What does every state surrounding Pennsylvania - New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Ohio - have that Pennsylvania doesn't?

A state fair.

And why not? Shouldn't Pennsylvania have one fair that bears the state label? Wouldn't it make good promotional sense?

The state has a lot of great fairs including Allentown, Bloomsburg, York, and Lycoming, to name a few.

Maybe there's concern that a state fair would take away from the identities of those expositions. Maybe there's concern among officials that such fairs are so deep-rooted in tradition that creating a state fair would harm them.

A state fair would likely help promote the other fairs.

You're probably not going to see a state fair in our state any time in the near future. The state budget has included deep cuts in subsidies to all fairs so it is doubtful the commonwealth would consider expending funds on either expanding an existing fair to carry the "state" banner or to create a new exposition.

Yet it wouldn't really be that difficult to make, say, the Allentown or Bloomsburg Fair a state fair, if the concept were proposed and an agreement could be reached with the directors.

There's an annual State Farm Show each January, but it would be difficult making this the state fair because of winter weather conditions.

A State Fair could be a great tourism promotion for the state. It could be used to promote other regional fairs. It would be a great showcase for Pennsylvania's agriculture community.

It would be great to see a state fair in Pennsylvania. Hopefully one day it will happen.

As the saying goes, though, don't hold your breath.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com [1]