, the fair board recognized major sponsors, outstanding volunteers, and crowned the new fair queen. The fair board also heard support from local dignitaries and state fair officials.
The program opened with the raising of the flag by Panther Valley Junior ROTC, under the direction of Major Kenneth Markovich. Lucille Fala Brennan sang the national anthem to an appreciative crowd.
The program featured the crowning of the 2010 Fair Queen Krisandra Livingston. Her twin sister, Diana Livingston, was named first runner up and second runner up was Tiffany Erney. The 2010 Fair Queen and her court, along with prior fair queens, arrived at the stage on a hay wagon towed by a tractor. Also on hand for the crowning were former fair queens, Christiana Graver, 2007; Emily Mitchell, 2008; and Erin and Ally McGinley, assistants.
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding paid a visit. He presented the 2010 Outstanding Fair Ambassador award to Robert Silliman, president of the fair. The award recognizes Silliman for his hard work and dedication as a fair volunteer in the state, his commitment to the state's agriculture industry, and outstanding leadership, volunteerism and dedication to the Carbon County Fair.
"I offer my gratitude for his continued role in keeping Pennsylvania growing," said Redding.
Also speaking was Jim Davis of Huntington, president of the Pa. State Association of County Fairs. Davis said that he has attended 113 of 114 of the state's county fairs to promote water conservation, agriculture and the continued participation of youth in agriculture.
"From the farm gate to the dinner plate, we need to make certain that youth participate in agriculture so we continue to have food on our plates," said Davis, adding that we need to save the water supply because in the next 30 years local lakes could turn to dust.
"The youth of today will do the research to make sure that doesn't happen," said Davis. "We need to take care of the young people because they are the future."
Silliman presented Volunteer of the Year plaques to some dedicated people who he said deserve recognition for their hard work. Volunteers of the Year who were recognized were Liz McElwee, Dennis Cunfer, Steven Bond, Ann Shoenberger, Ryan Liscinski and Kevin Bond.
State Sen. David Argall said fairs promote agriculture, which is important. He said he is pleased to see support of agriculture at the Carbon County Fair.
Charles Getz, Carbon County Commissioner, represented the board when he thanked the local Lions and Lioness clubs for their continued support of the fair. He also noted that the 4-H youths are dedicated to agriculture.
"Please talk to the 4-H kids as they take care of their animals and you will learn how dedicated they are," said Getz.
Also wishing the fair board luck was Robert Kelsey, District 14-U governor.
Teresa Byson, 2010 Pennsylvania Honey Queen, presented acts about the importance of honey bees. She said that honey bees are important to the production of food.
Fair board members are: Joseph Hertzog, Richard Whiteman and Earl Reabold, Bowmanstown/Parryville Lions Club; Leon Mertz, Michele Fredericks and Robert Lutz, Palmerton Lions Club; Tom Zimmerman IV, Tom Zimmerman Jr. and Alfred Feurerstein, Mahoning Township Lions Club; Pamela Gothard, Barbara Christopher and Alicia L. Shutack-Silliman; Lehighton Area Lioness Lions Club; Dorette Gombert and Joel Christman, Franklin Township Lions Club; Leroy Wentzel, Joseph Bednarik and Rae McAvoy, West Penn Township Lions Club; Madeline Ligenza, Marisa Rossino and Frank Rossino, Jim Thorpe Lioness Club and Deanna Cunfer, Kristin Simmons and Paul Shealer, Agriculture.
Tina Ligenza sang, "I Hope You Dance," as a tribute to the fair queen and her court.
Attorney Greg Mousseau provided the invocation and benediction.